Be vigilant to avoid fines

Farmers should follow best practice in chemical use when combating mice numbers on their land.

Farmers should follow best practice in chemical use when combating mice numbers on their land.

Farmers are being advised to follow best practice chemical use when combating mice numbers, which have now reached plague proportions in some areas of SA.

Under the Agricultural and Veterinary Products (Control of Use) Act 2002 it is an offence to not follow thespecific mandatory instructions when an approved chemical label includes instructions that contain the words must, must not, do not, not to be used or use only.

The legislation requires that:

- rates specified on the label must not be exceeded

- unregistered products or "home brews" must not be used to control mice

PIRSA rural chemical operations manager Michael McManus said it was critical farmers followed best practice for chemical use, especially when under pressure to enable sowing and protect emerging crops.

“It is imperative that farmers take note of the mandatory label instructions otherwise it can result in serious off-target impacts to other species if the bait is not applied correctly,” he said.

“I encourage all farmers to follow all the mandatory directions and instructions on chemical labels and further ensure their neighbours and peers are also following the rules, so that everyone is accountable for their rural chemical use.”

All chemicals must also include labels that describe the way in which a chemical must be used, along with instructions on the rates at which a bait can be distributed per hectare (for example, 1kg/ha) or instructions such as "DO NOT apply bait in a trail".

Recent reports to PIRSA Rural Chemical Operations have raised concerns about compliance with mandatory instruction requirements on mice bait product labels.

If someone is reported to be using a chemical in a manner contrary to mandatory label directions, they could be subjected to regulatory audits and investigations.

If the audit or investigation confirms a breach of the regulatory requirements, the person could be prosecuted and if found guilty, could face fines of up to $35,000 for each offence.

To report any misuse or non-compliance of baits and chemicals contact 1300 799 684 or PIRSA.Ruralchemicals@sa.gov.au

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