Chemical users should only use agvet chemicals that are registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) in accordance with usage directions specified on the label.
All chemical users need to understand the contents of chemical product labels.
Agricultural chemical product labels contain a vast amount of information to help users store, prepare and use products safely and efficiently.
Information found on labels include:
- active constituents
- approved uses
- situations in which the chemical can be used
- pests the chemical is registered to control
- mixing instructions
- application rates and methods
- warnings, restraints and prohibitions
- withholding periods (WHP)
- storage and disposal instructions
- safety and first aid.
Labels contain restraint statements and specify mandatory spray droplet size and no-spray zones to minimise spray drift.
Managing chemical residues
Using properly calibrated equipment and following the application rate and frequency, as well as the applicable WHP stated on the label should ensure that the domestic maximum residue limit (MRL) is not exceeded.
Whilst the use of certain chemicals off-label is permitted in specific circumstances in Victoria, where possible, you should select a chemical that is registered for the intended use. Registered uses are listed on the product label and can vary from state to state, so it's important to consult the product label when making your decision.
Further information on labels including their contents and approval process is available on the APVMA website
Registered chemical advantages
Registered agricultural chemicals have passed a rigorous testing program that ensures the products are fit for their intended use. In addition to efficacy testing to ensure that products do what they claim to do, registered chemical products have also passed a barrage of environmental tests, safety tests, and toxicity tests to ensure that appropriate controls can be implemented to manage identified risks.
Manufacturers of registered chemical products also provide a warranty when their products are used according to the label instructions.
Reasons not to use unregistered chemicals
Growers should have a number of concerns regarding the use of unregistered agricultural chemicals, including:
- Both the supply and use of unregistered agricultural chemicals are offences carrying significant penalties.
- The actual ingredients in an unregistered product may differ from what they should be, and there is no warranty if the product is faulty.
- There may be contaminants in unregistered chemical products that may leave unacceptable residues in the crop to which they are applied, possibly resulting in the destruction of the crop.
- Use of unregistered chemicals may affect growers who do not use them. In the case of an unacceptable residue detected in an export market that results from unregistered chemical use, it is likely that all growers would be penalised, not just the grower who used an unregistered product.
- New tests are available to detect unregistered chemicals in produce, so there is a high chance that any such use will be identified – and investigated by the department.
- APVMA Product labels
- Understanding Pesticide Chemical Labels
- Don't play Russian Roulette With Unregistered Chemicals
- Off-label use
- Giving chemical use advice
- Spraying, spray drift and off-target damage
- Withholding periods (WHPs)
- Withholding Period Statements on Labels