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What’s new in the first quarter of 2019

What’s new locally

Compared to other agricultural land users in South Africa, the forestry industry is one of the most heavily regulated. This is especially true when it comes to pesticide use. So, it might surprise many people outside the industry to learn that the new SAFAS certification system was initiated, developed and supported by the forestry sector.

From a pesticide working group perspective, SAFAS is welcomed. It has the South African legislation as its backbone and builds on this. SAFAS is truly a ‘by South Africans for South Africans’ scheme that answers the local timber industry’s call for a different, more applicable certification system. Watch this space for exciting developments.

There will obviously be challenges at the start, as the industry gets used to this new system and how to implement its requirements, in particular conforming to Act 36 and its requirements. Luckily, TIPWG’s APL and SOPs will give any member a good starting point.

However, the benefits brought by this new system will far outweigh any potential drawbacks, as it will open doors for the small-scale and emerging timber farmers. From a TIPWG stance, we are really excited about SAFAS, its implementation, who it will benefit and how this will influence improved pesticide use.

Pesticide news from around the globe

Getting rid of Glyphosate?

There is a global debate on Glyphosate, which is yielding very different outcomes. Canada has ruled that it will still use the product within the boundaries of the country, but in France its use has been banned altogether. We will have to wait and see what the rest of the world decides. For an interesting read, click here to learn more about the global Glyphosate debate.

Company acquisitions

United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL) based in Mumbai, India has acquired Arysta LifeSciences for $4.2 billion. The acquisition has resulted in UPL becoming one of the largest global crop protection companies.

Meanwhile, UPL launched its new purpose ‘OpenAg”, a concept which seeks to build open-minded, win-win partnerships that broadens value creation along a wider food production network. Through OpenAg, we aim to transform agriculture by creating an open agriculture network that feeds sustainable growth for all.” Jai Shroff, UPL global CEO. To read more, click here!

New on the TIPWG website

The TIPWG Advisory Body

The TIPWG advisory body has been tasked with endorsing the addition of new pesticides to TIPWG’s Approved Pesticide List (APL). According to the revised APL SOP, once a pesticide has passed through the various filters, the advisory body will need to endorse it before adding it to the APL. This will ensure the TIPWG APL does not become a cumbersome list of pesticide products that have been added for the sake of it. Instead, the APL should be a meaningful list that assists foresters, contractors and nursery personnel by providing them with the best options available for their use. The APL is not simply a directory of everything on the market. Click here to get to know the TIPWG advisory body.

Four new standard operating procedures available

We have been busy on the standard operating procedure (SOP) front, with four new additions to our growing bank of SOPs – click on the names and go straight to the SOP.

1) Pesticide MixingMay not be rocket science, but there are definite right and wrong ways when it comes to mixing. This SOP ensures everyone stays on track when mixing pesticides, adhering to the regulatory, health and safety restrictions.

2) Mist blowers – On the back of the success of the knapsack, mechanical and aerial spraying SOPs, which regularly top the monthly download statistics, mist blowers were the obvious next SOP in the series. This SOP covers all aspects of mist blower usage, from selection and calibration to application and storage.

3) Pest and disease identification– A suggestion that arose from the TIPWG website soft launch, this SOP works hand-in-hand with Sappi’s pest and pathogen matrix, helping foresters identify the most common pest and pathogen threats.

4) Herbicide scheduling Is critical to effective and efficient weed control. This SOP lays out the basics, identifying the key steps that should be taken and the various aspects that need consideration when scheduling herbicide applications.

The research page has landed

We are thrilled to have finally launched the TIPWG research page. It has been broken down into local, South African-focused research and global research. It acts as a directory, providing information on “who’s who” in the industry, as well as showcasing the research currently being conducted.

Local research has been broken down into narrow sense and broad sense research:

  • Narrow sense deals with the long-term productivity of planted stands of trees on specific sites over indefinite forest cycles. This is largely silvicultural and forest management related research that is focused on determining:

    • The avenues for improving the current operating procedures; and

    • The identification, mitigation and monitoring of key factors that could negatively impact productivity.

  • Broad sense deals with the impacts of forestry activities in a more holistic manner, in light of wider economic, social and environment issues and standards.

    • The implementation of stringent forestry certification standards is a good example of this. These standards ensure certified companies are meeting, and exceeding, environmental, social and economic standards set both nationally and internationally.

There is also going to be a section that looks towards the future and where research needs to be focused.

In the past few years, TIPWG has had a strong research focus, supporting our proactive approach to legislative and certification changes. As part of this, Professor Keith Little at NMU George Campus – our academic partner, has been driving a research project “Reduced Chemical Use”. This project is a compilation of many research projects coming out of NMU. These are projects that have either been funded directly or co-funded by TIPWG, as well as projects funded through other bodies but still fall under this banner.

The research has been focused on finding alternative solutions to pesticides on the highly hazardous list, by investigating biopesticides and biological control, quantifying the economic impacts of using vs not using pesticides and the timing of applications, refining application methods, understanding volumes actually applied in the industry, developing risk analyses and understanding the environmental impact of pesticide application on a larger-scale.

In the upcoming newsletters, we will go into more detail about the projects and their outcomes.

If you have projects that you feel should be included, please get in touch we look forward to hearing from you.

A huge thanks goes to Keith whose efforts have been key in the success of these pages.

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