- When a new pesticide has been legally approved for use in South Africa, it must go through a TIPWG approval process to be added on the TIPWG Approved Pesticide List.TIPWG members may request for new products to be added to the APL. Members must ensure that:
A TIPWG review is done by an independent expert who carefully reviews the three documents below. These would be submitted by the company applying for pesticide registration.The electronic label
- New products to be added are needed by the industry;
- All documentation is in order;
- Quick reference check is done of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Highly Hazardous (HH) list to ensure the active ingredients aren’t listed
The electronic label confirms that the pesticide has been legally registered for use in South Africa and therefore has been approved by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and complies with Fertiliser, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies & Stock Remedies (Act No. 36 of 1947).The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
This contains all the relevant environmental, health and safety information along with the key chemical information, including:
1) Information to identify the: substance/mixture; company (including emergency telephone numbers)
2) Hazard identification
3) Information about and composition of the ingredients
4) First aid measures
5) Firefighting measures
6) Accidental release measures
7) Handling and storage
8) Exposure control / personal protection
9) Physical and chemical properties
10) Stability and reactivity
11) Toxicological information
12) Ecological information
13) Disposal considerations
14) Transport information
15) Regulatory information
16) Other informationThe Certificate of Analysis (CoA)
To acquire a CoA for a new pesticide the manufacturer has to submit the following:
- Full details on the manufacturing process;
- The identity and purity of all Technical Grade Active Ingredients (TGAI);
- The identity and quantities of its impurities. This is specified in the “Guidelines on Equivalence of Agricultural Remedies (pesticide)” issued by the Registrar, Act No. 36 of 1947.
The above information needs to be substantiated by an analytical report on 5 different production batches of the TGAI.
This report needs to be done by either:
- An ISO 17025 accredited laboratory a certified Global Laboratory Practices (GLP) compliant laboratory
The TGAI must conform to internationally recognised specifications or standards.
If the results of the 5-batch analysis are inconclusive, a test for mutagenicity (Ames test) done by a laboratory complying with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) principles on GLP will be required. In cases where the active ingredient does not have a known minimum percentage purity, a CoA from an ISO 17025 or GLP accredited laboratory will be accepted in place of the 5-batch analysis.Choosing a TIPWG expert
TIPWG has the authority to determine who qualifies as an expert.
Generally, it is considered to be:
- Someone who is unbiased, and has extensive knowledge and understanding in the field of chemicals and/or pesticides;
- Someone who has an understanding of the forestry industry and the various certification schemes;
- Someone who is recognised as a leader in their field.
The TIPWG expert will then check to ensure the pesticide complies with the following:
Compliance with Fertiliser, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and & Stock Remedies Act No. 36 of 1947
This involves double checking that the pesticide is registered in South Africa for forestry applications and is done by searching for the pesticide on the following websites:
- croplife.co.za their Agricultural Remedies Database lists 99.95% of pesticides registered in South Africa;
- agri-intel.com has all the information about registered pesticides along with their labels.
When it comes to the label, every section is checked for compliance with Act No. 36 of 1947 and the label is then scrutinised to ensure the correct information (i.e. dosages etc.) is presented. All information presented on the MSDS must also conform to the regulations of Act No. 36 of 1947 and the technical information needs to be double checked to ensure everything is correct. An additional review is done on the MSDS to ensure there is no use of another company’s intellectual property.
Quality check list for the CoA
The first step is to check the credentials of the laboratory used and the authenticity of the analytical report. This needs to be done as occasionally fraudulent copies are submitted. If the product specifications are in doubt, a container is bought and the quality of the active ingredients is tested, along with the quantities of any impurities. This is very important as these impurities could be banned ‘highly hazardous pesticides’.
The FSC filter
Annexure 1 of the FSC Pesticide Policy contains a list of indicators and thresholds for the identification of ‘highly hazardous’ pesticides. This provides our independent expert with a filter depicted in the second infographic, to run all the newly approved products through to ensure they comply with FSC guidelines.Why do it? – The benefit of having the TIPWG approved pesticide list
Forest protection strategies used in South African plantations include the use of pesticides where appropriate and necessary. The TIPWG approved pesticides list is a single handy reference that indicates those options that are effective when used correctly; are legally registered for the specific use; and are approved for use by FSC.
In addition to the active ingredient, all other constituents of a pesticide formulation as per label and MSDS, are screened for compliance by appropriate experts. Forestry South Africa through TIPWG maintains this list with input from researchers, experts in the field, and agricultural pesticide suppliers to ensure compliance.
The objective of limiting and reducing use of pesticides is an important consideration and TIPWG funds and directs research to actively seek alternative management options that will achieve this goal.
click here to download SOP approved pesticide list infographic as a .PDF
- Re-established vs established compartments
Re-established – Zero to one year for Eucalyptus and wattle, or zero to three years for pine.
- Weeds should be controlled before and after felling. This ensures that pre-planting weeding operations are effective and productive.
Established– one year and onwards for Eucalyptus and wattle and four years and onwards for pine
Pre-planting vs post-planting herbicide applications
- For the most part, there is little to no need for weed control within pulpwood rotation compartments once you have canopy closure – except in the case of alien invasive species (AIS).
- Compartments on a sawlog rotation will need to be re-assessed for weed control after each thinning operation due to canopy exposure.
- A total cover spray before planting is essential to ensure that the area is weed-free for as long as possible, giving young trees more time to establish themselves before riskier, and costly weed control/management operations have to be used.
- Timing and quality of the operation is critical to ensure effectiveness.
- The focus is to eradicate all competing weeds within ~25cm around the tree for the initial zero to one/zero to three-year period with a focus on the AIS. Inter-row weeding should then not be more than 25%, specifically targeting weeds that have reached a height of 50cm as these compete for nutrients and water.
Eucalyptus and wattle compartments under 12 months and pine compartments under three years are more susceptible to weeds and therefore need to be prioritised.
Research shows that the removal of weeds, thus competition for resources, has significant benefits:
Monitoring - weed spectrum
- Eucalyptus trees kept free from weed competition have a substantially higher yield.
- Pine trees have an improved survival if kept weed-free for the first three months. Weeding thereafter has no significant growth benefit but does have advantages such as reduced fire fuel loads and airflow in frost-prone areas.
The weed spectrum present will dictate the control methods used. As a result the following weed characteristics should be identified:
Monitoring - thresholds
- The presence of broadleaf weeds or grasses and the ratio of each.
- Whether the weed species are annual or perennials and the ratio of each.
- Life cycle – the aim is to eliminate weeds, not wound them. This means knowing their life cycle and targeting the growth stage where they are most susceptible to pesticide control measures. This minimises the amount of herbicide required and improves the productivity of the application method.
- Presence of AIS.
- Presence of invasive indigenous species.
- When conducting spraying operations, weeds should be targeted as young as possible, whilst at the same time, ensuring that there is an adequate weed flush, and in some cases, sufficient leaf material to absorb the herbicide.
Threshold levels identify when weed control becomes cost effective and necessary. Threshold levels are dependent on numerous factors, and can therefore differ for the same species of weed between compartments as well as land-use types. It is important to know the threshold level for each species and compartment.
Factors impacting threshold level:
Age of tree species planted threshold levels will be lower for younger trees as they are more susceptible to weed competition.
Species of tree and end use – Pines are susceptible to competition from weeds for a longer period than Eucalyptus and wattle, so will have longer and lower threshold levels. It should be noted that weed susceptibility also varies between different genera and hybrids. Knowledge of the trees’ response to weed competition is crucial.
Species of weed(s) – Physical and behavioural characteristics of individual weed species will dictate the threat level they pose, thus where the threshold levels are set.
- The presence of certain species identified as posing specific threats to trees, or biodiversity in general, should alone be enough to initiate control measures.
- Other species will be tolerated at low levels, but once they reach a certain point, control measures must be initiated. Continual monitoring will be required if their presence is noted.
Damage incurred – The type of damage incurred to the tree, or natural ecosystem, will dictate where threshold levels are set and the extent of control necessary.
Cost of control product can also be an inhibiting factor and should always be considered and weighed against the potential cost of damage incurred without weed control.
Cost of application method – There are significant differences in the financial and time costs of different application methods. These need to be considered when determining threshold levels, as well as the costs of additional monitoring, if weeds are left untreated.Control methods available
There are several different weed control methods available. These include cultural controls, biological controls and herbicide controls. In accordance with good agricultural practices and the sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) philosophies applied by the South African forestry industry, cultural and biological methods should first be considered. If these methods found to be non-viable, then herbicide control can be implemented as a last resort. Selection of appropriate methods of control shall be based on the following criteria:
- Species to be controlled
- Size of target plants
- Density of stand
- Accessibility of terrain
- Environmental safety
- Presence of desirable vegetation
- Presence of obstructive vegetation. (conservation areas)
- Cost of application
Some considerations when selecting the type of herbicide control measures include:
Application methods available to control weedsRestrictions
- Ensure it is on the TIPWG approved pesticide list. These are SA government registered and approved (sometimes with conditions for use) by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). Refer to TIPWG APL.
- Correct handling and use. Refer to SOP: Handling and Application.
- Correct storage and transport. Refer to SOP: Storage and Transport.
- When using selective herbicides, this often requires planning and budgeting for potential and additional operations.
There are numerous abiotic and biotic factors that will place restrictions on when, how and what you use to control weeds. These include:
Weather conditions – temperature, rain and wind are the big three weather factors when scheduling herbicide applications. These can, to an extent, be managed – doing early and late sprays during hot seasons to avoid spraying during high heat, or using long-term weather forecasts. However, weather can change, so scheduling (and schedulers) should be adaptable.
Compartment size – size, terrain and accessibility are all going to dictate the controls available.
Areas along the boundary of the farm and/or on the outskirts of the compartment are where any pesticide application has the greatest potential for impacting neighbouring land-uses. This needs to be considered when scheduling and applying weed control measures.
Compartment location, in particular if it is adjacent to:
- Conservation areas
- Water bodies
- Neighbouring communities
- Neighbouring agriculture
Time to harvest – each herbicide has a withholding period clearly marked on the label – ensure these are followed when scheduling.
Certification restrictions – ensure only TIPWG APL herbicides are used, and conform to any condition/pre-requisites stated is essential.
Tracer-belt preparation – refer to company policies and procedures.
Fire break preparation – this will depend on the fire season (summer time in the Cape, winter for all other areas) Refer to the National Veld and Forest Fire Act No.101 of 1998
Conservation area ecosystem restrictions – for example, the removal of weeds from waterbodies will carry specific stringent restrictions Refer to FSA Environmental Guidelines.
- Indigenous forests and woodlands
- Wetlands and riverine areas
Special management zones (SMZs) – refer to individual company policies.
Other areas – where weeds could become established and act as a source population for contamination.
- Staff accommodation
- Road verges
click here to download SOP Scheduling infographic as a .PDF