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Complex issue offers potential opportunities

Newly awarded Nuffield Scholarship winner Tessa Dimond plans to research maximum residue limits.
Photo: Supplied

Key points

  • Queensland agronomist Tessa Dimond has won a Nuffield Scholarship
  • She will research maximum residue limits to help Australian growers keep abreast of the issue
  • She says MRLs are a complex topic that affords opportunities

In a bid to explore opportunities for Australian growers, Queensland agronomist Tessa Dimond will research maximum residue limits (MRLs) as part of her newly awarded Nuffield Scholarship.

With GrainCorp support, Ms Dimond will travel from St George in southern Queensland to the United Kingdom, US, Europe, Canada, China and Indonesia.

She says gaining a better understanding of MRLs, and the role they play in the international grain market, could benefit Australian growers. “There is a global trend to reduce and, in some cases, withdraw MRLs in some of Australia’s key international markets and I want to keep abreast of this and not be left behind. I want to give Australian growers the chance to be in front of that.”

A broadacre and irrigation agronomist at AGnVet Rural, Ms Dimond has worked in the agriculture industry for 12 years.

She says following label directions, spray quality and drift are cornerstones of protecting access to crop chemicals – topics frequently covered in industry updates. However, more attention needs to be paid to chemical residues, including MRLs, which are part of the final commodity and market requirements.

“There is an opportunity to understand international MRL requirements and how these have reformed chemical application and stewardship globally,” she says.

“Opportunity lies in building awareness of how agronomist recommendations and grower application of chemicals impact commodity pricing, access to international markets, the reputation of Australian grain and sustainability of the grains industry into the future.”

For example, Ms Dimond wonders whether European Commission changes could create further opportunities for Australian grain.

“I want to learn more about the European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy, part of the broader European Green Deal.” This deal sets out how to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. This includes reducing pesticide use by 50 per cent by 2030.

“The commission is also talking about carbon certification for canola and barley and locking up land. These changes could all point to opportunities for Australia – we could increase our exports to Europe.”

She admits the topic of MRLs is complex. “Everyone is pushing for sustainable agriculture. I want to understand that and build awareness about the importance of MRLs on the international market, sharing global best management practices, trends and leading-edge technology.”

Her area of study supports the GRDC Research, Development and Extension Plan 2018-23, including its aim to improve market access for Australian grain and increase or maintain its price.

More information: Tessa Dimond,; Nuffield Australia

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