Wairarapa-based spraying contractor Clinton Carroll refers to the new agrichemical standard NZS 8409:2021 as the contractors’ bible – and he says it needs more disciples.

Clinton is Rural Contractors NZ vice-president and represents the organisation on the New Zealand Agrichemical Education Trust (NZAET) which oversees Growsafe.

At an NZAET meeting last month he raised the issue that the new standard needed to be more widely promoted. The first revision in nearly 20 years brings agrichemical use into the 21st century even extending to guidance for new technologies such as automated sprayers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones.

“Some spraying contractors and others using agrichemicals seemed to remain unaware that the new standard is out and available for free if they hold a current Growsafe certificate such as Registered Chemical Applicator (RCA),”  says Clinton.

NZAET General Manager, Jane Lamb, encourages all agrichemical users to take a look at the new standard saying “it is a lot easier to read than the regulations themselves.”

“It’s recommended as a place to find all the regulatory and good practice guidelines for safe, responsible agrichemical use in one place”,

The new agrichemical standard was published last year. It provides practical and specific guidance on the safe, responsible and effective storage, handling and use of agrichemicals including pesticides and veterinary medicines.

Clinton Carroll says all training is now based around the new standard and spray contractors holding a Growsafe RCA certificate will need to show they are up to speed when they come to renewals.

“Basically it’s your bible. If you want to know what’s required to apply a chemical or check on how best to dispose of residues or containers, this is what you need.”

The new standard replaces that in place since 2004 with the NZAET leading the review.

Clinton says himself and some other industry representatives were among those involved so the new standards reflect widespread agreement on how to implement the new rules and achieve good practices.

“The rules were in real need of updating. For example, the AgRecovery recycling scheme for empty containers wasn’t in place in 2004. Now recycling is the priority and burning has been banned.”

Clinton says the standard also provides more detail on how spray contractors, farmers and other agrichemical users should dispose of sprayer washings.

“This gives some clear guidance on where you can wash down and the steps you need to take to reduce any potential environmental harm.”

The new standard also includes a new requirement to undertake an on-site risk assessment immediately prior to any spraying and more detailed requirements for a spray plan, notification of affected parties and putting up signage to provide better communication of spraying activities.

The 2021 Management of agrichemicals standard is available here or on the Growsafe website.