Meteor, a secondary thinning agent for apples from Grochem New Zealand, has received a well-needed classification revision from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The reclassification results in a significant reduction in re-entry period on apple crops and the removal of an approved ‘certified handler’ requirement. This is a result of a slight reduction in the maximum allowable use per application, but with great benefits.

Re-entry time significantly reduced

Until now, the EPA had set a minimum re-entry period in New Zealand due to lack of data being available for Meteor relating to its use on apples. Grochem had independent studies completed for the EPA on residues from Meteor on fruit under local conditions.

The minimum re-entry period for Meteor was 28 days, which has now been significantly reduced to 1 day with gloves, and 4 days without gloves.

This is going to allow growers to continue orchard operations much sooner, including bringing in apple thinning crews earlier, enabling pest monitoring, leaf sampling and irrigation monitoring with just a few days of application.

Certified handler restriction removed

The reclassification sees Meteor change from a 6.1B to a 6.1D class, which removes the restriction of requiring a certified handler to manage Meteor. Grochem’s R&D Manager Iain Latter said the requirement of having a certified handler has been a challenge for growers using Meteor, so Grochem are pleased to see the two-year process reach such a result.

“Although the process has taken a significant amount of time, we’re pleased to finally see an outcome that removes barriers and issues for growers handling the product and allows them to get on with orchard operations” said Iain.

Maximum allowable use per application slightly reduced

With a small reduction in the maximum allowable use from 750g to 740g of Meteor per application (with two applications allowed), the reduction is small compared to the benefits gained for growers from the reclassification.

About Meteor

Meteor is a photosynthesis inhibitor which when applied to apple fruitlets will result in a reduction in fruit set. Fruit thinning is not universal, so result may vary with application rate, timing, variety, climate, canopy size, stress on the crop and with other thinning sprays applied to the block.

For more information and to view product label, safety data sheets, info sheets and product safety card, visit

Quick check

Changes to Meteor classification

1. Re-entry significantly reduced – now one day with gloves and four days without.

2. Certified handler control – removed.  Product has been reclassified to a 6.1D and is no longer 6.1B, so the need for certified handlers is removed.

3. Maximum allowable use – slightly reduced to 740g of Meteor per application (2 allowed)