Collecting and disseminating information regarding agrochemicals registered for use and maximum residue limits in Australian viticulture
Governments around the world set limits for the amount of residue of agrochemicals that is legally allowed in foods, including grapes and wine. Up-to-date information on agrochemical management is needed to ensure that finished wines meet these limits and do not encounter trade barriers. The aim of this project is to enable grape and wine producers to manage agrochemical residue levels in their products by collating and providing accurate and timely information on regulatory and technical aspects of chemicals registered for use in Australian viticulture, and the maximum residue limit (MRL) requirements of those chemicals in domestic and key export markets.
The project team identifies potential pest, disease and agrochemical issues through a number of established information-gathering and support mechanisms and through liaison with key industry and government stakeholder networks. Up-to-date reference tools are maintained, including the AWRI MRL and agrochemical databases. A number of dissemination channels are employed to update stakeholders of changes. Chemical manufacturers and distributors are also consulted to keep abreast of changes in the range and supply of agrochemical products. The outcomes are made available in the publication Agrochemicals registered for use in Australian viticulture (known as the ‘Dog book’), an online search portal and a smart phone agrochemical app.
Providing up-to-date agrochemical information
The project team reviewed 199 Sanitary and Phytosanitary notifications from the World Trade Organization and 32 gazettes issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). The outcomes of these reviews included changes to MRLs for markets including Canada, the European Union and Taiwan. The APVMA gazettes highlighted issues such as the registration of new active constituents including amilsubrom, fenpyrazamine and flumioxazin.
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 ‘Dog book’. In total, 10,000 copies of the 2016/2017 ‘Dog book’ were produced and distributed by direct mail to all levy payers, via regional association networks, AWRI roadshow events, chemical retailers and an insert in the Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker. Further updates were also made to the online search portal, the smart phone agrochemical app and the electronic version of the publication. The ‘Dog book’ was expanded to include information on active constituents and new products. For the first time, information about re-entry periods for the active constituents listed in the booklet was also included. The ‘Dog book’ now lists the minimum amount of time that must pass before an area that has been sprayed can be re-entered without protective clothing or equipment. Four eBulletins were issued to provide timely information on agrochemical issues. For example, on 13 August 2015 it was recommended that the active constituent captan not be used for grapes destined for export wine, to reflect a notification that the EU was intending to change its regulations.