Chemical firms, farmers in HVE limbo

Kate PollardThe West Australian

Chemical suppliers of 2,4-D herbicides containing High Volatile Ester (HVE) are weighing up their options after changes to registrations and label approvals.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority suspended registration of 11 HVE products and two active constituents.

The Authority is continuing to allow the use of two HVE products — Nufarm’s Estercide 800 and Crop Care’s Ester 800 in WA only. These products have been registered for WA use.

The changes affects 4Farmers' 2,4-D HV Ester 800, Imtrade Australia's Chemag Ester 800, Genfarm Crop Protection's 2,4-D Ester 800 and Dow Agrosciences Australia.

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4Farmers managing director Neil Mortimore said the majority of farmers in WA recognised it was one of the best phenoxy chemicals and summer sprays available.

He believes reasons for the cancellation by APVMA were a smokescreen for a lack of field evidence.

"All creditable field data has shown Ester 800 moves little more than any other chemical. None of these studies has been rebutted or refuted," Mr Mortimore said.

Since 2006, there have been tight restrictions in place which were found to be "unacceptable" in the latest assessment by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities.

It found there could be an unintended effect harmful to animals, places or the environment and a review into human health and occupational risks was still underway.

Mr Mortimore said 4Farmers would review the alternatives including appealing the decision or investing in re-registering the product.

"We know other similar products are registered so have no doubt the product could do it," he said.

The decision means farmers are still able to use low-volatile products like 4Farmers LV Ester 680.

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