Fire ant treatment now easier for turf farmers

South East Queensland turf farmers can now spend less time and money on fire ant treatment thanks to changes to the bifenthrin chemical permit (PER14317).

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program has rallied for these changes, which include reducing turf harvest time from 28 days to just 48 hours after receiving treatment for fire ants.

National Program General Manager Graeme Dudgeon said they wanted to make it easier for turf farmers who were keen to protect their product from this pest.

“We have listened to and worked closely with industry on this change, and controlling fire ants on turf farms is now simpler as a result,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“We are confident all South East Queensland turf farmers will be happy with the change as it will reduce the work required to treat for fire ants and facilitate compliance.”

The Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) permit changes mean farmers only need to apply one higher dose application of bifenthrin, rather than the original two.

“The amendments will make planning your treatment a lot easier and ensure you can meet market demand,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“Turf can now be harvested just 48 hours after treatment and re-treatment is not required unless product is not moved within 42 days.

“Fighting fire ants takes a whole-of-community approach, including suppliers and consumers, and the turf industry is playing its part.”

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program is a nationally cost-shared program funded by all Australian state and territory governments, and the federal government. The Queensland Government’s funding contribution is 10 per cent.

The program is governed strategically and operationally by a national Steering Committee and independent chair, who work with Biosecurity Queensland to deliver the program on behalf of the other jurisdictions.

All Turf Solutions Director Duncan Swinton—whose business is based at Tamborine Mountain—welcomed the changes.

“This will give us greater flexibility to respond to sales that come in at short notice and reduce the time and money spent on fire ant treatment,” he said.

Mr Dudgeon said if turf was not treated correctly there was a risk of fire ants spreading across South East Queensland and beyond.

"If you are buying turf please make sure your supplier is following the permit requirements,” he said.