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Chemical Industry News
No. 87 – Winter 2021
In this edition:
  • Reporting problems with chemicals
  • Alert on the illegal use of fenamiphos
  • Glyphosate sprayer prosecuted
  • Chemical damage to native vegetation is not acceptable
  • Illegal possession of 1080 prosecuted
  • Environmental odours
  • Contacts
Reporting problems with chemicals
A crop affected with chemicals.

If you experience a problem with a registered agricultural or veterinary chemical product you can report it to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) via the “Adverse Experience Reporting Program” (AERP).

It is vital that problems are reported so that the APVMA is made aware of issues and can take appropriate action in accordance with legislation.

Examples of what can be reported include crop/plant damage, lack of effectiveness, off-target damage and labelling issues. For further information or to make a report visit the APVMA website.

Alert on the illegal use of fenamiphos

Agriculture Victoria is advising all chemical users not to use products containing fenamiphos.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has finalised its review into fenamiphos use in Australia.

The chemical is no longer registered for use in Victoria unless the user holds a specific permit from the APVMA allowing the use together with an Agricultural Chemical User Permit issued by Agriculture Victoria. 

The review was initiated due to concerns relating to public health, occupational health and safety of chemical users, the environment and residues in treated food.

Anyone that still has fenamiphos in their chemical store is encouraged to arrange disposal by an appropriate body such as the industry funded chemical disposal program ChemClear.

Agriculture Victoria will be actively monitoring sales of fenamiphos and may take action against any persons continuing to use the chemical.

Glyphosate sprayer prosecuted
Tomato plants in poor condition, laying on the ground.

A Lancaster farmer was recently placed on a 12 month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay costs of $9300 for spraying glyphosate that damaged his neighbour’s tomato crop.

In January 2019 Agriculture Victoria commenced an investigation into allegations of spray drift damage to a tomato crop.

Samples taken from the crop confirmed the presence of glyphosate, which also matched with symptoms observed in the crop by Agriculture Victoria’s Chemical Standards Officers.

The landholder usually used a licenced contractor to spray his paddocks, however as the contractor was unavailable he undertook the spraying himself. 

Steven Field, Statewide Specialist Chemicals with Agriculture Victoria, noted inexperienced operators could sometimes get into difficulty.

“Spraying herbicides carries significant risks that need to be managed. 

"Agriculture Victoria encourages anyone that uses any agricultural or veterinary chemicals to successfully complete a course in agricultural chemical use to ensure they are trained and capable of identifying and managing these risks.

"Calm conditions can often indicate the presence of a temperature inversion or it can simply allow the fine droplets that can be produced during spraying to easily drift from the target area.

"This is the very reason why it is generally accepted that spraying should not occur when the wind speed is below 3-5kms/hr.”

For more information on managing spray drift please go to the Agriculture Victoria website

Chemical damage to native vegetation not acceptable

Landholders must contact their local council during the planning and design stage of any works or actions which are likely to impact upon native vegetation to obtain an appropriate permit.

Permits are required for spraying native vegetation with chemicals or removing, destroying or lopping native vegetation.

Guidelines and legislation are in place to protect native vegetation, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. 

Fines have been recently issued following a joint investigation into the removal and spraying of roadside native vegetation in the Greater Shepparton region.

It is illegal to remove or destroy native vegetation on any Victorian roadside, including the use of chemicals for suppression of weeds or for fire risk fuel reduction.

As part of the investigation, Agriculture Victoria collected plant samples which were analysed and confirmed chemical use.

The fine recipient has agreed to revegetate the impacted roadside.

Native vegetation provides habitat for our plants and animals and delivers a range of services to the environment and people’s well-being.

The incorrect or improper use of chemical sprays on native vegetation can cause significant damage and loss.

To report suspected damage, contact your local council.

Illegal possession of 1080 prosecuted
Close up picture of a dangerous poison label.  The label says Dangerous Poison, keep out of reach of children, read safety directions before opening or using.

A Merbein landholder was fined $4000 for illegally storing and being in possession of 1080 pest animal baits.

Following a report from a member of the public, a warrant was executed on a property at Merbein.

Numerous 1080 baits were found being illegally stored on an open shelf in an unlocked shed.

Steven Field, Agriculture Victoria’s Statewide Specialist Chemicals, said the result highlighted the importance of the proper use of agricultural chemicals and the need to follow the rules and regulations.

It is a legal requirement for 1080 baits to be stored in a secure and safe manner to prevent access by unauthorised people.

The landholder did not hold a 1080 endorsed Agricultural Chemical Users Permit (ACUP) and so could not legally be in possession of the baits.

Only people who are appropriately trained and hold valid authorisation can legally purchase, possess or use 1080 products. This is to ensure the products are handled safely and used responsibly.

“The substantial fine imposed by the Court sends a strong message to both the general public and 1080 users,” Mr Field said.

"Only people who hold a 1080 ACUP can use the products and they must be stored in a safe and secure manner,” he said.

“While the majority of 1080 users do the right thing, it is important to follow up  on those that don’t.

“The actions of these people run the risk of being perceived as standard practice by the general public which paints the industry in a poor light.”

Agriculture Victoria encourages the public to report any concerns regarding the misuse of any agricultural or veterinary chemical to the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by visiting the Agriculture Victoria website and completing the contact form.

Environmental odours
A wheel showing the range of environmental odours.  It includes animal origin, rotting/putrid, burnt/smoky, chemical/solvent, vegetable origin, hydrocarbon/fuel and cooking.

Products containing agricultural chemical may have an odour when:

  • The product contains one or more odorous ingredients. Ingredients can include the active chemical, solvents, a warning agent, or substances to improve the performance of the product. Any of these could have an odour.
  • Multiple chemical applications may have occurred in the same area.
  • The weather conditions are conducive to odour movement, such as when it is hot or humid, there are low winds or there is an inversion layer (a layer of warm air that traps still air close to the ground).

The presence of an odour does not necessarily mean that chemicals are in the air or that an agricultural chemical product was used in an illegal manner.

Other sources of odour in the environment may include:

  • landfills
  • processing plants
  • waste treatment
  • agricultural production
  • food manufacturing
  • agricultural chemicals.

The Environmental Protection Authority has developed an online tool to describe what an odour smells like. 

You can report odour from industrial sources and large-scale facilities to EPA.

Report all other persistent odours that may be causing you concerns to your local council.

This includes odour from fertilisers or agricultural chemical products.

Contact Agriculture Victoria Chemical Operations

Visit for information about:

  • rules and regulations on the use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals in Victoria
  • licence and permit application forms
  • agricultural chemical control areas.

For enquiries 136 186 or email


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