Grain marketing and pesticide residues

Published: 1 Jul 2014

Grain marketing and pesticide residues fact sheet cover page

Managing maximum residue limits in export grain

Violations of maximum residue limits (MRLs) affect the marketability of Australian export grain. By observing several precautions growers can ensure that grain coming off their farm is compliant.

All Australian grain, whether destined for the domestic or export market, is tested for pesticide residues.

Key points

  • Grain samples are tested for pesticide residues in Australia and when export shipments leave the port to ensure they are within maximum residue limits (MRLs).
  • A single violation of an importing country’s MRL can lead to punitive measures on all Australian grain exported to that country and undermine Australian grains’ reputation internationally.
  • Consequences may include costs awarded against the exporter and/or grower. If repeated violations are detected with the same chemical, that chemical may be banned.
  • It is essential that growers ensure both pre-harvest and post-harvest chemical applications adhere to the Australian Grain Industry Code of Practice.
  • Use only registered products and observe all label recommendations including label rates and withholding periods.
  • Trucks or augers that have been used to transport treated seed or fertiliser can be a source of contamination. Pay particular attention to storage and transport hygiene.
  • Silos that have held treated fertiliser or pickled grain will have dust remnants that require particular attention. These silos either need to be cleaned or designated as non-food-grade storage.
  • Compliance with Australian MRLs does not guarantee the grain will meet an importing country’s MRL (which may be nil).
  • Know the destination of your grain. When signing contracts, check the importing countries’ MRLs to determine what pesticides are permitted on that crop.

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GRDC Project Code WJM00005

Region National, North, South, West

Region: National; North; South; West