Autumn brings new challenges

The first quarter of the year is already behind us and with the onset of autumn we are beset with new challenges from pests in our crops and animals.
Thank goodness we have Infopest to back up our search for the most cost effective and efficient control agents registered in Australia. And it is still free!
That’s thanks to the contributions of our sponsors, Crop Care, WFI and Agsafe. To join our sponsors, please contact Janine Clark by email: jclark@growcom.com.au or telephone: 07 3620 3844.

Sign up in May and win

To encourage more people to use Infopest, Australia’s handiest ag & vet chemicals industry tool, we are running a end of financial year user drive. Once again, thanks to our good friends at Crop Care, one lucky new user who joins us before 30 June will win this 55L Waeco Ice Box. Spread the word! This offer is open to all new users of Infopest online who register in the months of May/June 2016. The winner will be drawn in July and notified by e-mail.

APVMA evaluating new active for ag & vet uses

Australia is not ranked highly in the global order for receiving new chemistry, so it is encouraging to know that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has evaluated the new active, bixafen for use in ag and vet products. APVMA Gazette

Bixafen has fungicidal properties. It works by inhibiting mitochondrial function by disrupting complex II (succinate dehydrogenase) in the respiratory electron transport chain. In layman’s terms, mitochondria are specialized structures within the cells of animals, plants and fungi. They serve as batteries, powering various functions of the cell and the organism as a whole. Bixafen stops the mitochondria from working properly, thus killing the cells.

Bixafen has had its first regulatory approval worldwide in the United Kingdom on cereal in 2011, so it may yet be some time before we see product registration in Australia. Germany is next on the registration list. Bixafen registered in UK

Bixafen was developed specifically for foliar application to control important cereal diseases such as septoria leaf blotch (Septoria tritici) in intensive cereal growing regions. APVMA’s evaluation of Bixafen (manufacturing process, quality control procedures, batch analysis results and analytical methods) has found them to be acceptable. Toxicological aspects of bixafen, show no reason to object on toxicological grounds to the approval of this active constituent. An Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 0.02 mg/kg bw/d and an Acute Reference Dose (ARfD) of 0.2 mg/kg bw have been set. The APVMA is satisfied that the proposed importation and use of bixafen would not be an undue toxicological hazard to the safety of people exposed to it during its handling and use.

Remember that although the active may have been assessed by APVMA, products containing bixafen are yet to be registered, so watch this space for further updates.

Register your Dichlorvos products with ChemClear

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has cancelled the registration of any product containing the chemical Dichlorvos following a suspension and phase out period. The chemical is an organophosphorus insecticide and was mainly used as a fumigant or spray.

The cancellation was in response to a review of the chemical by the APVMA that identified concerns relating to trade, public and occupational health and safety, environmental impacts and residues of this active constituent.

The APVMA determined that the concerns relating to Dichlorvos were real due to its high acute toxicity and its carcinogenic potential, and that there was a significant risk to human and animal health. They determined there was a potential risk to users relating to application methods, product label instructions, exposures, safety standards and warnings.

Any reseller or customer still holding stores of Dichlorvos product should register them with ChemClear for responsible disposal as soon as possible.

National ChemClear Program Manager Lisa Nixon said, “ChemClear is the right program for the safe collection and disposal of products containing Dichlorvos in Australia. We have 121 participating manufacturers in the ChemClear scheme and it is our policy to accept their products up to two years from deregistration with the APVMA.”

She continued, “Given the two year limit, it is important that those holding stocks of Dichlorovos from any of our manufacturers register their product before January 2017 for free disposal. Anyone storing chemicals containing the product after this time can still register them with ChemClear, but the service will attract a fee per litre for disposal.”

Visit www.chemclear.com.au to download an Inventory Form and record any unwanted products. Interested persons can then either register on the same site, call 1800 008 182 or email the form back to chemclear@toxfree.com.au.

ChemClear has collected and disposed of more than 501 tonnes of surplus agvet chemical across Australia since the start of the program in 2003.

Can I still use glyphosate?

Popular herbicide, glyphosate has been frequently in the news of late. The debate is over its status as a carcinogenic substance. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO) assessed glyphosate for its carcinogenicity in March 2015.

IARC found that there was “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” Thus it has been classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)”. In their report, IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides, the IARC defines this category as:

“…Used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Limited evidence means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that other explanations for the observations (called chance, bias, or confounding) could not be ruled out. This category is also used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and strong data on how the agent causes cancer.”
International Agency for Research on Cancer

IARC has provided scientific evaluation based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature. However, it is the responsibility of individual governments and international organisations to recommend regulations, legislation or public health intervention.

As the Australian regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) published their response to this finding in November 2015. http://apvma.gov.au/node/13891

APVMA is examining the full monograph to determine whether any regulatory action is necessary, including whether glyphosate should be reviewed. APVMA has been working in conjunction with WHO via a joint expert taskforce to review all relevant information. The taskforce has recommended that the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) undertake a full evaluation of glyphosate to consider all adverse human health effects, including carcinogenicity. We can expect this re-evaluation to be completed by May 2016.

The APVMA’s recommendation is that: “Based on current risk assessment the label instructions on all glyphosate products—when followed—provides adequate protection for users”.

Infopest advocates to: ‘always read the label first and use chemicals responsibly.’ You can use Infopest to view all registered glyphosate product labels and Safety Data Sheets.

Workplace health and safety, chemical handling and YOU.

Most Infopest users identify themselves as primary producers of crops. This means there are many of them likely to be using agricultural chemicals on a regular basis.

Australian legislation governing the management of risk associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace is the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act). Safe Work Australia is an Australian Government statutory agency which works with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements. This agency has developed Managing Risk of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace, Code of Practice 2012 (The Code). The Code is an approved code of practice under section 274 of the WHS Act. This Code provides practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks associated with hazardous chemicals for persons conducting a business or undertaking who use chemicals in their workplace.

Whilst Safe Work Australia has published the Code, they are not a regulator of health and safety. This responsibility falls to the Commonwealth, states and territories to regulate and enforce work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction.

Each of the states and territories has different bodies undertaking the regulatory function. In Queensland for example this function falls to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Office of Industrial Relations (WHSQ) so if there is a chemical handling incident in your workplace, WHSQ are the ones who will investigate it and prosecute any breaches of legislation. Safe Work Australia has a handy spot on their website which enables you to find a regulator in your state or territory.

To limit risk associated with hazardous agricultural chemicals getting chemical accreditation for handling and application training is always a wise idea.

Here at Infopest, we always promote responsible chemical use. Part of this is being suitably accredited to apply and handle pesticides. The mandates for accreditation vary in each of Australia’s states and territories but chemical training company, Smith & Georg have put together a handy infographic which allows people to click on and find out their requirements dependent on their location.

Smith & Georg has taken care to ensure the information provided in this document is correct. As requirements may change over time, and individual situations vary, no responsibility is taken for any loss that might occur from using the information provided. If in doubt, always check your own situation with the relevant regulator(s) in your state.

Patent application to protect Nail

Nail 600 was launched in 2015 to complement Nail 240 and give resellers and farmers access to a higher loading, more robust herbicide which is better suited to larger farm operations. Tank mixed with Shirquat 250 (paraquat), Gladiator CT or Gladiator Optimax (glyphosate), Nail 600 improves the brownout on broadleaf weeds, expands the weed spectrum and improves the control of tough weeds such as marshmallow, capeweed and Paterson’s curse.

“Farmers like the robust performance of Nail 600 and the savings in freight, storage and handling,” Chris said.

“Farmers with larger operations find the concentrated formulation of Nail 600 easier to use, because they need less herbicide per hectare and it’s convenient to carry the pack on the boomspray or spray truck and add to the spray tank on the go.

“Nail 600 allows them to reduce their exposure to solvents and handle fewer containers.

“At the same time, Nail 600 comes in a range of pack sizes and has the widest compatibility of any carfentrazone product, so it can be tank mixed with more than 40 other herbicides including Alliance (paraquat and amitrole), Spray.Seed, Biffo (glufosinate) and Shirquat (paraquat).”

Crop Care has now filed a provisional patent in Australia to protect higher loading carfentrazone ethyl formulations of 450g/L and above. Chris Ramsey, Marketing Manager with Crop Care, said the patent application would help secure the future of the company’s unique Nail formulations including its current 600 g/L formulation branded as Nail 600.

“These products are unique to Crop Care and we are determined to keep it that way,” he said.

“With the security of patent protection, we are committed to building on the success of Nail 240 which was developed from the ground up in Australia in 2014.

“As we expand our Nail range with the 600 g/L formulation and others in the development pipeline, we want to ensure our product development initiatives are protected.”

Chris reminded farmers that adding Supercharge Elite surfactant will further improve the performance of Nail 600 in many cases, particularly in tough conditions.

“As attention turns to the 2016 knockdown season, we look forward to working with our customers to enhance their experience with Nail 600.”

Practical course in using knapsack or hand pressure sprayers

Whether you’re a home gardener, groundskeeper, bushcare volunteer or council worker, there will be times when you may need to use a knapsack or hand pressure sprayer to control weeds or insects.
You’ve read the label and data safety sheet of the chemical selected for the job but you still need to know how best to use and maintain the spray equipment to handle the job efficiently and safely.

Smith & Georg is a Registered Training Organisation which has prepared a Using Chemicals Safely Course for those times when you need simple instructions that focus on the WHS aspects rather than full chemical accreditation. The course is proving to be a winner with Councils, Landcare, Green Army and groundskeepers.

As a sample of the course, Smith & Georg has prepared a 30 minute video, Using Chemicals Safely, which looks at such issues as:

  • What size sprayer for the job?
  • Backpack or hand held?
  • What about nozzle selection, spare parts and accessories?
  • Apart from what the label stipulates, what safety gear is essential?
  • When should you avoid spraying?
  • Hints on filling.
  • Common mistakes in spraying.
  • What is involved in cleaning up?
  • Safety tips – using separate sprayers and safety tags.
  • Why not check it out today?

Smith & Georg is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO40075) that specialises in Chemical Accreditation Training. For 20 years, Smith & Georg has offered face to face training. For the past five years, rural and remote students have also been able to complete their courses online.
Smith & Georg’s quarterly newsletter is available online: AgChemNews

Hot tips – Dealer Searches

Have you ever wanted to see all the products registered by one particular company or get a list of all the permits that a holder has in their name? The Dealer Search is your tool of choice.

Select that search option from the starting page and type in “Crop Care” as an example.

Select the 100 per cent match “Crop Care Australasia Pty Ltd” then in the lower menu bar, select “Go to Products”.

There are 158 search results listed alphabetically by trade name. Each of the columns in the search result table allows you to filter by clicking on the column header. For example, to filter by Mode of Action, use your mouse to click on that column header and Infopest will automatically alpha-numerically filter them for you.

Should you wish to generate a list of all the permits that Growcom holds on behalf of industry, click on the “HOME” option in the top menu bar to start a fresh search.

Again, select “Dealer”, then type Growcom into the search field and hit enter.

Tick the 100 per cent match with Growcom in the search results and then “Go to Products” in the lower menu bar.

The results are filtered in order of APVMA number or, in this case, permit number. You can easily export the list to Excel using the lower menu bar. Happy searching!

Pest Spot – Flaxleaf fleabane

Among the hard to kill weeds agriculture must contend with is flaxleaf fleabane. It is known by many common names: Argentine fleabane, asthma weed, conyza, flax-leaf fleabane, flaxleaf fleabane, flax-leaved fleabane, flax-leaved horseweed, fleabane, hairy fleabane, hairy horseweed, horse-weed, horseweed and little horseweed.

An exotic species, fleabane has become widely naturalised and is very common in south east Queensland and most other parts of Australia.

Flaxleaf fleabane (Conyza bonariensis) reproduces only by seed, which is easily blown and dispersed by the wind. Seeds may also be spread by machinery, water, vehicles, animals, and in clothing and contaminated agricultural produce.

Flaxleaf fleabane grows up to 1 m in height and has erect, multiple-branching stems covered with stiff hairs. Leaves are grey-green, deeply indented, coarsely toothed and covered in fine hairs. Its branches often grow taller than the main plant axis .

Flaxleaf fleabane plants feature hairy leaf surfaces, thick cuticles and few stomata – a combination that affords the weed a natural tolerance to herbicide. Glyphosate resistance has been identified in flaxleaf fleabane populations, located in NSW and Queensland.

While herbicide control can be effective, particularly when plants are treated at the seedling stage (rosette), it is also important not to under-estimate the value of crop competition in the winter cropping phase. Fleabane seedlings are highly sensitive to crop competition and any bare patches in a paddock provide an ideal environment for fleabane establishment.

Infopest does not make recommendations for pest management, so for information on managing this weed, visit www.weedsmart.org.au or study the Northern IWM Fact Sheet:
https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/65903/Flaxleaf-fleabane.pdf
Infopest can then be used to determine if products are registered or permitted for use in your circumstances.