Agri Kultuur March/ Maart 2016 - Page 28

Dr Gerhard H Verdoorn CropLife South Africa W hich pesticide should I use on my crop? This is a question that plagues crop farmers daily and while there are consultants and agents that offer advice it remains the prerogative of the producer to decide which pesticide to apply. Given the vast range of pesticides available to producers the decision may not be as simple as choosing a particular active ingredient or brand but it should be strongly guided by which particular brand is registered for the crop versus pest and also by market forces. Our regulatory framework in South Africa is very clear on pesticide use and basically demands that pesticides may only be used for the purposes and in the manners as stated on the labels. That is relatively simply to accommodate but for export producers to scenario is more demanding: they need to work with pesticides for which residues are allowed at the expert destinations and that is not on the labels! So, question remains: which pesticide should I use on my crop and the answer lies in precision farming guided by precision data. Fortunately CropLife South Africa’s suite of agricultural remedies information resources comes to the aid of crop farmers. It starts off with a set of simple databases under the banner Agricultural Remedies Database on the website www.croplife.co.za. Here one finds a general dataset for pesticides and more focussed ones for fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, adjuvants and plant growth regulants, and lastly a precision dataset on pesticide toxicology. These respective datasets will give a producer access to the registered pesticides available in South Africa. The toxicology database can be checked for the toxicity of a particular active ingredient in terms of mammals, birds, fish, bees and even dermal and inhalation toxicity. Another comprehensive set of data lies in the CropLife South Africa compendiums that are produced by Kathy van Zyl. These are printed guides including one on pest management in agriculture, one on chemical management of weeds in agriculture, one on the control of problem plants, one on the plants growth regulants and adjuvants and one on the chemical control, of plant diseases. Each compendium is supplied by CropLife South Africa with a CD ROM version of the compendium that can be viewed on a computer. Compendiums can be ordered from CropLife SA 011-8052000. The advantage of the compendiums is that they offer precision advice by indexed crop on each and every pest, disease or weed that may impact on the crop with each and every registered pesticide that is available to control it plus dosage rates, specific application advice, application restrictions, withholding periods, waiting periods and even lists of the South African maximum residue limits. This should bring the producer to a point where a number of products may be checked as potential candidates and if the farmer is conscious about the environment he can reflect back on the toxicology database to gauge the toxicity of the candidates. Yet, these compendiums are not the final decision catalyst but very useful nevertheless. The crown of the agricultural remedy inf0rmation lies in the CropLife SA AgriIntel Database. This is a massive database with literally hundreds of thousands of data points that can be interrogated by the AgriIntel website on www.agriintel.com. It is at this stage still a free tool for anyone which wishes to make of it and only requires the user to register after which ChanaLee, the manager, affords the registrant a password to be able to interrogate the database. AgriIntel offers various search functions such a searching for residue data, crop plans or agricultural remedies. For the export farmer AgriIntel is a non-