It seems miracles do happen, even while in the throes of a pandemic so deadly that you must be tested to see if you even have it. Granted, while some people have succumbed to the virus, the measures implemented by our all-wise and all-knowing Command Council have to be weighed up against the economic survival of our nation as a whole… hindsight for them is only a 20/20 problem, while the rest of us are sadly left picking up the economic pieces. Thankfully, agriculture has fared better than most, as people still need to eat… especially while locked down and bored. One cannot just walk past the fridge without checking if there are any updates inside.
As most of you would know, the Registrar recently opened the doors at Act.36, and I am sure after their well-deserved 3 month holiday, the staff are now ready and fired up to get back into the swing of things. One would hope their first priority would be addressing the backlog of the backlog of the backlog in the generic registration approvals. So many logs, so very far back… they are currently browsing the April/May 2018 application. One can only hope, but the reality is the Office of the Registrar is so far behind in delivering the much-needed chemical and biological products to the market, that most pathogens have already evolved legs and are running for government positions.
So what was this unheard-of miracle? well, Harvest Chemicals received three registration approvals in one day. A record by any measure. Unfortunately, only one will be intime for the coming season, while the others have not only missed the season, but the one has effectively missed its entire useful lifespan thanks to a recent banning in Europe.
The new kids on the block…
Let’s start with Harvest’s insecticide star that would never be, Harvest Thiacloprid 480 SC (L10820). The recent issue with Thiacloprid is that the European nations collectively decided to not allow Bayer to re-register their product. This has effectively banned it throughout the Union as there are no other registrations available. While South African farmers can still apply the chemical and export, the MRL is the major stumbling block. If tested and found to be 50% of the European MRL i.e. 0.05 for Citrus and 0.15 for Apples, the goods will be quarantined and analyzed further with the intention of removing it completely. This is quite a disincentive for those looking to export. However, the MRLs set for Peaches and Nectarines in South Africa (0.1) is much lower than in the EU (0.5), so there is still some export hope, but significantly subdued. The product will still be available for the domestic market, and can be quite a valuable tool in fighting Coddling Moth for locally bound Apples and Pears; Aphids and Thrips on Citrus, and Oriental Fruit Moth on export Peaches and Nectarines.
Harvest welcomes the addition of another herbicide to bolster their portfolio, Harvest Prosulfocarb 800 EC (L10861). This is a great pre- or post- plant application to control herbicide resistant annual ryegrass in wheat and barley. Growers need to be more creative with the herbicide tools they have now and use them in a way that not only gives them the weed control they need, but also manages weed resistance and extends the useful life of these tools. Some key points to note on the Harvest Prosulfocarb 800 EC; it is effective against key grass weeds on its own; it performs very well as a tank-mix partner; and provides an effective rotational ryegrass MoA for resistance management. Unfortunately, the winter season has been missed, but Harvest will have stock ready for the next year.
The real substance in our mid-year approval miracle is the Harvest Difenoconazole 250 EC (L10832), which will be in stock for this coming season. This broad-spectrum fungicide has quite a decent label, covering a good variety of crops; Citrus; Grapes; Groundnuts; Maize and Sweetcorn and Potatoes. The advantage of this active is that it has a Blue hazard label, meaning it will keep the regulatory wolves away for years to come, and won’t be unexpectedly hauled away from your agrochemical armory.
One never knows what surprise will come next from the Registrar’s Office, it may be a registration approval, a rejection, or an unexpected change in the interpretation of the guidelines… but with the current momentum experienced, Harvest is expecting (with a bit of luck) a few more approvals over the coming weeks. These are Fenhexamid 500g/L SC; Chlorpyriphos 480g/L EC; Azoxystrobin 250g/L SC and Chlorothalonil 720g/L SC. A full description of what they offer will be made available once approvals have been confirmed.
Let’s hope that the rest of the year carries on with this positive note. Having almost overcome the world’s most famed flu, and while watching our politicians publicly declare who is the least corrupt, more miracles may be abound. Who knows, maybe the Registrar will even follow his own guidelines for a change.
Rory de Fleuriot, CMILT
Technical Consultant (PSCA 118/2020)
Harvest Chemicals (Pty) Ltd.