The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved an application to import a new fungicide, Vimoy Iblon, into New Zealand, for use on cereal crops.
The applicant, Bayer, intends to market the fungicide to farmers as a means of controlling a range of diseases including scald and net blotch in barley, leaf rust in barley and wheat, stripe rust in wheat and wheat-rye hybrid triticale, speckled leaf blotch in wheat and stem rust in ryegrass crops.
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New Zealand is the first country to approve the use of a new active ingredient contained in Vimoy Iblon - isoflucypram.
While isoflucypram is not yet in use elsewhere, a European Commission draft assessment report published in August reached similar conclusions to those of the EPA regarding potential risks to human health and the environment.
The EPA's acting general manager of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms group, Dr Clark Ehlers, said allowing the fungicide to be used in New Zealand would provide more choice for farmers.
"Based on its hazard classifications, Vimoy Iblon could be considered to be among the less hazardous of the fungicides available in New Zealand for the same intended use," he said.
"As with any hazardous substance, it's important that rules around its use are followed to ensure risks to human health and the environment are managed," said Dr Ehlers.