Concern about insecticide ban

28 Dec, 2016 02:00 AM
WA farmer Mic Fels is concerned about the banning of the insecticide omethoate.
WA farmer Mic Fels is concerned about the banning of the insecticide omethoate.

FARMERS have expressed concern about the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority's (APVMA) decision to ban the use of the insecticide omethoate.

The chemical is used in products such as Folimat and the broadacre insecticide Le-Mat.

Le-Mat is used for early season control on pests such as red-legged earth mite and lucerne flea in broadleaf crops.

Esperance farmer and senior vice president of the WAFarmers grains section Mic Fels said the ban would be bad for the cropping industry.

"I don't like to use insecticides on an annual, prophylactic basis, instead I prefer to only use them on a needs basis," he said.

"That is where Le-Mat is a useful product as it is a targeted insecticide rather than a prophylactic so it lessens the amount of insecticide I use year-in, year-out and allows me to build up the numbers of beneficial insect species, which fits in with my integrated pest management strategy.

"It is quite widely used here in WA, especially by guys with pastures and there are not a lot of other options out there.

"I hope that by banning one product the APVMA does not create a situation where more insecticide overall goes out as farmers look to preventative sprays to contain the problem."

The APVMA will allow the continuation of the use of the product on flower and ornamental crops and also as a barrier spray, but has banned its use in broadacre cropping applications after it completed its review process of omethoate.

The chemical was banned because of APVMA concerns about toxicology, health and safety of users of the chemical and its residues.

Dimethoate, a similar chemical, will remain available to growers, as it has a shorter residual period.

Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said farmers had been kept in the loop during the review process and that industry would have to work around it.

Victorian Farmers Federation grains group president Brett Hosking said he had received some calls on the matter.

"It will not be available, but we are looking to see what else can be used in its place,'' Mr Hoskings said.

"It highlights the importance for continued research into finding new formulations and new modes of action that are safe to use."

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media


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