Australia's main canola export market, European Union, is implementing new, tighter import controls on the use of herbicides containing haloxyfop as the active ingredient and, industry have urged growers to help avoid unacceptable chemical residues.
National Working Party on Grain Protection chair Gerard McMullen said residue testing by the National Residue Survey has detected haloxyfop residues above the Australian maximum residue limit in canola traded domestically, which is of concern.
Mr McMullen said for herbicides containing haloxyfop as the active ingredient, label directions stipulate they must not be applied to canola and other specified oilseed crops after the eight-leaf growth stage; or the stem elongation growth stage has commenced, under or between windrows.
Mr McMullen said the EU has indicated plans to lower its current haloxyfop MRL for canola to 0.05 milligrams per kilogram.
Although still to be finalised, this revision reducing the haloxyfop MRL for canola sold into EU markets is expected to occur before the 2019/20 harvest.
The haloxyfop MRL for Australian canola exports to Japan, another major market, remains at 0.1mg/kg.
"Australian graingrowers have a very good history of compliance with product label directions and, as an industry, we need to ensure that haloxyfop continues to be used in accordance with label directions," Mr McMullen said.
"Growers are also encouraged to consider other herbicides containing products with different active ingredients for in-crop control of grass weeds in canola," he said.
Tackling the trade risks that haloxyfop residues pose to domestic and export canola markets, the Australian grains industry has established a Haloxyfop Working Group.
Mr McMullen said the new group had developed a series of steps, supporting previous industry measures, with the aim of further reducing haloxyfop residues in canola.
GRDC crop protection officer - West Georgia Megirian reiterated the importance of adhering to label directions when applying herbicides containing haloxyfop.
"Applying haloxyfop to canola after stem elongation will result in chemical residues that exceed maximum residue limits," Ms Megiria said.
"This, in turn, can lead to the rejection of canola shipments in export markets and create ongoing market access issues.
"Following label directions is not only a regulatory requirement, it is also important in preserving haloxyfop herbicide chemistry as a cost-effective grass control option for canola growers across the country."