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Important Fruit Pesticide Notices and Updates

In regard to pesticides and associated regulations, a significant number of newsworthy items occurred within the past year:

  • For several years the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) supported a “Berry Transition Strategy Workgroup” that grappled with the phase-out of Endosulfan and Diazinon insecticides. The usage of these products is now prohibited (as of Dec. 31, 2016) and the workgroup has been disbanded.

  • The PMRA published a consultation document in 2016 regarding risk assessment of chlorothalonil (Bravo fungicide). The initial assessment concluded restrictions were warranted, and proposed cancellation of many fruit uses. Fortunately, the PMRA allowed a 60-day commentary period. Based upon feedback and new toxilogical information provided during that time, the risk assessment was revised. In a presentation provided March 31, 2017, the PMRA expressed support for the following in-season applications: two (+ 1 fall) in strawberry; two (+ 1 fall) in cherry, peaches and nectarines; and two in blueberries. Growers should ensure they strictly adhere to the pesticide label recommendations.

  • Kasumin Bactericide gained User Requested Minor Use Label Expansion (URMULE) for use on Saskatoon berry, sour cherry and raspberry in 2016.

  • Organic Materials Review Institute lists are available to help guide organic growers at the OMRI Website. Growers can consult the lists for approved organic products, but they should also check with their certifier to ensure compliance with certifier standards (that can differ from OMRI’s).  

  • Guidelines for creating the classic fungicide/bactericide product known as the Bordeaux Mixture are available from this University of California website. 

  • A webinar entitled “Apogee: Looking Beyond Regulating Growth”, by Dr. Julia Reekie, was offered by BASF regarding use of this plant growth regulator to increase yield and quality in fruit crops. This product is used in apples, cherries, grapes, plums and ornamentals. It is also now available for runner suppression in strawberry. Apogee suppresses vegetative shoot growth, reducing the amount of dormant and summer pruning. It inhibits GA1 in the gibberellin biosynthesis pathway. It also modifies flavonoid metabolism in treated apples and induces changes in a spectrum of flavonoids to increase resistance to disease and insect pests.

  • The PrairieSaskatoon-QMOD is a disease model used to help growers schedule fungicide spray applications for control of Entomosporium (Leaf and Berry Spot) disease on Saskatoon berries. Based upon input of temperature and precipitation data, the model also serves to provide precise predictions of when Saskatoon berries can be harvested. This online tool will be available in 2017, and commercial Saskatoon berry growers are encouraged to sign up.

  • Some AAFC crop profiles have been updated to provide better pest and pesticide recommendations. 

  • The PMRA published new re-evaluation decisions for: the insecticide Thiram, the fungicide Ferbam, and the fungicide Iprodione. Thiram is the active ingredient used in SKOOT, a product many apple growers apply to trees to prevent deer and rabbit foraging damage. Loss of this product would have a significant impact on apple orchard management.

  • Cover of Health Canada report
    A Health Canada report regarding the 2014 inspection of Saskatoon Berry Growers was made available in 2016. The on-farm inspection of Saskatoon berry producers early in the 2014 growing season was done to verify growers had used registered products and that their use was in accordance with label directions. Information was gathered on the products used by growers, use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and knowledge of and compliance with re-entry intervals (REI) and post-harvest Intervals (PHI). According to the report, “Saskatoon berry growers were found to be knowledgeable with regards to pesticide usage, REIs and PHIs, with an observed compliance level of 89 per cent”. Nineteen of 20 samples did not indicate misuse. The 2014-15 surveillance inspection related that non-compliances had subsequently been confirmed to return to compliance.
  • Some growers had reported issues with Curculio insect infestation of apples in 2016. “Ecological management of Key arthropod Pests in Apple Orchards” is a recommended source of information regarding Curculio management.

  • Assure II URMULE was accepted for Saskatoon berry orchard use to control grassy weeds.

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