Happy New Year

Hello Infopest users and welcome to the first edition of Infopest News for 2017. We hope you’ve enjoyed a healthy break over Christmas and look forward to assisting you with your chemical searches in 2017.

There are exciting new changes coming to Infopest in 2017 so watch this space for further details.

Enjoy reading our latest newsletter and may 2017 be a prosperous and pest free one!

APVMA’s Dimethoate draft regulatory measures

Popular insecticide dimethoate was nominated for review in January 1994. After prioritisation, the scope of the dimethoate review was developed in consultation with agencies, states and territories. The scope of the review included the related compound, omethoate and covered toxicology and public health; residues and dietary exposure; residues impact on trade; and occupational health and safety issues.

Notice of reconsideration was sent out for public comment in 2004, with the review of omethoate being conducted separately.

The toxicology assessment for dimethoate was published in January 2011 and the residues and dietary risk assessment report in August 2011.

The August 2011 residues and dietary risk assessment report determined that the use of dimethoate on many crops could result in dietary exposures that exceeded the Australian health standard (the acute reference dose). The APVMA announced that it proposed to suspend dimethoate products to issue new instructions for their use that mitigated the identified dietary risks and invited public submissions regarding this proposal.

On 6 October 2011 the APVMA finished its assessment of the public submissions and suspended all products containing dimethoate and issued new instructions that no longer allowed the use of dimethoate on a number of food crops due to unacceptable dietary risks. The suspension was extended to 5 October 2016.

Which now brings us to the current point of the draft regulatory measure. On 26 October 2016 the Dimethoate proposed regulatory decision report: Volume 1 and Submissions and technical reports: Volume 2 were published and a consultation period of three months began. The APVMA invited individuals and organisations to provide submissions by COB Tuesday 27 January 2017.

The APVMA is expected to make a final decision on the dimethoate review before 1 March 2017.

Additionally the APVMA is proposing to amend the standard for the active constituent dimethoate to include maximum impurity levels for omethoate and isodimethoate. The consultation period for this review ends 27 January 2017.

The report takes into consideration the recommendations in the technical assessment reports:

  • toxicology report
  • occupational health and safety report
  • re-entry interval calculations which were updated September 2016
  • dimethoate residues and dietary risk assessment report: updated June 2016.

The APVMA has assessed the available information and concluded that the use of dimethoate according to its current instructions for use does not meet the safety criteria listed in sections 5A of the Agvet Codes for continued registration and approval.

The APVMA is proposing to:

  • maintain the approvals of dimethoate active constituents
  • vary the label approvals of the most recent label approval for 400 g/L dimethoate products
  • maintain the registrations of those products and the varied labels
  • cancel the registrations of home garden products containing more than 100 g/L dimethoate and
  • limit pack sizes of the agricultural 400 g/L dimethoate products to volumes of greater than 1 litre.

As a separate process the APVMA is also proposing to amend the standard for the active constituent dimethoate to include maximum impurity levels for omethoate and isodimethoate. The consultation period for this ends 27 January 2017.

This review has so far spanned 22 years and is likely to go on for several more. For further information click here.

APVMA improves application assessment times

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) records in their 2015/2016 Annual Report that it has “focussed heavily on ways to lower the regulatory burden for industry when it comes to making an application, as well as improving the overall experience of applications in interacting and transacting with the APVMA”.

Changes in legislation are being cited as assisting the agency to reduce the regulatory burden for industry and improve their time frame performance on applications.

APVMA has undertaken an audit of their progress in application times and it has shown that the average time taken to register a product is now shorter than under the previous legislation.

We congratulate the APVMA on this achievement and its ongoing work with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to develop an Australian crop group list for the purposes of improving access to chemicals for Australian growers.

More than 500 permits have been reviewed to determine if their uses could be moved to permanent label registration.This would eliminate the need for industry and growers to renew permits each year, saving considerable time and effort for all parties.

The APVMA has published summary tables for their regulatory decision making.

Summary of activities related to regulatory decisions in the APVMA July 2015 – June 2016

Pre-application assistance 175 145 42
Product registration— pesticides 905 1029 408
Product registration— veterinary medicines 701 704 316
Actives 342 213 289
Permits 562 599 179
Items 8L, 8M, 8P 695 689 32
Item 25 15 24 12
Notifiable variations 736 696 37
Import consents 608 620 61
Certificates of export 367 429 30
Total 5106 5148 1406
Although overall the time frames have improved, it is concerning that by the APVMA’s own admission there were negative effects caused “by higher than expected unplanned staff leave in the September quarter”. This caused backlogs for subsequent quarters.

With the planned move to Armidale, and many of the APVMA’s current scientists stating they will not make the move with the agency, staffing issues may well affect the productivity increase in 2016-17. Time will tell! For a full copy of the annual report click here.

Imidacloprid not quite the ‘nasty’ we thought it was?

The neonicotinoid, imidacloprid is one of the most widely-used insecticides in the world because of its effectiveness and its relatively favourable human and environmental safety profile. However, it has been under scrutiny lately for its effects on bees and for its level of risk to sensitive aquatic invertebrate communities.

According to CropLife, a major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment by scientists published in peer-reviewed literature has concluded that registered crop and non-crop uses of imidacloprid in the United States are of minimal risk to sensitive aquatic invertebrate communities. This is also good news for other wildlife, such as birds and fish, since these insects are an important part of their diet.

Further to this, a 2015 study from the University of Maryland showed that imidacloprid did not significantly harm honey bees at ‘real-world’ dosage levels. Galen Dively emeritus professor of entomology at UMD and lead author of the study contends that imidacloprid is not the sole cause of honey bee colony decline, but that it contributes as part of a bigger picture.

Dively points the finger at other stresses increasing the bees’ susceptibility to imidacloprid, citing factors such as climate stress, malnutrition, and diet imbalance. He does however conclude that there is some evidence to show that doses 20 times greater than real-world dosages make colonies more susceptible to Varroa mites.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has completed a broad overview of issues relating to honeybee health in Australia, with a particular focus on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. It published a report Overview Report: Neonicotinoids and the health of honey bees in Australia.

This concludes that current scientific literature demonstrates a lack of consensus on the causes of bee declines, essentially agreeing with Dively and the University of Maryland report that there are a wide range of possible causes contributing to the problem.

APVMA continues to assess and monitor the situation and will update their website should significant new information become available.

Aussie chemical company, Nufarm at home and abroad

It’s good to see an Aussie company making good on the international front. Nufarm Limited currently employs people in 30 different countries. A manufacturer, distributor and marketer of crop protection chemicals it is now the ninth largest crop protection company in the world and a market leader in Australia.

The company has manufacturing and distribution platforms in Australia, North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. It holds approximately 4000 product registration and markets products in more than 100 countries. In Australia, Nufarm has 149 products registered, including the leading brands, Credit, Nuprid and Weedmaster.

To learn more about their business click here.

And they have a sense of humour! Nufarm’s Facebook page posted this Youtube video where their herbicidal products are being used by the manufacturers of the precision spraying technology, WEEDit, in this humorous adaptation of Michael Jackson’s Beat It. Spray technology at its musical best!

Nufarm is a major sponsor of Infopest and we thank the company for its support.

How can AgSafe and its programs help you?

Infopest is all about responsible chemical use. That’s why we appreciate our sponsor AgSafe’s ethos on safe storage, handling, transport and sale of chemicals. Their two programs, ChemClear and drumMUSTER focus on container management and end-of-life disposal of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

Each year, ChemClear receives registrations for more than 100 chemical users ranging from farmers, golf courses, schools, bowling greens, chemical distributors, turf and pest management organisations, all seeking to safely dispose of their old pesticides. The program strives to help chemical users make good purchasing, storing and disposal decisions with their agvet chemicals. Before this stewardship program began, farmers and other chemical users across Australia had very limited opportunities to dispose of their unwanted, unstable, inherited and unknown chemicals.

The chemicals ChemClear collects are classified as either Group 1 or Group 2 under the program. Group 1 are collected free of charge to chemical users as a levy has been paid on these products at the point of sale. Participating manufacturers’ chemical drums display a logo which denotes eligibility under the ChemClear and drumMUSTER programs. One hundred and twenty-one manufacturers of agvet chemical are voluntary members of the program, showing exemplary corporate responsibility for the industry.

Group 2 chemicals include unlabeled, out of date, deregistered or mixed chemicals and chemicals from non-participating manufacturers. Group 2 products attract a fee per litre charge for disposal. drumMUSTER is Australia’s leading agricultural stewardship program with more than 800 permanent collection locations across Australia and 28 million containers recycled since the program commenced in 1999. More than 120 chemical manufacturers are participating in the program with thousands of their clients returning close to 2 million drums per year for recycling.

New sites are established every year to offer better access for local chemical users to dispose of their chemical drums and containers.

AgSafe provides a range of practical benefits to its members. Why not consider joining them today? For more information, click here.

From sponsor, Crop Care: Managing glyphosate-resistant annual ryegrass in orchards and vineyards

Disappointing weed control is a concern in Australian orchards and vineyards, with a growing incidence of glyphosate resistance – especially in annual ryegrass.

The current register of known cases of glyphosate-resistant annual ryegrass in horticulture includes 37 incidences in SA, WA, NSW and Victoria, plus glyphosate-resistance in fleabane in both orchards and vineyards. All have occurred where there has been continuous reliance on glyphosate for several years, with little or no other use of alternative mode of action herbicides or other weed-control practices.

Australian Glyphosate Sustainability Working Group (AGSWG) and Crop Life recommendations for growers to reduce the risk of herbicide-resistant weeds include:

  • Rotating herbicide mode-of-action groups within and across years, and using herbicides with lower frequency of herbicide resistance.
  • Using robust label rates for maximum, consistent control of target weeds.
  • Using non-herbicide weed control to reduce weed seed banks and prevent weeds going to seed – including cover cropping, mowing, mulching, and strategic grazing.
  • Good farm hygiene with only clean machinery, vehicles, stock and footwear allowed in the orchard.

David Hughes, a research and development specialist with Crop Care Australasia, said growers had successfully lowered the incidence of herbicide-resistant weeds by adopting those practices.

To detect signs of glyphosate resistance; to use different modes of action to select herbicides in weed control plans; and to view herbicide trials to enable successful control of herbicide-resistant ryegrass click here.

Infopest searches show that there are 26 options of actives registered or permitted for use against ryegrass in grapes, of which 11 are glyphosate based. Infopest is a good tool to help you with selecting options to manage resistance.

Further to December newsletter article: Glyphosate guilty until proven innocent? The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) met December 13-16, 2016, to consider and review a set of scientific issues being evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding EPA’s evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of the herbicide glyphosate. This is the meeting that was rescheduled from October 18-21, 2016. For further info, click here.

Pest spot – Preparing for Vegetable leaf miner

Vegetable leaf miner (Liriomyza sativae) was recently detected in a remote location at Seisia on Cape York Peninsula.

The Agromyzidae family (to which the pest belongs) is a well-known group of small, morphologically similar flies whose larvae feed internally on plants, often as leaf and stem miners. Nearly all species are very host-specific but a few highly polyphagous species have become important pests of agriculture and horticulture in many parts of the world.

Plant Health Australia has a number of fact sheets on leaf miner and a contingency plan should the pest spread.

The insecticide, cyromazine is effective against leaf miners as it targets larvae inside the leaves. However, it is important to keep resistance management in mind. The pest’s propensity to develop resistance can make it difficult to control.

In preparation for any potential incursion, Horticulture Innovation Australia through Growcom has submitted an application to the APVMA on behalf of the vegetable industry to request an off-label permit. The application is still being assessed, and should it be granted, will not be activated until an incursion in a farming region is detected.

Internationally, it is reported that biological control measures have also proved quite effective in managing vegetable leaf miner.

In Europe, the combination of two parasitic wasps has been used to successfully control the pests. Dacnusa sibirica is introduced to the crop early, after monitoring and scouting has found presence of the pest. It is efficient when temperatures and pest pressure are low. Dacnusa actively seek out larvae in the leaf tunnels as they are mined. Being an endoparasite, the wasp deposits its eggs inside the body of the larvae. An added advantage is that it only seeks out healthy larvae − not ones already paralysed.

Diglyphus isaea is less skilled at seeking out pest larvae, but works best when pest pressure is seen to be increasing. Female wasps locate second or third stage larvae and use their ovipositors to puncture and inject paralyzing toxins in the body of leafminer larvae. Unlike Dacnusa sibirica, the females of Diglyphus lay 1-5 oval shaped eggs next to (not inside) the body of paralyzed larva. Each female wasp generally lay about 50 eggs during its life span of two weeks when the temperature is above 20ºC. Immediately after hatching from eggs the larvae of mini wasps start feeding externally on the larvae of leafminers. Because of this external feeding habit, Diglyphus isaea wasp larvae are considered as ectoparasitic wasps. Females of Diglyphus isaea wasp are also parasitic in nature and known to kill and feed on several leaf miner larvae during their life-span. Click here for source article.

Pest thresholds and the timing of releases are the keys to success. There is evidence to suggest that cyromazine and the two parasytic wasps can be used in combination. Although these wasps have been assessed under Australian Threat Specific Contingency Plans, they have not yet become available in Australia.

Event of Interest: AgChem Conference in Brisbane on March 14th 2017

Infopest is sponsoring the AgChem Conference for 2017. Workshop presenter, Craig Watt, General Manager of Chem-Safe Australia, Globally Harmonised System (GHS) Compliance and Chemical Safety Specialist will be offering information which a wide range of Infopest users may benefit from.

The goal of this conference is to improve chemical safety management in agriculture with focus on pesticides such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides as well as the chemicals used in aquaculture and the veterinary industry. The use of the agricultural chemicals is regulated, so it’s important that everyone understand their responsibilities when using these chemical products. The conference will also cover the storage, handling and transport of dangerous goods in agriculture and the newly adopted Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of labelling and packaging chemicals in Australia.

The GHS is a United Nations created system for the classification, labelling and safety data sheets (SDS) of chemicals on a global basis. The GHS was accepted worldwide in 2012 and as of the 31st December 2016, all workplace chemicals in Australia (excluding VIC and WA) must be classified according to the GHS and labels and SDS must be updated.

You might be asking, how will the introduction of the GHS affect me? The USA has also changed to the GHS format in 2013 and Europe in 2014. This affects Australia as many of our chemicals originate from these continents and we are now starting to see these new GHS symbols, diamonds and revised SDS structure on these products. The new GHS system will change the risk profile of our chemicals; therefore rural business operators need to be aware of the changes to protect their employees from hazardous conditions and prevent negative health affects.

This conference will explore the variety of updates the introduction of the GHS will have on your business and offer best practice when dealing with your dangerous goods. Anyone working with agricultural chemicals has a duty of care; a responsibility to carry out their tasks in a manner which will not cause harm or injury to themselves, other people, their property, animals or the environment. This event will ensure that you stay legally compliant with the Australian and international law and regulations.

To download the full conference brochure, click here, or to register online click here.