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New seed treatment formulation gets the tick

Published on 12/10/2016

Bayer New Zealand’s Poncho Votivo seed treatment will help control pests such as Argentine stem weevil, black beetle, greasy cutworm and parasitic nematodes.
It’s a reformulation of Poncho, with some key changes, the EPA says.
“What’s different about Poncho Votivo is that it contains a lower concentration of the neonicotinoid clothianidin, alongside a soil dwelling micro-organism called Bacillus firmus. This is found naturally in NZ soil but has not been used before as an active ingredient in an insecticide,” says Ray McMillan, EPA’s acting general manager of hazardous substances and new organisms.
After weighing the risks and benefits of Poncho Votivo following a public hearing in December 2015, the EPA’s decision-making committee approved its use and set specific controls to manage risks to people and the environment.
It means those applying the insecticide must wear protective clothing and adhere to specific restrictions related to the rate, method and timing of application.
“This combined insecticide has benefits for the NZ environment because it treats two types of pest at once, and farmers are less
likely to need a separate soil treatment,” McMillan says.
The new formulation has fewer toxicological hazards and a lower environmental hazard classification than other insecticides, and
can therefore be considered a safer alternative to those products.
The EPA says on a per hectare basis, the amount of clothianidin applied to an area via seeds treated with Poncho Votivo is less than the amount of insecticide that would need to be applied as a foliar spray or applied as a soil treatment to manage the same pests.

“Clothianidin remains present in the plant, grown from the treated seed, for several weeks after germination, giving the plant a longer period of protection compared to other seed treatment active ingredients.
“This reduces the need for later soil treatments and at least one foliar treatment can be removed from the recommended spray program when Poncho Votivo is used.”
Bacillus firmus is already present in NZ but is not approved for use as an ingredient in a pesticide.
It has a very low environmental risk and may be able to replace other nematicides that present greater risks to the environment.
The EPA risk assessment showed no impact on earthworms and other soil organisms as the active ingredients are not mobile in the soil.
The committee considered that the risk to non-target soil organisms would be negligible, McMillan says.

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