The agriculture sector has been given 15 years to find a successful alternative tool to kill grass grub and porina in pastures. This was the very welcome message the Environmental Protection Authority gave to the agricultural sector and home lawn lover last month, when it announced its decision to allow the continued use of diazinon as a plant protection insecticide until 2028.
Federated Farmers made several submissions during the public hearing process and pushed hard to maintain the use of Diazinon for the agricultural sector. The initial EPA recommendation was to phase it out over six months for use in pasture.
After strongly written submissions and Federated Farmers' board member Dr William Rolleston's speech at the public hearing, the EPA recognised the dilemma facing the agriculture sector if it removed Diazinon from the toolkit. Grass grub, in particular, can cause millions of dollars' worth of damage every year and currently there is no insecticide that is as effective as diazinon against this pest.
Those using Diazinon will have to adhere to more stringent controls. However, most of these are practical and farmers should be able to adhere to these. The push is on to get research cranked up - it will take all 15 years to find, test and register a replacement for diazinon.