In Australia, before an agrochemical product can be sold or used, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) must first register it. In order for a manufacturer to register a product they are required to submit a comprehensive data package to the APVMA. The costs for generating and collating such data are high and unfortunately many horticultural crops are too small individually for agrochemical manufacturers to bear the high cost of registering products for use. As a result, horticulturalists are often placed in situations where they risk severe crop losses from insects, weeds and diseases. On the other hand, they risk buyers rejecting their produce and other penalties if they are detected using products that are not registered.

The APVMA’s National Permit System adds some flexibility to the lengthy registration process and legalises the availability of products for minor-use purposes, not specified on the product label. However, off-label permits issued by the APVMA still must be applied for along with information/data that verifies that the permitted use will be effective and will not have any harmful effects on humans, the crops or the environment.

In order for the permits to be renewed, Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd (Hort Innovation), after consultation with the vegetable industry, requested the generation of residue and crop safety data to support the minor-use permit applications to the APVMA. The key outcome from this project is the gaining of approval and renewal from the APVMA for use of the listed pesticide uses under the APVMA minor-use permits and eventual registration of the uses. The approval by the APVMA of the minor-use permit applications, that have been submitted as part of this project, will aide vegetable growers by granting or renewing access to previously unavailable pesticide options for the control of various pests and diseases they encounter throughout the season.

In this project a total of seven field residue trials as part of three studies were conducted to determine the residue levels and crop safety following the application of various pesticides to support minor-use permit applications in eggplant and sweet potato, baby spinach and chicory as well as water chestnut.