Fungicide given the go-ahead

Growers of chickpeas, faba beans, lentils and vetch now have access to a fungicide, Carbendizim, which has been registered for use in minor crops to inhibit growth of chocolate spot and grey mould.

The registration is the most significant achievement of a GRDC project addressing the need for pest management tools in small market crops, says project head Kevin Bodnaruk.

Mr Bodnaruk, who is with regulatory consultants AKC Consulting Pty Ltd, says smaller grains industries can suffer from a lack of approved pest and disease management options. “The role we have in this project is firstly to ask growers and industry what their needs are and help gain access to suitable management options through minor-use permits or chemical registrations,” Mr Bodnaruk says. “This can involve gathering information on the chemical’s crop safety and residue data, its efficacy against certain pests or diseases and any other relevant data.

“We present this to the regulatory authority, the APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority), which ultimately decides whether to grant approval for a chemical’s use in a minor crop.”

The need to seek approvals occurs because manufacturers have not often made it a priority to get their chemicals registered for minor crops, as there is extra expense involved and smaller potential returns, says Mr Bodnaruk.

Consequently, there can be a lack of suitable management options available, which potentially jeopardises the production and marketing of minor crops.

This can happen if the grower does not have access to chemicals approved for use in a crop, the use of which could contravene state control of use legislation and put the grower in non-compliance with Quality Assurance schemes.

The project team is also looking at international collaboration. By establishing linkages with minoruse research programs in the US and Canada, it can explore opportunities for data sharing and data generation to support potential label extensions.

For more information: Mr Kevin Bodnaruk, 02 9499 3833