Scorecard shows industry awareness

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The latest National Residue Survey (NRS) results indicate excellent compliance from 6238 stored grain samples, but contamination and herbicide-use issues need to remain front-of-mind for growers. This was the message from the Australian Department of Agriculture’s NRS director Ian Reichstein when he spoke at the Australian Grain Storage and Protection Conference earlier this year.

The NRS covers all tradeable grains for export and domestic markets, with all samples screened for insecticides (such as grain protectants), fungicides (including fluquinconazole and flutriafol), pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides (including 2,4-D) and contaminants (such as organochlorines).

One in four samples are screened for special herbicides such as glyphosate, haloxyfop, paraquat and amitrole, and grain is also tested for environmental contaminants and fumigants.

Compliance with maximum residue limits (MRLs) for the 200 chemicals tested were:

  • 99.86 per cent compliance from 3452 bulk-export samples (up from 99.7 per cent the previous year)
  • 98.77 per cent from 2034 export container samples (98.9 per cent in 2013-14)
  • 97.34 per cent from 753 domestic samples (97.5 per cent in 2013-14).

Mr Reichstein said there were some issues that still need industry attention, including haloxyfop herbicide residues (which continue to be a problem despite changes to product labels in October 2014 to prevent late-growing-season application) and an increase in flutriafol residues.

Trace-backs showed flutriafol contamination is most commonly the result of back-loading flutriafol-treated fertiliser deliveries with grain, or from equipment coming into contact with the treated fertiliser.

The NRS has not previously routinely tested for fertilisers, but in response to these concerns delegates at the conference endorsed specific testing for up to 500 samples of grain in the 2015-16 NRS to identify the extent of fertiliser contamination.
Although there is no fully effective way to decontaminate equipment that has been in contact with flutriafol-treated fertiliser, improved truck hygiene could help eliminate basic fertiliser contamination.

More information:

National Residue Survey

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