Policy & Issues
Pest and Disease Control
Australian Grape & Wine supports a sustainable approach to pest and disease control that carefully considers the impact on the environment. While Australian grape growers are rightfully proud of the low level of inputs in winegrape production, access to a wide range of pest and disease control technologies provides a broader set of solutions to produce healthy fruit sustainably.
As new pests and diseases emerge, and as some pests and diseases develop resistance to existing control technologies, it becomes increasingly important that our industry ensures access to novel, safe and effective solutions. Moreover, it is critical that there are control measures readily available in case of an emergency plant pest incursion.
Maximum residue Limits (MRLs) exist to ensure that agrichemicals found on a commodity are at a level that protects public health and safety and avoids chemical toxicity to fish or aquatic macro-invertebrates and/or terrestrial plants and animals. Safe levels are assessed through a scientific risk assessment and are set as low as reasonably achievable to provide effective control of pests and diseases. MRLs are not likely to be exceeded if agrichemicals are used in accordance with their approved label instructions. MRLs also set precedents for international trade in food and must be monitored carefully to ensure compliance with differing countries’ MRL standards.
Collectively, we all have an important role to play in encouraging:
- A sustainable approach to pest, disease and weed management that considers biodiversity preservation, non-chemical alternatives, and avoidance of environmental harm;
- A careful and safe approach to the use of any pest and disease control substances including adherence to label guidelines and legal responsibilities, adherence to required withholding periods and avoidance of spray drift;
- Adoption of best practice in terms of application rates, avoidance of over-use and timing of any spray applications; and
- That all producers report and benchmark their use of all pest, disease and weed control products through Sustainable Winegrowing Australia membership and certification.
We advocate for:
- Research and innovation that improves pest and disease resistance in grapevines and/or supports sustainable pest and disease management; and
- That the Australian government continues to take a risk-based approach to regulation and sets MRLs at levels deemed safe to public health and the environment.