WA grains prove residue-compliant

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian

The Australian grains supply chain is 99.9 per cent compliant with Australian maximum residue limits applying to insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, according to the latest results from the National Residue Survey.

Speaking to the Grains Industry Association of WA Oats forum in Narrogin recently, NRS director Ian Reichstein said the high degree of compliance clearly demonstrated Australian farmers employed good agricultural practices.

But Mr Reichstein warned compliance with Australian MRLs did not necessarily equate to compliance with comparable overseas standards.

He said while free trade agreements were beginning to open trade access, exporters needed to remain vigilant in regard to differing overseas MRLs, which in some cases had zero tolerance residue limits.

"Do not assume that maximum residue levels in export markets are the same as Australian standards," he said.

"In some cases the levels are effectively zero.

"We know Korea has plans over the next three years to delete 70 per cent of its MRLs and we are currently putting in a lot of effort with the grains industry to work through the issues associated with this. Obviously this could have a major impact on market access."

He said any changes to maximum residue levels required notification in accordance World Trade Organisation requirements.

"So we are monitoring these notifications routinely," he said

"A lot of work goes into negotiating MRLs and we obviously want to keep standards in other countries similar to Australian standards," he said.

Mr Reichstein said the NRS, which was funded by growers to the tune of 0.015 per cent of total farm gate value as part of their grains industry levy, tested 6000 grains samples across the country each year, of which more than 2000 came from West Australian growers.

He said the samples covered all tradeable grain.

"In this state growers have a very good residue compliance level. We are only finding single events, but even one event can impact on an entire market," he said.

He said truck drivers were required to adequately clean out trucks when back loading with grain.

"Where fertiliser with flutriafol is going up-country, and then being back-loaded with grain, truck drivers have a responsibility to clean out their trucks before loading grain on-farm," he said.

Mr Reichstein said following the recent detection of Haloxyfop residues in canola, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority had reviewed the herbicide produce label.

"The original label instructions for this chemical were not clear, and so the label has been revised coming into force in October this year," he said.

"The use of haloxyfop on swathed canola continues to be forbidden.

"Residues will be found on these deliveries and poor performance by just one farmer could impact a whole market."

Mr Reichstein said it was illegal to use phosphine tablets in trucks and shipping containers, but according to survey data this was no longer an issue of significance in the industry.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails