We’re interested in all things pest management and chemical access, but also love to promote the preservation of pollinators. One of our recent social posts, an image of bees in drought conditions feeding on watermelon, has given our Facebook page an incredible boost in likes. Make sure you check us out at www.facebook.com/infopest.

We’ve also circulated a video tutorial on how to make the most of out of your Infopest subscription on Growcom’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAU9UDWaDWA&t=4s and it is pinned to our Facebook page.

Chemical updates

Changes to 2,4-D label instructions

On 1 October 2019, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced interim measures in their review of 2,4-D which requires new spray drift instructions for the 2019-20 season. The intention of these changes is to reduce the likelihood of spray drift damage. See the APVMA website for more details: https://apvma.gov.au/node/15581

Nufarm has also produced a handy guide to all the changes to the 2,4-D label, complete with instructional videos prepared by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). Learn more here: https://www2.nufarm.com/au/2018/11/14/apvma-24-d-2-2/

APVMA Critical Ag Uses Survey

The APVMA announced their invitation for submissions on critical ag uses in late July. The APVMA are reviewing critical agricultural, biosecurity, and permitted uses of active ingredients before making a proposed decision on the use patterns for these products. Agricultural uses include veterinary medicines used for livestock. A critical use is one where no alternative products exist.

The active ingredients are:
• 2,4-D
• Chlorpyrifos
• Diazinon
• Diquat
• Fenitrothion
• Fipronil
• Malathion
• Methidathion
• Neomycin
• Paraquat
• Procymidone

All actives are under scrutiny with regards to user safety and acute dietary intake exceedences so the APVMA sought input from industries on the amount of time spent working with each pesticide for application and the level of personal protective equipment that is used during preparation and application.

Late in the consultation period stakeholders realised the importance of the survey and magnitude of responses required and tried to seek an extension to the closing date.

Unfortunately the consultation period closed on 22 September 2019. For more information visit: https://apvma.gov.au/node/52051?utm_source=APVMA+Newsletters+and+Communications&utm_campaign=fa6fa88fb5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_08_16_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a025640240-fa6fa88fb5-249670709

Interested in Nematodes – to control and for control?

Nematodes are known as pests to many plant growing industries.
Interestingly, Koppert Biological Systems has produced nematodes that are a biological control for a host of other horticultural and orchard pests. For more information visit https://www.koppert.com/news/producing-kopperts-little-heroes-nematodes-for-pest-control/.

To find answers to frequently asked questions, check out the Nematodes FAQs page here: https://www.koppert.com/faqs-nematodes/

Growcom’s Hort6360 BMP facilitator also recently hosted an online webinar to show growers how to get the jump on nematodes with senior research officer from Central Queensland Univeristy, Dr Jadi Li. To view the recorded webinar, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nLlocR96u0&t=503s

Keep an eye out for more webinars by Michelle through the Growcom events calendar: https://www.growcom.com.au/events/#!calendar

Spray drift policy update

The APVMA has released stage one of an update to their 2008 spray drift policy, Operating Principles in Relation to Spray Drift Risk, following consultation with industry and stakeholders. The updates to the policy are designed to be more flexible and more easily adapt to new technologies. The new approach provides a set of tools for calculating spray drift and the setting of buffers.

Key changes to the new policy include:
• clearer guidelines on how regulatory acceptable levels and buffer distances are calculated in spray drift risk assessment manuals
• clearer and more consistent labelling instructions
• new buffer guidelines for bystander areas, pollinators, natural aquatic areas, vegetation areas and livestock areas
• use of the AgDISP model to determine standard downwind deposition curves for boom sprayers and aircraft
• use of European drift data for downwind deposition curves for vertical sprayers
• the development of a set of tools to generate buffer and label instructions.

For more information, visit the APVMA website: https://apvma.gov.au/node/10796

AgChem Access Priorities (ACAP) Forum

Agrifutures’s project PRJ-010722: Management of AgChem Access Priorities Forum culminated with its third and final forum in Melbourne on 13 June 2019. The Growcom-facilitated project saw approximately 40 delegates from research and development corporations and chemical registration companies come together to discuss access to chemicals for treating industry’s top five pest priorities.

Registrants agreed to pursue 402 solutions to label claims and supported another 70 solutions for permit applications. New chemistry was also featured and registrants advised they could offer ten solutions with registrations being three to five years away.

Ten requested solutions were not supported due to technical or commercial reasons and there remain 61 pest issues without any solutions offered.

The funding RDCs will work closely with the chemical registrants to generate suitable data packages for assessment by the APVMA, prior to registrations and permits going ahead.

Pesticide residues – Something to worry about?

The Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) has published a six-part series on pesticides and food. The final and sixth part was published in February, which was undoubtedly timed to coincide with the release of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual Dirty Dozen.

The GLP has highlighted the complexities surrounding pesticide use and the importance of keeping a balanced perspective instead of taking extremes and making generalisations.

The safety of pesticides and the amount that ends up in our foods are constantly being evaluated. Whilst the data used in the GPL article is US based, the same is true here in Australia.

As our regulator, the APVMA sets maximum residue limits (MRLs) and conducts dietary exposure evaluations to ensure pesticide levels in produce do not pose an undue hazard to consumers.

The EWG releases a list each year of fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated with pesticide residues. These findings are based on the number of samples that contain residues of one or more pesticides rather than whether these samples have exceeded set MRLs. The GLP’s findings counter the EWG’s findings with reason and challenge many generalities that might otherwise cause people to avoid certain foods based on misleading information.

To read the GLPS’s article on pesticides and food, visit: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2019/02/06/pesticides-and-food-its-not-a-black-or-white-issue-part-6-pesticide-residues%E2%80%95something-to-worry-about/

On the Web – Grower’s Edge

Check out the handy website, Grower’s Edge from Bayer.

Targeted at grape growers, it offers best practices tips and need-to-know information on managing pests and disease to get the most from your harvest. The website’s information is suited to both those who are old hands or new to the game and unsure of where to start with a spraying program.

Bayer has brought together a series of videos and information aimed at helping growers set-up and execute a spraying program to get the best coverage and protection possible. For more information, click here: https://www.crop.bayer.com.au/news-and-insights/growersedge