With improved seasonal conditions and an upbeat spring forecast, grain growers will be carefully assessing the need for disease management during the coming months and taking steps to ensure they have adequate fungicide supplies on hand.
For some, this has meant purchasing extra fungicide to avoid the costly problem of running short, while others will take the opportunity to utilise chemical that has been stored during the past couple of years due to the drought.
Grains Research and Development Corporation chemical regulation manager Gordon Cumming said in both instances, storing chemicals appropriately and checking the expiry date on labels could maximise safety, storage stability and ultimately efficacy.
“As most growers are aware, it's important to adhere to the ChemCert requirements for the safe storage of chemicals,” Mr Cumming said.
“These include ensuring stored chemicals aren't exposed to extreme heat and UV, are kept out of direct sunlight and in a well ventilated area, are correctly segregated (such as into flammable and non-flammable), stored on robust shelving in an area that is lockable, and having the relevant personal protective equipment, first aid, fire extinguishers and material safety data sheets on-hand.
“At the same time, growers need to be mindful of a chemical's date of manufacture and if there is an expiry date for any specific products, which will be stated on the label.
“In some cases, chemicals may expire two years from the date of manufacture which could have implications for using previously stored products or holding product over for next year.”
Agricultural chemical products can undergo chemical and physical changes during storage, and how quickly this happens depends on the nature of the active constituent/s, the non-active components, formulation type, packaging and particularly the storage conditions such as temperature, light and humidity.
In many instances the product remains fit for use as long as these changes don't adversely affect application, biological performance, operator safety, consumers or the environment.
Under Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority legislation, most agricultural chemical products are not date-controlled (that is, there is only a date of manufacture on the label with no expiry date) and should remain within specification for at least two years when stored in its unopened, original container, away from direct sunlight at normal room temperatures.
However, the APVMA legislation also states that products containing certain active constituents are date-controlled and have approved shelf lives as per the expiry date on the label.
ChemCert requirements for the safe storage of chemicals can be found at: https://www.chemcert.com.au/chemical-storage-transport
More information on APVMA storage stability testing can be found at: https://apvma.gov.au/node/1042