CBH has announced that it will not be offering separate segregations for IMI-treated barley for the coming harvest.
In an email sent to growers on Monday, CBH has asked growers to provide a harvest declaration for the current growing season on their Carters Delivery Form (CDF) for IMI application on Clearfield varieties, Spartacus and Scope.
In that email, CBH said, "As yet, nothing has come to the attention of CBH, including clear trends regarding IMI detections, to support the introduction of a segregation this harvest".
CBH said it would continue to work with overseas customers to meet their requirements and monitor market acceptance of IMI-treated barley.
It also said that it would continue to work with industry and gather more information regarding IMI-treated barley, and "we will provide growers with an update on the situation by no later than March 31, 2020".
In the email CBH said that in the past five months it had:
- Invested in and installed new chemical residue testing technology for grain that will improve its in-house residue testing capability.
- Continued working with industry to better understand IMI chemicals and how they behave after crop application.
- Through Paddock Planner estimates, captured grower intentions to apply IMI to IMI-tolerant barley varieties this year.
- Confirmed its request for growers to declare barley that has had an IMI application on their CDF on delivery this harvest.
CBH said while not being segregated, declaring IMI application would provide it with up-to-date information on grower use and help it understand the impact on the supply chain in the future.
"Based on the information we will gather during and after this harvest, including values for IMI varieties, CBH will again assess the merits of introducing an IMI-treated barley segregation for the 2020-21 harvest," the email said.
"CBH will work closely with industry and would only introduce the segregation to maintain market access to key markets."
WAFarmers Grain Council president Duncan Young welcomed the news saying it was a good move by CBH.
"I think it is nice that we haven't had a knee-jerk reaction and CBH has actually considered that they will be able to manage it within the system so that it won't create a problem," Mr Young said.
"It is very manageable, and there isn't actually a lot of Scope and Spartacus that goes up into the Japanese and South Korean markets which we are talking about, it is mostly Bass and Baudin.
"It is not really a big issue, I think CBH has done the right thing, they have looked at it and it is totally manageable within the system and I assume they will assess it after harvest.
"It may not be a problem after this harvest and I think they realise that too."
Esperance barley grower Lyndon Mickel said while in some ways it was good that there wouldn't be more segregations, growers were also putting full faith in CBH that its testing regime was up to scratch and that the stacks would be managed sufficiently so there wouldn't be residue issues.
"There will be questions asked about the testing being inhouse, but I would say CBH has done its due diligence on that and chosen the best system they can get," Mr Mickel said.
"Hopefully that means it will speed up the testing results and the return of those tests."
Mr Mickel said not having the segregations in place would make delivery easier on growers.
"But it also puts it back on growers that have used the Paddock Planner system and declared where they are going to use their IMI," he said.
"Obviously CBH has had feedback out of that and I hope everyone is open and honest with it so the system is not compromised in the future.
"If anyone thinks our customers don't have testing facilities they would be kidding themselves, in fact they probably have better facilities than what we do in Australia and they are detecting more and more stuff all the time.
"We just have to make sure we play by the rules and stick to the labels and don't jeopardise markets.
"The residue issue is on the table and we have two markets that have had issues with MRLs.
"Hopefully we get those markets on to the Codex (international food standards setting body) level and that should alleviate the problem.
"As growers we can be a bit complacent with our grains, it is a food product and we need to be mindful of what we treat it with."