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Chemical Updates


21.10.13 New antibiotic for kiwifruit disease approved

A new antibiotic to control the kiwifruit vine disease, Psa has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority.

The antibiotic Kasumin is used as a spray on crops and contains the antibiotic kasugamycin - which has previously not been used in New Zealand.

ETEC Crop Solutions Limited applied to the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) in May this year for permission to import Kasumin from Japan. The EPA's expert Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Committee approved the application, but imposed rules to protect people and the environment. Users will have to be trained and certified to use the products safely and it will have to be sprayed from land, not air. The rules also restrict how much of the product can be applied.

Responding to an invitation for public submissions on the import application, the National Beekeepers Association said beekeepers were concerned about the product's planned use. "This concern is because one of the principle crops proposed for the end use of this product is Kiwifruit which uses bees for pollination. Beekeepers in New Zealand export significant amounts of bee products and they are concerned about the chance of antibiotic residues in pollen, propolis, bees wax and honey all of which are exported," the submission stated. "Detection of kasugamycin residues in any of these bee products by importing countries could have significant economic effects on New Zealand beekeepers' future incomes if our bee products were banned from some markets."

While the applicant's risk assessment identified that there was no risk to humans or animals, no information was presented which would make a balanced risk assessment possible for the effects on bees, the association said.

Speaking on behalf of Zespri, Kiwifruit Vine Health and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, David Tanner said Psa was discovered in New Zealand in November 2010. "According to a Lincoln University study in 2012, this bacterial disease is expected to cost the kiwifruit industry several hundred million dollars over the next five to 15 years, as a result of vine and production losses. Currently, only a small number of effective control options are available to growers for the management of Psa and these largely are limited in terms of how much can be used and when they can be used, because of concerns over crop residues and phytotoxicity. Therefore additional effective options are urgently required to minimise the impact of this disease."

Kasumin was an effective tool which would significantly help in the management of Psa, Mr Tanner said. While there were risks associated with the use of Kasumin, they could be managed well, he said.

The use of the antibiotic would be limited to pre-flowering, therefore managing the risk of humans and animals from ingesting fruit. Also, as Kasumin would not be allowed to be used during flowering, the risk of bees coming into contact with the product was minimised, Mr Tanner said.

Source: nzherald.co.nz

Publication date: 10/21/2013

24.09.13 KeyStrepto  update

Zespri information on:·

  • Steps taken to minimise spray drift
  • Update on ACVM registration status
  • Use across the kiwifruit industry· Update on Kasumin
  • Information we provided to our growers on 26 August, when ACVM confirmed off-label approval for KeyStrepto this season
  • KVH-Zespri KeyStrepto User Guide for your information

Minimising spray drift

  • Steps taken to minimise the risk of spray drift from kiwifruit orchards on to neighbouring avocado orchards - see page 1 in the User Guide: "Low-drift technology must be used until the canopy develops. Apply in conjunction with a suitable spreader”. This includes air inclusion (AI) nozzles, as well as the use of drift-reducing spreaders such DriftStop.
  • Teams across Zespri are proactively upskilling growers, spray contractors and orchard managers on ways to minimise spray drift through seminars and online tools, such as the Spray Tech Box. Many of the spray contractors who work on kiwifruit orchards, also spray avocados

ACVM registration status

  • KeyStrepto has been approved for off-label use as a Psa protectant on fruiting and non-fruiting kiwifruit vines, for use until one week before the first kiwifruit flowers (male or female) open in the orchard or until 15 December 2013, whichever comes first. KVH on-orchard pre-spray audits are again compulsory. This is the same permitted use pattern as last year.
  • ACVM is processing a limited label claim for KeyStrepto as an aid in the control of Psa and this is expected in October.

Use across the kiwifruit industry

  • 987 KPINs reported use of KeyStrepto in 2013, approximately a quarter of orchards.
  • Zespri has had 60 applications so far this season to use KeyStrepto, mostly in the "early” districts. If this spring is wet, expecting an increase in use for the 2014 season.


  • Another antibiotic product Kasumin (active ingredient kasugamycin) may soon be registered for use by ACVM as well. A decision is expected in Spring 2013.
  • Kasumin is a bactericide used solely on plant-based bacteria and fungi and has no applications in human or veterinary health.
  • Greenhouse trials have shown it to be effective against Psa.
  • Following approval from ACVM, the decision to include Kasumin in the Zespri Crop Protection Standard (CPS) will give growers another antibacterial tool to manage Psa on their orchards.
  • Having two antibacterial products on the CPS allows growers to control for resistance in vines.

Grower communications 26 August 2013

The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) group within the Ministry for Primary Industries has approved KeyStrepto™ for off-label use as a Psa protectant on fruiting and non-fruiting kiwifruit vines. This off-label approval has been granted for KeyStrepto to be used until one week before the first kiwifruit flowers (male or female) open in the orchard or until 15 December 2013, whichever comes first.

The conditions of use for KeyStrepto™ for this period include:

  • A maximum of 2 applications can be made on fruiting vines provided that, in total, no more than 1.2kg of product/ha is applied.
  • A maximum of 3 applications can be made on non-fruiting vines provided that, in total, no more than 1.2kg of product/ha is applied.
  • The maximum amount of product per hectare permitted in one application is 720 g/ha. The cumulative maximum that can be applied over the use period is 1.2 kg/ha.
  • The application rate must be 60g of product per 100 litres of water.KeyStrepto™ is only permitted for use in the North Island.
  • Growers must apply to KVH to use KeyStrepto™ 48 hours before the intended application date. Growers must not apply KeyStrepto™ until they have had a KVH audit giving clearance to spray.Growers can apply for KeyStrepto™ approval online at www.kvh.org.nz/keystrepto_spray_form or by phoning 0800 665 825. Growers must include the KVH audit number in the comments section of their Spray Diary entry.

Growers must refer to the KeyStrepto™ User Guide www.kvh.org.nz/keystrepto for detailed rules of use, including sward management, notification, signage, record keeping etc.

ACVM is considering a limited label claim for producing and non-producing vines; the off-label approval is a timely stop-gap that allows early season use as budbreak occurs. Zespri will once again test 100 percent of supplying orchards for more than 300 residues – including antibiotics – in the 2014 season.

07.05.2013 Progress on EPA OP/Carbamate Reassessments

The Avocado industry has been involved in the reassessment of agrichemicals by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and its predecessor ERMA since 2010.

The process of reassessment began in 2010 when the EPA proposed to reassess the organophosphate and carbamate compounds (OPCs) individually. However, in September 2011, the EPA decided that it was more appropriate to widen the scope of the reassessment to include the whole group of OPCs as they have similar modes of action and are often substituted. EPA felt that by reassessing all of these compounds at once decisions could be made to retain the lowest risk compounds and consistent controls could be applied across the different compounds.

The Avocado Industry Council has been part of a joint project with other fruit and vegetable product groups and the Foundation for Arable Research to develop the information requested by the EPA and then to critically evaluate and respond via the public submission and hearing process. The product groups worked together to engage Wellington consultancy Market Access Solutionz to lead the process.

Information requested by the EPA during 2011 and 2012 included for each industry group (including avocado):

  • detail on how the chemicals are used,
  • background information on the size and value of the industry,
  • background information on general pest and disease control,
  • benefits of the use of the compounds,
  • availability of alternatives,
  • feedback on proposed control measures.

In early November 2012, the EPA released its proposal on the reassessment of all 29 organophosphate and carbamate active ingredients, or formulations containing these ingredients. The EPA's proposal made recommendations for the future use of these substances to be either revoked, phased out or retained with controls applied.

For most of the compounds that the avocado industry is supporting, the EPA staff recommended that approvals be retained with controls. The avocado industry worked closely with EPA through the project and this close involvement has meant that the assessment made by EPA takes into account critical uses and benefits of the use of the compounds in growing avocado. The horticulture industry submission made to the EPA in January 2013 agreed with some recommendations but requested a re-evaluation of two compounds,diazinon and pirimiphos methyl. Information on the benefits of these compounds was provided with particular emphasis on the benefits outweighing the risks for pirimiphos methyl. Originally recommended for an 18 month phase out, the industry submission argued that pirimiphos methyl was a low risk compound with significant benefit to industry.

EPA staff recommended that additional controls be applied to each compound under review. Growers should be able to comply with the majority of the proposed controls as they are similar to existing requirements for the Standard NZS8409 or Growsafe. The requirements will become mandatory for all users of the products. Some of the proposed controls include buffer zones, personal protection equipment requirements and re-entry intervals (maximum of 48 hours). An approved hander certificate was proposed for all compounds and for five compounds (when used outdoors) EPA proposed that neighbours must be notified in advance of an application. For some compounds (e.g. chlorpyrifos and diazinon), the EPA proposed to ban all aerial applications or restrict droplet size. The industry submission addressed each of these points and requested changes where necessary.

In February 2013, the EPA issued an Evaluation and Review Report which addressed the issues in the public consultation process and contained the final EPA recommendations on the future use of OPCs. As a result of the horticulture industry submission, a number of changes relevant to avocado were made including:

  • retention of the use of pirimiphos methyl with no phase out,
  • removal of the droplet size restriction on aerial use,
  • small changes to controls to make them more feasible.

No changes were made to the proposed 10 year phase out for Diazinon, a key compound for the avocado, and many other industries.

The final decision on the future use of OPCs will be made by a panel of independent people (i.e. not EPA staff) appointed by the EPA. This panel was formed in early 2013 and held public hearings in early March. The avocado industry was part of an intensive submission made to the panel during the public hearing process. Dr Henry Pak and John Cotterell represented the Avocado industry at the hearing.

The public hearing process was the last opportunity for industry to push its case. A final decision is expected to be made by the EPA panel in June/July 2013.

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