Sugar industry cautious about restrictions on Diuron use

WEED CONTROL: Conditions of use of Diuron on cane crops has been restricted but not banned.
WEED CONTROL: Conditions of use of Diuron on cane crops has been restricted but not banned. Lee Constable

THIS week's announcement by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority of new restrictions on the use of the herbicide Diuron has been met with caution by the NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative.

Agricultural services manager Rick Beattie said the new guidelines still allow the use of a low rate of Diuron all year around to kill weeds.

"It's good that they haven't banned it all together," he said.

We have made a considerable effort to develop workable instructions for the continued use of Diuron.

"But a negative is that farmers use Diuron as a residual weed control and between November 1 to April 30 (the guidelines) will put restrictions on farmers."

Mr Beattie said farmers will need to find alternatives to controlling weeds which can lead to more expense.

"Weeds can have a big effect on cane yield," he said. "Diuron has been around for a while and is safe when used correctly."

APVMA spokesperson Susan Whitbread said the changes to the conditions of use of Diuron will bring certainty to users of the products it is sprayed on.

"The restrictions we've put in place are very specific for indi- vidual crops and in the case of sugar cane and pineapple, additional seasonal 'no spray' windows apply," she said.

"We have made a considerable effort to develop workable instructions for the continued use of Diuron, while ensuring we can effectively manage risks from the use of this environmentally mobile and persistent chemical."

Ms Whitbread confirmed that some uses, including industrial applications and use in non-agricultural situations and tropical crops such as tea, coffee and papaw will no longer be approved.

"To provide feedback to the new rules, phone 02 6210 4701, email chemicalreview@apvma.gov.au or Twitter @apvma.

For sugarcane:

  • g ac/ha = grams of active constituent/hectare. Apart from the following, rates up to 450g ac/ha at any time.

Diuron only product:

  • Do not apply between November 1 and April 30.
  • Pre-emergent use (1.8kg ac/ha).
  • Post-emergent use (1.8 kg ac/ha band spray max 60% of crop).

Diuron/hexazinone product:

  • Pre-emergent use (1.8 kg ac/ha). Do not apply between November 1 and April 30.
  • Post-emergent use (1.8kg ac/ha band spray max 60% of crop). Do not apply between November 1 and March 31.

Topics:  diuron, farm chemicals, nsw sugar milling cooperative, sugar industry



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