Off-label herbicide use not the solution to summer weeds

Growers advised not to lift chemical rates in the fight against problematic weeds


Chemical Regulation
WEEDit precision spraying systems are one of many tools that can be used for summer weed control, targeting weeds when they are small. PHOTO GRDC

WEEDit precision spraying systems are one of many tools that can be used for summer weed control, targeting weeds when they are small. PHOTO GRDC

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Summer weed control is challenging but going off-label is not a recommended answer.

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Hot conditions and moisture stress make controlling summer weeds a tough challenge.

It may be tempting to use higher rates than stated in the label recommendations, but off-label use of chemicals can result in growers exceeding maximum residue limits (MRLs) in marketable produce including grain, forage and animal products.

If Australia’s produce is found to have exceeded an MRL, the reputation of our entire agricultural industry will suffer.

This will mean additional cost imposed on exporters through higher residue testing at grain receivals by importing nations, and increased on-farm audits.

Repeated violations are likely to lead to chemicals being removed from the market.

It is essential that growers use only registered products and observe all label recommendations, including application timing, maximum rates and withholding periods.

It may not be top of mind, but off-target spray drift is another potential cause of MRL breaches.

Spray drift, when spraying a crop or fallow, can result in detectable MRLs in grain, forage and even animal products through grazing of affected pastures.

It is the responsibility of all operators to ensure that chemical trespass (drift) does not result from your crop protection activities.

Grain and produce samples are tested for pesticide residues in Australia and when export shipments leave the port to ensure they are within MRL limits.

Australian MRLs are set by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) as part of the registration process at levels that pose no risk to human health and are not likely to be exceeded if used in accordance with the directions for use on the product label.

All growers need to abide by the product label directions for use to protect Australia’s status as a producer of ‘clean and green’ produce, maintaining our commercial advantage. Any violations will affect the marketability of Australian export commodities impacting on all growers.

Controlling weeds while they are still small, after rain when they are less stressed and using label recommended additives are better options for improving summer weed control.

More Information: Gordon Cumming, 0428 637 642, gordon.cumming@grdc.com.au

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