Hydrogen cyanamide reassessment
We are reassessing the use of hydrogen cyanamide, a restricted spray ingredient used in commercial orchards.
Application formally received
Hydrogen cyanamide has been used in Aotearoa New Zealand since 1988. It is used mainly in kiwifruit orchards to promote bud growth. It is also used in some apple, cherry, apricot, and kiwiberry crops, but to a lesser extent.
There are six hydrogen cyanamide products approved for use. They are restricted to commercial use, and can only be used by trained professionals.
Latest application update
21 September 2022
We have published the submissions and a summary of submissions report.
Draft proposal and recommendations
We recommend that current approvals for hydrogen cyanamide be declined, and the substance banned.
We propose it is phased out over five years, with tighter controls taking immediate effect after the final decision. A gradual phase out would allow existing stock to be used up, for growers to get familiar with alternatives, and to introduce additional alternatives to New Zealand.
We propose implementing the following controls, taking immediate effect, subject to a short transitional period to update labelling and packaging.
- Update hazard classifications to:
- classify the soluble concentrate as skin and eye corrosive, rather than an irritant
- include a carcinogenicity classification
- change the specific target organ toxicity classification (from Category 1 to 2)
- classify as hazardous to soil organisms.
- Lowest possible application rates, keeping the benefits of hydrogen cyanamide, while minimising risk.
- Buffer zones of up to 50 metres to protect bystanders, aquatic habitats and plants.
- Maximum wind speed of between 3 km/h and 20 km/h.
- Update labelling and packaging requirements.
- Users should be appropriately trained and qualified to handle hydrogen cyanamide substances and manage the environmental risks.