Pesticides Board Makes Moves to Reduce Spray Drift

P O Box 40063, Upper Hutt
Phone (04) 528 0126
Fax (04) 528 1378

10 October 1996

The Pesticides Board has today announced four initiatives aimed at minimising spray drift incidents arising from the misapplication of pesticides.

The Board focussed primarily on the need for more monitoring, education and training in the application of agrichemicals, but it also considered that the volatility of a particular formulation of 2,4-D, namely 2,4-D isobutyl ester, was a significant contributory factor to the occurrence of spray drift incidents with this herbicide. It therefore asked the manufacturers and marketers of 2,4-D herbicide to withdraw isobutyl ester and replace it with a less volatile ester formulation, namely the 2-ethylhexyl ester.

This request has been agreed to, and will come into effect by 1 October 1997. Other less volatile 2,4-D formulations are unaffected.

“The Board is pleased that we have been able to achieve this outcome through consensus and co-operation with the industry, rather than through deregistration,” said the Chair of the Pesticides Board, Helen Rowe.

Mrs Rowe acknowledged that the replacement formulation may cost more. However, she said that this may be partly be offset by the fact that, because the replacement formulation was less volatile than isobutyl ester and therefore more likely to reach its target, lower rates of application may be used.

Secondly, the Board has decided to initiate the establishment of a Spray Drift Steering Committee, in conjunction with the Ministry for the Environment, to provide on-going policy surveillance at a national level, with representation from all interested parties. This Committee would include representation from a wide range of stakeholders.

The Board has also decided to explore the setting up a Science Panel, in conjunction with the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Research, Science and Technology, to support the above Committee. The Science Panel would collect, access and assess technical information from within New Zealand and overseas, and report to the Committee.

Thirdly, the Board endorsed the GROWSAFE programme of training and certification for people applying pesticides as crucial to the achievement and maintenance of high standards. GROWSAFE is a training programme established by horticulture and associated industry groups and linked to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority framework.

The Board recommended that all people who market or use pesticides in their business operations should follow the Agrichemical Users’ Code of Practice (NZS 8409: 1995) and obtain GROWSAFE certification by attending courses. It was further recommended that many should follow this up by obtaining GROWSAFE accreditation, through auditing of their procedures, when the accreditation scheme becomes available next year.

Fourthly, the Board recognised Regional Councils as being the “lead agencies” responsible for monitoring the use of agrichemicals and for establishing preventive measures to mitigate the effects of off-target spray drift. The Pesticides Board will support Regional Councils by providing technical information.

Media inquiries to:

Helen Rowe, Chair, Pesticides Board (06) 327 6638 (H)
Dr Graham Butler, Chair, Pesticides Board 2,4-D Working Party (04) 528 0126 (W)



Last Updated: 07 September 2010

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