Exciting changes ahead

It is exciting to inform our readers and subscribers that there are some big changes coming to Infopest in coming months. All things going according to schedule, when you receive our next newsletter, there will be a new look to the Infopest search site. We are working with the developers from Apunga to make Infopest more user-friendly and increase its functionality. There will also be an Infopest App! So watch this space and expect even better things from our database this year.

Can the Australian market get first release of new actives?

The size of the Australian market for agricultural production does not always compete favourably with those of our international competitors when it comes to return on R&D investment for chemical registrants through market sales. We are frequently over looked for first-in-the-world releases of new actives and their products. However, when there is an acceptable market, Agvet chemical registrants will bring their products to Australia.

We have witnessed this twice in the last 6 months with:

  • BASF’s Luximax (cinmethylin) Group Z Herbicide, wheat pre-plant treatment (November 2019); and
  • FMC’s Overwatch (bixlozone) Group Q Herbicide, barley, wheat and canola pre-plant treatment. (April 2020)

Prior to this, in 2018, Australia was first in the world to gain access to Versys (afidopyropen) for the control of aphids and silverleaf whitefly in cotton and vegetables. The APVMA was also the first regulator to approve Duddington flagrans, a biological present as a palatable feed supplement used to treat parasitic gastrointestinal nematodes or grazing animals.

The APVMA strives to be a world leader in Agvet chemical regulation and encourage further investment from Agvet chemical manufacturers to register safe products that advance Australia’s agricultural productivity and animal health. So whilst we may not always qualify in market size, it is good to know that when a market exists, Agvet chemical registrants do not see Australia’s regulatory system as a barrier to releasing new products Down Under.

With the publication of the application summaries for December 2019, it looks likely the APVMA could, subject to approvals, have another active released as a first-in-the-world for the control of root knot nematodes in cucurbits, fruiting vegetables and root and tuber vegetables with fluazaindolizine under assessment.

Last year Deloitte released their report, Agvet Chemicals – Market Drivers and Barriers, for the Department of Agriculture July 2019.

They found that “… a comparison of Australia’s regulatory system with that of the US, Canada and the EU shows that Australia is broadly in-line with other developed markets for agvet chemicals in terms of:

  • The ‘burden of proof’ that the regulator places on manufacturers;
  • The statutory fees charged for an assessment; and
  • The length of time taken to assess applications to approve an active constituent and register an agvet chemical product.”

The Authors concluded that, “The findings presented in (their) report suggest that the small size and volatility of Australia’s agvet chemical market are the most significant barriers to entry for novel agvet chemicals. There are few (if any) levers available to the government that could significantly address this, though the government has undertaken a range of reforms that have indirectly ameliorated these barriers to some degree”.

It is always exciting when a new active and product are registered for use, whether we get it first or later down the track. The take home message here is that Agricultural producers should be encouraged about the progress towards more timely Agvet chemical access in Australia in comparison to international competitors and that APVMA as our regulator is in line with other regulatory agents.

APVMA assesses two new actives

The APVMA is currently assessing two products based on new actives.

Voraxor Herbicide is to be registered:

  • For non-selective pre-plant knockdown and selective pre-emergence residual control of a range of broadleaf weeds and suppression of key grass weeds prior to planting of cereal crops
  • For non-selective pre-plant knockdown prior to establishment of forestry plantations and fallow
  • To aid in fallow maintenance; and
  • For weed control around commercial, industrial and agricultural buildings, public service areas and yards and fence lines.

EPIVIO C Sorghum Seed Safener is proposed for use as a seed treatment to protect it from the phytotoxic effects of S-metolachlor.

No doubt these new products will be greatly appreciated, pending completion and outcome of the APVMA’s assessment.

Access to essential farm inputs during covid19

Growcom has received notification that there are some in the farming community who are experiencing difficulty in obtaining essential inputs such as pesticides for their production. 

The situation with shortages of supply in agricultural chemicals is a ‘perfect storm’ occurrence. Although COVID-19 has played a part, there are a number of other factors that have influenced the supply to Australia and within Australia. We’ve been experiencing drought for the last three years and so there has been less demand for herbicides in broad acre cropping, particularly as there were fewer crops being planted. Now we’ve had substantial rain in many parts of the country, growers are wanting to plant. But the rural suppliers have not had enough stock due to the high costs of carrying it during periods of low demand. So getting stock in has been a catch up process.  

Meanwhile, since 2017 the Chinese government has implemented changes to their environmental pollution standards, cracking down on industrial pollution and shutting down numerous factories. Since many of the raw actives and premade chemical products come from China, these measures slowed down production and thus had flow on effects to supply in Australia.

Then in late 2019, the coronavirus became an issue causing delays in shipping due to working restrictions, traffic restrictions and port closures. Thus, we are seeing longer shipping times to get product to Australia. 

Some popular herbicides seem to be in short supply: glyphosate, trifluralin and prosulfocarb to name a few. With planting underway in broad acre, stocks are being purchased and there is competition for the limited supply available. Re-sellers and chemical registrants are moving to fill the supply gaps as quickly as possible. 

As for insecticides for fruit fly management in horticulture, key product dimethoate is becoming more difficult to source. Chemical registrants are pulling their products out of the marketplace due to the regulatory restrictions that have limited its use. The active itself is also proving difficult to source out of China for similar reasons discussed for herbicides. It is no wonder that some pesticides are becoming difficult to obtain. 

CropLife Australia, the peak body representing the agricultural chemical industry, has responded to requests from buyers for greater confidence in supply with an assurance they and their members are working with government and the APVMA on a range of extraordinary measures to ensure supply of product to the Australia farming sector.

Growcom is heavily involved in the working groups established by the Queensland Government to address COVID-19 related issues, and the supply-chain working group is well aware of the problems that growers are facing with access to chemical products.

For those who are experiencing difficulty accessing farm inputs, the Queensland Government website www.covid19.qld.gov.au has a manufacturer’s supply matching request form that can be filled out to alert the Government and facilitate action to address the issue.

APVMA to implement new cost recovery arrangements

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) will implement revised cost recovery arrangements, as outlined in our Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS), on 1 July 2020.

The revised CRIS replaces the current fee structure.

APVMA’s revised cost recovery arrangements take into account stakeholder feedback received during CRIS consultation, and include a staged increase in the registration renewal fee, and an increase in some Item and Module application fees.

Further information about the APVMA’s revised cost recovery arrangements is available on theirr website.

Enquiries related to the CRIS can be directed to CRIS2019@apvma.gov.au.

Pest watch – Fall Armyworm detection and identification update

In our last edition of Infopest news, we were watching the incursion of a new pest, Fall armyworm (FAW). Sadly, in a very short time FAW was declared not technically feasible to eradicate and it has been detected in numerous sites across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a plant pest native to the Americas. It was first detected in Australia in 2020 and has since spread across Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

AUSVEG’s Biosecurity team has recently created this video, which provides an overview of the Fall armyworm, including the damage it may cause, what to look for and how to report it.

This video was made available via the Farm Biosecurity Program, funded by the Plant Health Levy.

For more information, contact AUSVEG Biosecurity Officer Madeline Quirk at madeleine.quirk@ausveg.com.au

There are also a growing number of off-label permits for insecticides to help growers manage the pest. At the time of writing, there were 28 permits covering different broad acre and horticultural situations for the pest.

Fall Armyworm Permit amendment – PER89169 v2

APVMA has amended PER89169 to be available for use by persons generally and to include an alternative pheromone lure. The permit has also had its expiration date extended to 28 Feb 2023.

Why is this important? Previously only State government staff were permitted to use pheromone traps for the purpose of surveillance and monitoring. The change allows all growers the opportunity to monitor for this destructive pest and gain valuable insight for timing effective application of management options. To view the permit, click here.

Growcom has been working closely with IPM company, Bugs For Bugs and Ausveg to encourage APVMA to include the additional Pherocon fall armyworm lure and amend the permit so that the pheromone lures become available to the general farming community. Bugs For Bugs supply bucket traps with the Pherocon lure and dichlorvos. To enquire about traps, visit their website www.bugsforbugs.com.au or contact David Loxley 0459 974 960 david@bugsforbugs.com.au 

Time to revisit RLEM management strategies

New research undertaken by cesar has found that redlegged earth mites (RLEM) have developed resistance to omethoate. Further findings showed there was no synthetic pyrethroid resistance in the populations of mites tested.

Grain growers and advisers are encouraged to revisit their redlegged earth mite (RLEM – Halotydeus destructor) management strategies following the detection of insecticide resistance in populations of the pest in Victoria for the first time.

Infopest is an excellent tool to help determine what products are registered or permitted for use in affected crops and their modes of action for resistance management purposes.

Biological products database

Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection have developed the Biological Products Database. It is a tool for growers to help navigate the array of ‘biological’ products currently available to farming businesses. The database was recently updated following its launch in 2019 to compile new information about current biological products on the market. The database includes products which are both registered and unregistered. You will find all the registered products on Infopest. Just like Infopest, this is a tool for determining what is available for use, not a recommendation of products.

To view the database click here.