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Visit our new site for more help on spraying pesticides with a knapsack sprayer. Review our advice on buying and transporting pesticides.


Purchase and Transport of Crop Protection Products (pesticides).

N.B. This is a text only version of the first half of the training module "Purchase, Transport and Storage of Crop Protection Products (pesticides)" which is also available to download as a PowerPoint presentation or view as a Flash Movie 

Buying crop protection products (pesticides)

At every stage of CPP purchase – ask if unsure; pesticide user at store (11Kb JPEG)
At every stage of CPP purchase – ask if unsure
  • Only buy products from a reputable source.
  • Read the label, or have the label read to you, to be sure the selected   product will be safe for your intended use and will control the problem.
  • Ask for advise if unsure.
  • If several products, equivalent in every other way are available, select   the one in the lowest WHO hazard classification
  • Only buy as much as you require for your planned use.

Label information and safe product use

The product label contains information that enables a prospective purchaser to identify for their, and many other, safety needs :-

  • The manufacturer/supplier usually supported with company logo
  • The date, batch of production and expiry date
    The WHO hazard classification (Blue, Yellow, Red band)
  • Personal Protective Equipment requirements in pictogram format
  • How much product to use, when and how to apply
  • The crops for which the product‘s use has been registered 
  • The active ingredient and product trade name
  • Formulation type and concentration/strength 
  • Emergency procedures

Label information and product selection

  • Read the available labels – and supporting trade literature - to identify which product is appropriate to the pest, plant disease or weed you need to control
  • If several equivalent products are available, then read the safety information and select the product with
    • the lowest toxicological hazard
    • the ability to selectively control your specific pest problem (leave beneficial insects unharmed)
  • Check the label, batch number and expiry date
  • Ensure the product has been safely stored, its container and label is in good condition and the expiry date has not been reached

Consider your intended use

If you do not understand the label, seek advice; line drawing of two people viewing label (16 Kb JPEG)
If you do not understand the label, seek advice.

Information on the label will allow you to:-

  1. Determine the amount of product you need to buy.
  2. Get advice on safe use, storage, mixing and spraying.
  3. Identify the problems controlled and the best method and timing of application.
  4. Check the crops that the product can be used on.
  5. Know the pre-harvest interval and the maximum number of appications per crop.
  6. Check the batch number and product expiry date.

If you do not understand this information, seek advice.

If information is missing or illegible then do not buy the container

Notes to slide:  Consider your intended use

Buying pesticides from the dealer:

When buying pesticides, the buyer should be encouraged to question the dealer about the products he needs. Dealing with a particular pest, disease or weed problem requires that the product is effective for that problem.  However it may be possible to buy a product that is just as effective but is less hazardous.  The dealer should be able to recommend products that are equally effective for a particular problem, and the relative hazards of each can be checked by looking to see whether one is in a lower hazard category, by examining colour bands on the label.  Looking at the recommended protective clothing on the label is also helpful, since it is better to select a product that does not require a large amount of protective clothing to ensure its safe use.  The buyer should also read the label carefully to make sure that the product is suitable for his needs in terms of recommended crops etc.

Check the Container

If the container is damaged or leaking do not buy the product; line drawing of leaking container (14 Kb JPEG)
If the container is damaged or leaking do not buy the product.

If the product container is damaged or leaking, do not buy the product

Ensure that the product lid has not been tampered with and – if in doubt – check secondary foil seal.

Notes to slide: Check the container

When buying pesticide packs, the buyer should also examine the condition of the pack carefully.  Leaking packs are a serious hazard to anyone transporting, storing or handling the pack, and could cause major problems, for example by contaminating other things such as food. The buyer must always refuse to accept packs that are visibly leaking or are damaged such that they may leak in the future.  The buyer should also ensure that the pack label is firmly attached and in good condition so that it is easily legible.

Never buy products that are going to be, or have been, decanted

Never accept,or ask for, products to be devanted from their original containers; line drawing of person refusing to decant product(13 Kb JPEG)
Never accept,or ask for, products to be devanted from their original containers

Never accept– or ask for – products to be decanted from their original containers.

Buy the pack size that suits your needs.

Notes to slide: never buy products that are going to be, or have been, decanted

A pesticide pack is carefully designed to be strong and reduce hazards associated with its use (easy to pour, easy to clean etc.).  It also has the product label which helps the user to handle it safely. Pesticides should never be decanted into other containers, because of the risks associated with this (for example the danger of someone mistaking the contents of an unlabelled bottle of pesticide for a drink).  The dealer must never be asked to decant or transfer his stock to another container because a smaller quantity than the pack for sale is required.

Transporting Product

  • Be aware of any local legislation regarding the transport of products.
  • Be prepared for any accidental spillage or emergency situation.
  • Transport seperately products or spraying equipment from foodstuff, livestock or humans.
  • Ensure crop protection products are in their original containers and that the seals are still OK and tightened to avoid the possibility of leaks and spills.
  • When transporting spraying equipment ensure it is washed and clean before leaving the field.
  • Clean up any spillages using absorbant material such as sand or soil.
  • If transporting heavy containers ensure that there is equipment available to enable safe on and off loading.
  • When transporting products from the farmstead to the field only take what is required for the job, always transport in the original containers, do not decant.

Never leave products unattended during transport

Never leave products unattended during transport; line drawing of unattended product(20 Kb JPEG)
Never leave products unattended during transport

Segregate products from the driver, passengers and other items, especially food.

Segregate products from the driver, passengers and other items, especially food; line drawings of segregated and non-segregated product (9 Kb JPEG)
Segregate products from the driver, passengers and other items, especially food

Transport products securely and safely

Transport products securely and safely; line drawing of padlocked storage box on a bicycle(11 Kb JPEG)
Transport products securely and safely

Notes to slide: Transport products securely and safely

The easiest way to achieve both these things is to transport pesticides in a lockable box.  This can be easily constructed to the size necessary to hold the quantity of pesticide usually purchased.  this could be strapped to the back of a bicycle or motorbike if this is the normal transport method used, or carried in the back of a car, truck or boat.  The box enables security through locking, but also helps to protect the pesticide pack from damage during transport and will help to confine the effects of a spill if leakage should occur.

Where it is unavoidable that food is carried at the same time as pesticide, the box will help to segregate them, but it is also important to make sure they are kept as far away from each other as possible

In the event of any leakage

  • Keep people away from any spillage.
  • Contain the spillage by placing soil or sand around the spill.
  • Carefully add more soil or sand to absorb spill.
  • Sweep or shovel up the absorbed spill and place in strong bag.
  • Label bag and seek help from product supplier for best disposal options.
  • If the spillage involves a significant volume notify to local emergency services.