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

Monitoring a dynamic regulatory environment
The project team reviewed 187 Sanitary and Phytosanitary notifications from the World Trade Organization and 31 gazettes issued by the APVMA. These reviews highlighted changes to MRLs for ten key markets including Canada, China, the European Union and Japan. During the year there were 56 notifications relevant to wine-grape production, the majority of which were inconsequential because the new MRL did not require a change to the practices already recommended by the AWRI.

In April 2020 an announcement from the European Union forecasting a change to the tolerance for mancozeb residues did require a change in recommendations on the use of Group M3 fungicides, with a limit of three sprays per season imposed on this group for the 2020/2021 season. Project staff liaised with Australian Grape & Wine and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to prepare a response to the announcement, seeking further information about the timeframe for the potential change to the MRL for mancozeb and when details about the residue definition for enforcement would be available. To inform the recommendations on the use of Group M3 fungicides, Agrochemical Reference Group members provided information on typical use patterns for these fungicides and 80 wine samples were submitted for dithiocarbamate residue analysis. This information will help to understand residue issues associated with the use of this class of agrochemicals.

The APVMA gazettes revealed label changes to two active constituents: the insecticide chlorpyrifos and snail control methiocarb. An ant bait with active constituent broflanilide was registered (but not for ‘in-field’ use) and a review of neonicotinoid insecticides was announced.

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 2020/2021 ‘Dog book’ were produced in June for distribution in July. 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.

New formulations of two existing active constituents (glyphosate and potassium bicarbonate) were registered for wine-grape production. Because the ‘parent’ compounds were already registered, sensory analysis and residue data were not required to assess the suitability of these constituents for use in wine production. Five agrochemical or pest and disease-related eBulletins were issued during the year and included announcement of the registration of a new insecticide containing acetamiprid and pyriproxyfen, and changes to the withholding period for difenoconazole.