Chemical Industry News No. 74 Winter - Spring 2012
- Changes to Schedule 7 chemicals
- New PUBCRIS iPhone app
- Dimethoate and fenthion reviews
- Amendments to the AgVet Act
- Discontinued use of carbendazim on strawberry crops
- Clopyralid herbicide label restrictions
- Take your PIC to improve plant biosecurity
- Residue analysis for Quality Assurance
- Residues and APVMA Permits– potential problems
- Bees and pesticides guide
- Importance of 1080 neighbour notification
- Disposing of pesticide rinsate
Aerial spray drift damage
Jane Rhodes, Leading Chemical Standards Officer
An agricultural aerial contractor has been successfully prosecuted by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) for causing spray drift damage to the Kinglake National Park and Black Ranges State Forest.
The spray drift damage occurred as a result of the agricultural aerial contractor spraying forestry coupes with herbicides for the re-establishment of a forestry pine plantation during 2010.
The spray drift was found to have affected the Kinglake National Park at Kinglake West and the Black Ranges State Forest at both Buxton and Narbethong.
The damage was seen across the bushland neighbouring a number of forestry coupes, totalling an area of 203 hectares.
The Magistrate found all charges were proven and a penalty of $10,000 was imposed. The company was ordered to pay costs totalling $27,024.61.
Chemical users must take care to prevent off-target spray drift. It is an offence under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992 to undertake chemical spraying which:
- injures any plants or stock outside the target area
- injures any land outside the target area so that growing plants, or keeping stock on that land would result in contamination, or
- is likely to contaminate any agricultural produce derived from plants or stock outside the target area.
A combination of factors can contribute to spray drift, including wind speed and direction, temperature, boom height, droplet size and the volatility of the chemical.
Chemical users, in particular aerial and ground spray contractors should also be aware of the higher potential of certain herbicide formulations to drift and cause off-target damage.
Changes to Schedule 7 chemicals
Nufarm Dichlorvos 1140 Insecticide now unregistered
The two year phase out period for Nufarm Dichlorvos 1140 Insecticide, a Schedule 7 Poison, ended on 30 June 2012 following the registrant's request to cancel the label on 30 June 2010. Prior to being deregistered, the product was used to control insects infesting stored cereal grain on-farm, including Flat Grain Beetle, Granary Weevil and Lesser Grain Borer.
Resellers are advised that it is now an offence to supply Nufarm Dichlorvos 1140 Insecticide and as the product is no longer registered, it is illegal for individuals to continue using it. Individuals who have this product in their possession are advised to dispose of it safely via a chemical disposal program such as ChemClear. Visit www.chemclear.com.au for details.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) concluded its review of dichlorvos in March 2011, deleting some specific uses (including use as a grain fumigant). As part of the review, initiated as a result of concerns for public and occupational health and safety, the environment, residues and trade, registrants were required to revise products labels to include new safety instructions.
Registration of methamidaphos insecticides cancelled
Following the voluntary cancellation of insecticides containing methamidaphos on 15 June 2012, tomato growers and spray contractors are advised they can only purchase and use Nitofol® Insecticide Spray and Monitor® Insecticide until 15 June 2014.
There are a wide variety of alternative products available to growers for controlling green peach aphid, tomato grub, tobacco leafminer and common brown jassid. Contact your local chemical reseller or agronomist to identify which alternative best suits your needs.
Diuron suspended until 30 November 2012
The APVMA has extended the suspension of certain diuron registered products until 30 November 2012.
Diuron is a herbicide/algaecide used for the control of both broadleaf and grass weeds in agriculture. It is also used to control weeds and algae in, and around water bodies.
The suspension addresses the risk of diuron run-off into waterways, prohibiting use in a range of situations such as irrigation channels and drains in agricultural and industrial situations.
Instructions for the use of suspended products have been re-issued, which are the same as those issued in November 2011 except for use in tropical situations, which will be allowed because it is outside the no spray window defined in the original suspension. Possession and use in certain situations can continue until this date provided diuron products carry the new instructions for use.
New PUBCRIS iPhone app
Are you away from your PC and needing some information on a chemical? Do you have an iPhone? If so, you'll be pleased to know the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is almost ready to release a mobile PUBCRIS app, initially for iPhone and iPad. They also plan to provide access to users of other mobile operating systems in the coming months.
The PUBCRIS database contains details of agricultural and veterinary chemical products which are registered for use in Australia. The data includes the product name, registering company, active constituents and product category.
The new app has additional functionality that is not currently available from the web-based PUBCRIS database: chemicals and products that have had their registration cancelled, stopped or suspended will also be available for searching.
For further information about the new app, email the APVMA's Public Affairs team via email@example.com or follow APVMA on Twitter (@APVMA) to find out when the app is available for downloading.
Dimethoate and fenthion reviews
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is currently reviewing the label use patterns of the agricultural chemicals dimethoate and fenthion.
These chemicals are commonly used for pest control in a variety of crops, including, broadacre and horticulture. They are also commonly used for orchard management and quarantine treatment of Queensland fruit fly (QFF) host produce.
Once the APVMA has completed its reviews of both chemicals, it is likely that they will no longer be available for use in a wide variety of situations.
The dimethoate review focuses on the occupational health and safety and human intake risks associated with the use of the chemical. The review is partially complete and has resulted in the suspension of a majority of its uses. As a consequence, growers will need to seek alternative chemicals to use.
As part of the fenthion review, the APVMA proposes to suspend numerous uses of fenthion following the release of its residues and dietary exposure report on 11 September 2012. The report found existing uses of fenthion on food crops may lead to potential short-term dietary exposures well above the established health standard.
The report recommends the removal of numerous pre-harvest and post-harvest uses. Uses on all home garden food crops may also be suspended. The report, as well as information on both reviews is available from the APVMA website, www.apvma.gov.au
Growers are advised to discuss alternate chemicals for conventional pest control. Products containing trichlorfon and maldison have also been incorporated within quarantine treatments for domestic trade of QFF host produce to fruit fly sensitive markets, thereby providing other options for growers.
Recently the APVMA issued a number of minor use permits in response to the suspension of dimethoate uses, including permits relating to trichlorfon and maldison. These permits can be very restrictive regarding the number of times a chemical may be applied and the withholding period associated with the chemical's use. To ensure growers are complying with label/permit conditions, it is recommended that they read the product label and the associated APVMA minor use permit prior to deciding to use the chemical. Growers should also discuss their options with their local agronomist or chemical reseller or in the case of QFF, contact their local Department of Primary Industries accreditation office.
Amendments to the AgVet Act
Ben Roddy, Legislation and Policy Officer
Minor amendments have been made to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992 to improve its administration and enforcement.
As of 1 September 2012, the following new amendments came into operation:
- A mechanism now exists to return suspended or cancelled licences and permits issued under the Act to the Department if required.
- There has been an increase in the maximum allowable penalty for infringement notices from 2 to 5 penalty units (this does not increase the value of any infringement penalties, just the ability for them to be increased in the future).
- The gap in the legislation regarding the sale of stock that have consumed agricultural produce harvested within the withholding period has now been closed.
- Other administrative and technical amendments have been made.
Copies of the Act are available from Information Victoria, Level 20, 80 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000 or from www.legislation.vic.gov.au
For further information, contact Ben Roddy on 03 9217 4178.
Discontinued use of carbendazim on strawberry crops
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is alerting Victorian strawberry growers that restrictions on the use of carbendazim now apply to strawberries.
Having completed its review of carbendazim on 14 August 2012, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority discontinued further commercial uses of the fungicide on strawberry crops due to a lack of data to confirm residue levels or to address identified worker health and safety concerns.
Carbendazim is already banned for use by home gardeners and for crops including grapes, citrus and stonefruit, with new restrictions placed on other crops including strawberries, pasture and clover, or sugar cane setts.
As there is a two year phase out period in place, growers can continue to use their existing stocks of carbendazim until 14 August 2014, after which the product must no longer be used. As carbendazim it a Schedule 7 Poison (DANGEROUS POISON), it must only be used by licensed users (e.g. Agricultural Chemical User Permit holders) according to the label directions.
Growers can dispose of unwanted carbendazim products through ChemClear, visit www.chemclear.com.au for details.
Strawberry growers are encouraged to plan ahead and discuss alternative chemical treatment options with their chemical reseller.
Clopyralid herbicide label restrictions
Ben Roddy, Legislation and Policy Officer
Clopyralid is an active constituent in over 60 registered herbicide products. People who use and provide advice on the use of herbicides containing clopyralid must ensure they are aware of the various restraints and protective statements found on the labels to avoid misuse.
Clopyralid herbicides are selective in that they will control a range of broadleaf weeds without controlling grasses. A range of products containing clopyralid are registered with varying concentrations, formulation types and uses. Different products are registered for use in a range of situations including cereals, canola, pastures, fallow land, forests, industrial situations and turf. Clopyralid products may also provide some residual activity depending on the application rate, soil type, climate and various other factors.
Given the residual potential of clopyalid, product labels will contain Restraint Statements, Protection statements, Plant Back Periods or other restrictions depending on the uses of the product, to manage the potential risks from continued herbicidal activity.
Clopyralid products labels will generally provide a statement prohibiting the use of treated material for composts and mulches – for example:
DO NOT apply to pastures or crops that will be used for production of mulches, composts or mushroom substrate. Such mulch or compost may cause damage to susceptible plants and crops.
Clopyralid products used in turf situations may have a specific label restraint or protective statement regarding the use of clippings – for example:
DO NOT USE clippings for composting or as mulch around other plants.
Clopyralid products used in agricultural situations will have a protective statement regarding susceptible crop and plant back periods – for example:
DO NOT apply immediately before sowing susceptible plants, or sow susceptible crops into paddocks treated the previous year until after the required plantback period has elapsed.
Other restraint statements and protection statements will also apply. Under Victorian legislation, such label statements must be followed because they specifically state not to use the chemical in that manner. These statements are an outcome of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority's registration process and are in place to ensure the products can be used effectively without causing risks to trade, the environment or human health.
As always, a person should read the label and follow the instructions when using an agricultural chemical product.
For information regarding composting please contact the Compost Victoria Marketing and Industry Development Officer Slobodan Vujovic (Ph: 0422 583 784).
Take your PIC to improve plant biosecurity
Property Identification Codes (PICs) are no longer just for livestock - they are now being introduced to plant industries as a part of the Victorian Government's $61.4 million Growing Food and Fibre Initiative.
A PIC is a unique code allocated by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to the owner or occupier of a property. PICs will be used in the event of a plant pest or disease outbreak to help minimise costly disruptions to trade and limit the spread of the pest or disease.
When an outbreak occurs, registered contact details will allow DPI to quickly inform affected property owners or occupiers and industry agencies about any requirements associated with the outbreak. These may include the treatment and certification of affected plant materials or associated equipment.
The viticultural industries (wine, table and dried grapes) are the first to be included in this initiative. Growers with 0.5 ha or more of grapevines are required to apply for a PIC. More than 280 PICs have been issued to date across Victoria.
Producers of other crops grown for commercial purposes can also apply for a PIC, but this is not currently mandatory. There is no cost to apply for a PIC and home gardeners do not require a PIC.
Consultation is underway with other industries which have expressed an interest in adopting PICs, with a view to rolling out the system to those industries in 2013.
PICs are supported by the new Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 which came into effect on July 1.
For more information about PICs for plant industries or the new Plant Biosecurity Act, visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au
Residue analysis for Quality Assurance
Steven Field, Senior Chemical Standards Officer - Residues
Various quality assurance (QA) programs require producers to have residue analysis undertaken on their produce at least once a year. It is important to check the analytical screen and the lab's limit of reporting (LOR) are appropriate to ensure best value for money.
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) completed traceback investigations into unacceptable residues detected in a nut crop produced by two different growers. Each grower had been investigated the previous year and were aware of DPI's concerns regarding their use of a specific chemical.
Both growers provided DPI with analytical reports that, in their minds, verified their nuts were free from unacceptable residues.
Unfortunately for the first grower, when he requested analysis of his nuts, he mistakenly assumed the chemical in question was part of the analytical screen (a screen is a group of chemicals the laboratory will look for). It wasn't, although for a fee, the lab would have included it, so while the grower had spent approximately $200 on the analysis, it was of little use.
The second grower had requested the appropriate analytical screen and his report showed that his nuts contained <0.2 mg/kg of the chemical of interest. The figure of 0.2 mg/kg was the laboratory's LOR, meaning the laboratory could not find a residue of the chemical above 0.2 mg/kg, however there could still be residues at lower concentrations.
The laboratory DPI uses has a much lower LOR (0.01 mg/kg) for that chemical in nuts, which was 20 times more sensitive than the laboratory the grower used. DPI's laboratory reported a residue of 0.016 mg/kg, which initiated the traceback.
Understandably, both growers were frustrated as they thought they'd done the right thing and paid for their nuts to be analysed. To help growers avoid such an outcome, DPI suggests the following:
- Check the lab has a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited method for the required analysis.
- Ensure the lab's LOR is appropriate for your needs (i.e. LOR is equal or less than the maximum residue limit (MRL) your produce needs to comply with (domestic or international). Where there is no MRL, the LOR needs to be as low as possible.
- Match the analytical screen to the chemicals you use on your produce, or to address other concerns from chemicals you have not used but that may still be present from other sources (e.g. organochlorins like dieldrin or DDT).
Residues and APVMA Permits – potential problems
Steven Field, Senior Chemical Standards Officer – Residues
When planning to use an agricultural chemical off-label, chemical users are reminded that there are some boundaries and issues to be aware of.
Off-label use refers to situations when a registered chemical is used in a manner that is not specified on the product label. Certain off-label uses are permissible in Victoria, which enables chemicals to be used in situations where extending label uses may be uneconomical (e.g. minor crops).
The Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) can issue permits that legalise off-label use in Victoria and other states, excluding 'restricted use' chemicals, which require a Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Section 25A permit. While such permits do not typically apply in Victoria because of its off-label use policy, they can assist in managing some of the risks associated with off-label use, such as unacceptable residues.
The APVMA permit process does this by establishing a maximum residue limit (MRL) for the chemical in the treated commodity where appropriate.
Maximum residue limit (MRL) is the maximum concentration of a chemical residue that is legally permitted to be present in a food, agricultural commodity or animal feed. This concentration is expressed in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of the food.
After approximately 12 weeks, this MRL is incorporated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) into their Food Standards Code, which is the main standard produce is measured against by Australian supermarkets.
This time lag can cause residue problems for some producers. There was a case where immediately after an APVMA permit was issued, growers treated produce with the specified chemical before sending it to supermarkets - where an unacceptable residue was detected. As there were no label uses of that chemical on the commodity treated, there was no relevant FSANZ MRL, so any detectable residue was unacceptable to the supermarkets.
As DPI recognises both APVMA and FSANZ MRLs, the growers were not at risk of committing the offence of selling contaminated produce as there was an APVMA MRL established as part of the permit process. Had growers been unable to sell their produce, this would not have restricted them from taking civil action against the Industry Development Officer (IDO) or chemical resellers that advised them to follow the permit. Both the IDO and resellers were counselled by DPI to ensure they check whether there is a FSANZ MRL in place before providing such advice.
Similarly, growers exporting produce must ensure their chemical use meets the MRLs of importing countries, as they may differ.
Remember, good agricultural practice requires producers to understand that chemical use is not as simple as following a label or permit – you really need to ensure that you meet the legal MRL required by the market you supply, be it domestic or international.
Bees and pesticides guide
As many agricultural chemicals are toxic to honeybees, it's important for chemical users to consider what treatment options are available when planning pest control programs to avoid bee deaths.
Honeybee Pesticide Poisoning – A risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers is a new booklet developed to assist beekeepers and farmers identify pesticides that are toxic to honeybees and help them manage the risk of honeybee poisoning.
he guide lists 349 broadacre and horticultural pesticides known to be toxic to honeybees and outlines good practices for farmers and beekeepers to adopt that will improve the well being of bees.
Farmers, chemical use advisors and beekeepers are encouraged to download a free copy from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) at www.rirdc.gov.au/pollination
Importance of 1080 neighbour notification
Steven Field, Senior Chemical Standards Officer – Residues
In the last issue of this newsletter, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) discussed the issue of neighbour notification when using 1080, including scenarios which explained how neighbour notification may affect them.
DPI recently concluded a complex investigation into the potential poisoning of a domestic dog, where neighbour notification was a major issue.
In this real life scenario, a public land manager was coordinating a large scale baiting program on the outskirts of a township in North Eastern Victoria. As with all large scale programs, the public land manager had numerous adjoining neighbours that needed to be notified prior to the contractor they had employed commenced baiting.
It is worth noting at this point that legally, the requirement to comply with the notification requirements sat with the bait user, who in this case was a contractor. In practical terms, it was not possible for the contractor to identify all adjoining neighbours, so the public land manager undertook this task, with the assistance of the local council. DPI would note that whilst this practice is common for large scale programs, ultimately the responsibility for compliance with the notification requirements still lies with the bait user.
An error in data management meant that one of the adjoining neighbours was not sent the required notification. Unfortunately that adjoining neighbour took his dog for a walk through the baited area, where the dog was believed to have eaten a bait and later, passed away.
The contractor had also failed to have adequate signage in the area, particularly on the walking bridge used by the neighbour to access the baited area.
DPI has taken action against the contractor and public land manager in relation to various offences under the Act, including not complying with the signage and notification requirements of the Directions for the Use of 1080 Pest Animal Bait Products in Victoria.
This regrettable situation highlights the necessity to ensure compliance with the legal requirements for using 1080 in Victoria.
It is important to comply with the Directions for the Use of 1080 Pest Animal Bait Products in Victoria.
Baiting in sensitive areas will require you to go over and above these requirements (e.g. use greater minimum distances than specified and notify the neighbour, not just adjoining neighbours etc).
If you suspect your domestic dog has been poisoned with 1080, seek urgent veterinary care and immediately notify DPI on 136 186. This is critical in assisting both the welfare of the animal and collecting evidence of an offence.
Disposing of pesticide rinsate
Alan Roberts, Chemical Standards Field Services
Disposing of rinsate that remains after rinsing chemical containers or from cleaning spray equipment has always been a hoary topic. What is needed is a simple, practical solution to dealing with rinsate that can be easily implemented.
First though - what is rinsate? Rinsate is the liquid (mainly water) that remains after an empty container is rinsed for cleaning. The container may be a 5 litre or 20 litre chemical drum, or it can be a sprayer tank, which can be up to 11,000 litres capacity. Generally, the bigger the container, the more rinsate is produced. While a small chemical drum might generate around a litre of rinsate, a sprayer tank might generate 200 or 300 litres of rinsate.
Rinsate is not the unused spray mixture left in the tank at the end of the job. That is a different issue and requires a different solution, the simplest being correct planning to ensure you only mix up enough chemical to treat the area you are targeting, not extra.
While rinsate is mostly water, it will contain trace amounts of agricultural chemicals that need to be disposed of responsibly. Even small amounts of some agricultural chemicals can have an impact on the environment, so thought needs to be given to how and where it is disposed of to ensure it does not have a negative impact.
Container rinsate: the easiest way to deal with rinsate from chemical containers is to add it to the spray tank before you start the job. As you measure out the chemical to put in the spray tank and as soon as a container is empty, triple rinse it and add the rinsate to the spray tank. Make sure you give containers a chance to drain to get as much of the product out as possible before triple rinsing them. Too many of us don't triple rinse the containers straight away, and we get left with a number of containers that have chemical residue in them. We then have to deal with it when the most effective option (i.e. putting it back in the tank before spraying) is no longer available.
Spray tank rinsate: this is a bit more difficult because with a big sprayer, we could be talking about 200-300 litres of rinsate. Remember though, as it is mostly water, re-applying it to the treated area will only add an inconsequential amount of chemical to the area. What you must not do, is spray the rinsate over an area that has not yet dried, as the rinsate is very dilute and you run the risk of washing some of the previously applied chemical off the plants, potentially reducing the efficacy of the spray in that area.
Another option is to drive around the inside of the boundary fence with only the end nozzle operating, as fence lines frequently get under-treated as we try to avoid hitting them with the boom end.These are logical tips for dealing with rinsate, but they do require you to know what you are going to do in advance so you can plan for rinsate disposal rather than having to quickly find a last minute solution.
DPI Chemical Standards
Visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/chemicaluse for more information about:
- Rules and regulations on the use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals in Victoria
- Licence and permit application forms
- Agricultural Chemical Control Areas
- Previous issues of CIN
DPI Chemical Standards contacts
Ph: (03) 5430 4806, 0428 564 267
Ph: (03) 5355 0522, 0439 206 561
Ph: (03) 5430 4591, 0457 819 371
Ph: (03) 5824 5532, 0407 258 433
Ph: (03) 5336 6616, 0400 827 596
Ph: (03) 5147 0832, 0438 072 465
Chemical Industry News
Editor: Deann ChyPhone: 03 9217 4391
Fax: 03 9217 4331