Project 1.5.1

Collecting and disseminating information on agrochemicals

Project summary

This project provides accurate and timely information on regulatory and technical aspects of agrochemicals registered for use in Australian viticulture. It also provides information on the maximum residue limit (MRL) requirements of those chemicals in export markets. Lack of compliance with legislation and international trade requirements has the potential to present major barriers to trade. The resolution of trade issues will also be assisted through the collection and supply of data by this project.

The AWRI will continue to produce a list of Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) -registered agrochemicals (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and plant growth regulators) for viticulture, with recommended withholding periods for grapes intended for wines which will be exported, in order to meet the most stringent international MRLs. Additional details about the ‘actives’ in agrochemical products will be sourced and captured in AWRI databases. Information will be made available to the Australian wine industry in hard copy, searchable online format, and via a smart phone app, and the content and delivery of those services will be enhanced.

A good working relationship will be maintained with chemical manufacturers and suppliers, and tools will be developed with these groups to facilitate the collection of information about agrochemical products.

Access to spray diary information from GrapeLink and GrapeWeb will enable the evaluation of product use and application practices, and will inform the prioritisation of discussions with industry and regulatory bodies. Those data, combined with data from the Entwine program, will be used to identify targeted training opportunities. The project will engage with regional associations and other stakeholders, to gain insights into the effectiveness of spray programs.

Latest information

Keeping up with a changing regulatory environment

The project team reviewed 188 Sanitary and Phytosanitary notifications from the World Trade Organization and 27 gazettes issued by the APVMA. These reviews highlighted changes to MRLs for markets including Japan, the European Union and Canada. The APVMA gazettes raised issues such as the registration of new active constituents including mefentrifluconazole, a fungicide that specifically targets powdery mildew in grapes.

Each year, post-harvest, the project team reviews the latest information on agrochemicals by liaising with regulators, chemical manufacturers, suppliers and end-users. Best practice recommendations are then incorporated into a new version of the publication Agrochemicals registered for use in Australian viticulture (commonly known as the ‘Dog book’). More than 8,500 copies of the 2019/2020 ‘Dog book’ were produced and distributed in June 2019. Updates were made to the online search portal and the smart phone agrochemical app, and an electronic version of the ‘Dog book’ was made available through the AWRI website.

Three new active constituents were registered for wine-grape production: acetamiprid, pyriproxyfen and mefentrifluconazole. Sensory analysis and residue data were reviewed to assess the suitability of these constituents for use in wine production and to establish withholding periods for wines destined for export.

To avert the risk of downy mildew causing crop loss, an application was made to the APVMA to allow grapegrowers access to products containing metalaxyl that were not registered for use with grapes. An emergency use permit was granted in December 2018. Eight agrochemical or pest and disease-related eBulletins were issued during the year including a notification about the emergency permit for metalaxyl-containing products and advice on a permit allowing the use of fipronil for wasp control.