West Central Distributing Expands Levesol Product Line With SoyShot Starter Fertilizer
Early season crop growth and development is critical for long-term success. West Central Distribution (WCD) is offering an additional option to improve nutrient availability, seed emergence and overall plant health with SoyShot starter fertilizer. A member of the Levesol product line, SoyShot includes the features of Levesol in addition to a low salt index to improve crop safety; an efficient low use rate of 1 gal. to 2 gal. per acre; and improved nutrient management by increasing the availability of phosphorus and micronutrients in the fertilizer as well as nutrients present in the soil. For more information, visit www.wcdst.com.
Pyrethroids Face Scrutiny During Required Registration Review
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting an environmental risk assessment on another insecticide, and the outcome of the process could leave farmers with one less tool in their insect-control toolbox.
“Pyrethroids are a pretty wide class of insecticides—eight or nine active ingredients are widely used,” says John Cummings, FMC North America registration and regulatory affairs manager. “The complete class is registered on approximately 120 different crops.”
The insecticides are used in row crop and high dollar crops to fight off damaging pests. For example, pyrethroids are commonly used in corn as an in-furrow insecticide to ward off corn rootworm. They were introduced in the 1980s and are required to be reviewed by EPA every 15 years.
During this process, EPA released their environmental risk assessment of the insecticide. They found the pesticide is toxic to aquatic invertebrates (water-dwelling insects). Since Nov. 29, 2016, the agency has held an open comment period for farmers, industry and concerned citizens to share their thoughts on the insecticide. The comment period was extended 60 days to the end of March.
FMC and other members of the Pyrethroid Working Group feel EPA isn’t using the most up-to-date and accurate science in their risk assessment. “EPA didn’t consider all research—they took a screening level assessment without considering higher tier data,” Cummings says. “Our concern is they could stop here and make restrictions based on this flawed assessment.”
While he admits pyrethroids can be toxic to certain aquatic invertebrates, he says EPA left out important considerations such as vegetative buffers and drift considerations outlined on the product labels. Members of the Pyrethroid Working Group have conducted toxicity and safety tests for several years and are asking EPA to look at this data as well as take current label requirements into consideration.
“The question comes down to: is there actual exposure?” Cummings says. “Pyrethroids are hydrophobic, not soluble in water, so if they did come in contact with water they would bind to sediment and not be available in the water for invertebrates to be exposed.”
If EPA moves forward with an unchanged risk assessment, farmers might face additional restrictions and some loss of use. In crops such as corn, a loss of use could lead to more pressure on other control methods. For example, in-furrow corn rootworm insecticide helps add an additional mode of action against the pest, putting less pressure on Bt proteins.
Anyone interested in commenting on pyrethroids and their use, agronomic value and effect on the environment, can do so until March 31. Go to www.regulations.gov and search for EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0384-0044.
APHIS Requests Public Comments on Biotech Rule Changes
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing revisions to its biotechnology regulations. The agency will accept public comment on the changes until May 19, 2017. Changes affect many areas within the Plant Protection Act passed in 2000.
“The proposed rule is based on the best available science,” according to APHIS. “It will better enable APHIS to focus its resources on regulating genetically engineered (GE) organisms that may pose plant pest or noxious weed risks and will enhance regulatory flexibilities that stimulate innovation and competitiveness.”
First, APHIS proposed assessing whether or not GE organisms pose plant pest or noxious weed risks. If they don’t, APHIS would not require a permit for importing, interstate movement and outdoor use of the product. However, if it does pose plant pest or noxious weed risks, APHIS will work with the creator/marketer to establish permit conditions to mitigate risk and allow safe import, interstate movement and outdoor use. Currently, plants that are not engineered with plant pest gene sequences don’t fall under these regulations. The concern is they could pose noxious weed risks. APHIS is proposing this change to implement noxious weed authorities to address this concern.
When public review and comments are complete, APHIS will finalize their decisions on the proposed regulations.
To comment on the proposed rule, visit www.regulations.gov and search for APHIS-2015-0057-0001.
Z-Trap Enhances Crop Scouting Efforts
An electric zap might give crop scouting a boost. Z-Trap 1 is an electronic insect trap from Spensa Technologies that remotely monitors pest problems. Real-time count updates and daily reports of insect activity are sent to the cloud for web- or mobile-based monitoring. The automated process of capturing and counting insects carries the potential for labor savings and greater accuracy for determining pesticide applications.
Using standard pheromones as a lure, insects fly into the trap and make contact with a high-voltage grid. The voltage drops and the time-stamped data is sent to the cloud. Based on the level of voltage drop, time of day and pheromone within, the Spensa AP data platform distinguishes between insect, leaf or debris. A grower or consultant can log in and see real-time insect totals for days, weeks or months across multiple Z-Trap machines. The insect-catching devices can be turned on or off remotely according to time of day.
“If you factor in driving, counting, replacing when necessary and cleaning, we estimate Z-Trap will save a minimum of 30 minutes of labor per trap per trip,” says Chad Aeschliman, vice president of engineering for Spensa Technologies.
Since 2010, Spensa has tested 400 units in the U.S., Australia, Brazil and New Zealand, in corn, soybeans and fruit trees. Accurate pest counts enable faster decisions on treatments. “The stream of data helps a grower recognize when a crop is vulnerable and needs treatment,” Aeschliman says.
For more information, visit www.spensatech.com/z-trap.html.
Nufarm Registers New Herbicide
Soybean farmers have a new option for burndown, preplant or pre-emergent weed control with Nufarm America’s recently registered Panther Pro residual weed control.
Panther Pro has three years of testing and serves as the first liquid flumioxazin combination product that can be used for preplant and pre-emergent in soybeans. The herbicide combines group 14, group 5 and group 2 for a multipronged approach against weeds.
Nufarm says Panther Pro controls more than 60 weeds, including glyphosate resistant weeds such as waterhemp, horseweed and common ragweed. It also controls susceptible winter annuals in fallow land and soybeans. The product can be mixed with glufosinate or glyphosate in accordance with label directions for spring burndown applications. For more information, visit www.nufarm.com/us.