Chlorpyrifos Q&A

Chlorpyrifos Fact sheet

Products containing chlorpyrifos are currently under review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Timelines indicate the outcome of this review is due late 2023/early 2024. Pending the review outcome, it is possible registrations and permits for products containing chlorpyrifos may be immediately suspended or phased out.

Already, Adama who manufactures Strike-Out®WP (active ingredient chlorpyrifos) have announced they are halting production of the product. The reasons given for this are the uncertain future of chlorpyrifos in the light of the review and some manufacturing upgrades required to produce the product.

What is industry doing about this?
  • The ABGC has highlighted the impact the cancellation of chlorpyrifos would have on the banana industry to Hort Innovation who have secured funding for the inclusion of a new active constituent in trials. These trials will gather data for potential registration in bananas for bunch pests. These trials won’t be completed before 2026. 
  • ABGC will coordinate a submission to APVMA on the impact the loss of chlorpyrifos would have on the banana industry if it is withdrawn from use.
  • New methods of bunch pest control, including softer options and biologicals, are being researched in the 5-year Banana Integrated Pest and Disease Management Program being delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and funded through the Hort Innovation banana fund (R&D levy).
  • As part of the National Banana Development & Extension Project, bunch pest management was raised as a priority issue for growers. As a result, a series of field trials have been undertaken to better understand how to effectively manage bunch pests with the current chemistries registered for control of bunch pests. 
  • Relevant information is being delivered to growers through the National Banana Development and Extension Project and Banana Industry Communication Program.
Can I still dust bunches?

Supplies of Strike-Out®WP are limited. If you have any of the product, the minor use permit (PER14240) to apply chlorpyrifos products (containing 500g/kg chlorpyrifos) in a dust mixed with talc is valid until 31 July 2024, pending the outcome of the chlorpyrifos review. Please note that the talc itself is not under review.

What chemicals can I apply to the bunch to manage the main bunch insect pests?

The table below lists registered (or permitted) chemical actives for bunch application. Chlorpyrifos is still registered for use in bananas (pending the outcome of the APVMA review). While the supply of Strike-Out®WP is limited, there are other formulations that contain chlorpyrifos registered for bananas. However, ensure you check the label for use directions and considerations and keep in mind that emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulations may cause fruit burn. The table groups the actives by chemical mode of action. To reduce risk of pests developing chemical resistance, it’s important to rotate chemical groups. The information in the table is only a guide and current as of November 2023. Always check the registration status of chemicals and use them in accordance with label directions. Up-to-date information can be found on the APVMA website: www.apvma.gov.au

Points to consider about the chemicals listed:

  • The rate for bell injecting spinetoram, listed in the minor use permit (PER87198), is different to the label rate for bunch spraying with spinetoram. Ensure the correct rate is used to achieve control and reduce risk of resistance developing.
  • Only suspension concentrate (SC) formulations of products containing bifenthrin are registered for bell injection.
  • Consider resistance management. Rotate chemical groups and avoid bell injecting and bunch spraying with products in the same chemical group. • Consider pesticide resistance when selecting chemicals to use for bunch, stem injection, stool, stem and band application.
  • Check storage requirements of chemicals and only mix volumes required for immediate use.
  • Product registrations vary between states. Always check your product label before use.
I currently dust bunches, what do I need to know if I would like to try bunch spraying?
  • Good bunch spray coverage is important to get effective control of bunch pests.
  • Consider if other elements of bunch pest management may need to be changed to achieve maximum control of bunch pests including fungal organisms – for example, practices to increase air flow in bunch covers.
  • Staff training is important for the calibration and application of pesticides. Additional training will be required for farms transitioning from bunch dusting to spraying.
What integrated pest management R&D is occurring?

Bunch pest management research is being undertaken as part of the Banana Integrated Pest and Disease Management project.

This medium-long term research is focused on investigating ‘softer’ biological approaches for managing bunch pests including the use of biologicals and entomopathogens. Laboratory, pot and field trials are underway, investigating aspects of these potential alternative management strategies.

Contact Kathy Grice for more information about this project: Kathy.grice@daf.qld.gov.au

What research has there been on managing bunch pests with the current registered chemicals?

Applied research on aspects of bunch pest management using current registered products and rates has recently been undertaken as part of the National Banana Development & Extension Program. The team has undertaken trials to improve knowledge about practices for effective bunch pest management including: 

  • Timing of bunch cover application and its effect on bunch pests
  • Volume, timing and rate trials for bunch protection 
  • Bunch spray technologies

Contact the National Banana Development & Extension team for more information: tegan.cavallaro@daf.qld.gov.au or (07) 4220 4152.

Are there any new chemicals in the pipeline?

As mentioned above, trial work is underway to generate efficacy and residue data for a new active constituent for the control of bunch pests. The commencement of these trials was delayed due to low pest pressure and they will not be completed before 2026.

Workplace health and safety considerations

You must comply with WH&S directions on labels and permits when applying chemicals, including wearing personal protective equipment. Incorrect use of agvet chemicals can lead to health issues and harm livestock, pets, crops and the environment. The incorrect use of agvet chemicals is monitored and enforced by the police, Safe Work Australia and state government authorities.

Furthermore, some of the approved safety and use directions on the label are legally binding – incorrect use can lead to fines, litigation and in some circumstances criminal prosecution. Before use of any chemical:

  • Confirm the registration status by checking the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website portal.apvma.gov.au
  • Check product label and permit rates.

For more information about the Chlorpyrifos chemical review visit – https://apvma.gov.au/node/12451

What other chemical actives are available to manage rust thrip populations?

Chemical control can be directed at both soildwelling pupal stage as well as adults and larvae on the fruit and plant. The table below lists registered (or permitted) chemical actives for stem injection, stool treatment, stem spray and band application. To avoid a build-up of resistance, it is important to rotate between chemical groups.

For more information visit –https://www.croplife.org.au/resources/programs/resistance-management/ banana-banana-weevil-borer-and-rust-thrips/

The information in the table below is only a guide and current as of November 2023. Always check the registration status of chemicals and use them in accordance with label directions. Up-to-date information can be found on the APVMA website: www.apvma.gov.au