Record keeping - agricultural chemicals
There are many good reasons for keeping chemical use records. Whilst being a legal requirement in Victoria to keep certain chemical use records, records capture useful data that can be used to assist chemical users with their business and to demonstrate that due care is taken when applying chemicals.
Agricultural chemical records
A person who uses an agricultural chemical product must ensure that their chemical use is recorded.
The following records must be made within 48 hours of using an agricultural chemical product and kept for a period of two years from the date of use:
- Date the product was used
- Application rate of the product or sufficient information to allow it to be calculated
- Crop/commodity that was treated or the situation in which the product was applied
- Specific location at which the product was used
- Wind speed and direction at the time of application (if spraying outdoors)
- Name and contact details of the applicator
- Name and contact details of the supervisor (if applicable)
- Name and contact details of the person for whom the application was carried out (if applicable)
Exemptions to apply to approved household or home garden products available from retail outlets that are applied by hand or via a hand-operated device; any agricultural chemical products used to clean a swimming pool or a spa and for licensed pest controllers who use agricultural chemical products in non-agricultural situations.
Record keeping format
You may keep your records in a format that suits you (e.g. hand written, computer generated, using record books or as part of a quality assurance program). You may also use the record keeping templates developed by Agriculture Victoria. The only requirement is that the records contain all the required information, are clear, accurate and must be readily available to an authorised officer upon request.
Records may be made by a third party (e.g. a supervisor or assistant) or via automated data logging, but the user must ensure they are accurate and are kept for required period.
Benefits of record keeping
Keeping records is not just a matter of complying with the law. There have been many instances where information contained in a chemical user's spray record has provided information to refute spurious allegations made by another person (e.g. spray drift).
An accurate record made when using a chemical product is important. Records demonstrate that application rates and wind speeds have been checked prior to chemical application, and that due care has been taken when applying chemical products.
Chemical use records can also be used to track chemical use patterns and assist with resistance management. If follow up inspections are made, comments can provide local information on the effectiveness of particular chemicals against particular pests.
Making an accurate record of chemical use takes only a minute or so, and is good insurance should things go wrong later on. For these reasons and more, there is logic in keeping chemical use records for all chemicals used.