Pest panic from Dursban dearth

PANIC BUYING of chlorpyrifos to treat orange wheat blossom midge means supplies have all but dried up, according to spray manufacturers.

Another 10-15,000l of Dursban will be available by the end of this week (June 10-11), said Dow AgroSciences product marketing manager James Knight.

But that may be too late for most growers, and the opportunity to control the pest may have passed.

“We‘ve been building up supplies over the past two or three years, expecting a problem, but the huge demand this year has still taken us by surprise,” said Mr Knight.

“The unusual thing is that there‘s no hotspot – it‘s been bad all over the country.”

His advice to growers still looking for product is to put an order in with their distributor, or find out if neighbouring growers have some left over they have now decided not to use.

“In these situations people tend to panic buy and then find they don‘t need to apply it, so there may well be surplus Dursban kicking around on farms.”

Supplies of Alpha Chlorpyrifos have completely dried up, confirmed Makhteshim-Agan commercial manager Rob Williams.

“We knew there was potential for a big OWBM year, but we were only able to source our normal supply this year.

“A restriction on raw ingredients means there is no over-capacity of product in the system,” he explained.

The company has also sold out of Mavrik (tau-fluvalinate), a pyrethroid aphicide which is relatively benign to beneficial insects and also has an effect on OWBM.

“Growers will have to get used to more of these kinds of product shortages – everyone sells to order these days,” said Mr Williams.

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