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Archive for the ‘Pesticides’ Category

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Fall armyworms eating rice leaves in a flooded field. Entomologists seek emergency-use exemption to help rice growers in ‘epic’ battle against armyworms.

Mary Hightower, U of A System Division of Agriculture | Jul 22, 2021SUGGESTED EVENT

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University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture entomologists are seeking an emergency exemption to allow for the use of Intrepid to help control armyworms that threaten the state’s 1.24 million acres of rice. 

“This is the biggest outbreak of fall armyworm situation that I’ve ever seen in my career,” Gus Lorenz, extension entomologist for the Division of Agriculture, said Wednesday. “They’re in pastures, rice, soybeans, grain sorghum. It’s epic.”https://d4100051ff2b64e2ac90e81feaf8c9c5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Lorenz said the Section 18 request to enable use of Intrepid should be submitted to the Arkansas State Plant Board by Friday.

Intrepid is a growth regulator that’s approved for use in just about every other row crop but is not labeled for use in rice.

“This armyworm thing started about three to four weeks ago,” he said. “It’s continued to build from that time. It’s from the Boot heel of Missouri down to Louisiana.”

Eaten to the ground

Gus Lorenz51326207237_6519faedbd_o.png

Sweep net full of armyworms. Taken July 21, 2021.Lorenz said he received a call from a producer in “south Arkansas, that they’d eaten his bermudagrass pasture to the ground. It was a 30- to 40-acre pasture. And he wasn’t even calling about the pasture. He was calling about his rice crop. He said his rice was being eaten to the ground.”

“Fall armyworm is a particularly voracious caterpillar,” said Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture. “They have a tendency to surprise us because adults lay very large egg masses but the earliest instar larvae eat very little. It’s not until they get older and start to spread out that they consume most of the food in their life cycle.

“This is why we go from zero to TREAT seemingly overnight,” Hardke said.

Why a Section 18?

51327145063_f633537f6a_o.jpgExtension entomologist Nick Bateman examines a rice field in Jefferson County on July 21, 2021 for fall armyworms. (U of A System Kurt Beaty)

Typically, armyworms can be managed well using pyrethroids, but Lorenz said “when this outbreak first started, we got reports out of Texas and Louisiana that they weren’t getting control. We’re getting failures.”

Lorenz said he and colleagues ran some quick tests, spraying this year’s armyworms with pyrethroids “and we got 48% control.”

In cattle-heavy parts of the state producers use another insect growth regulator called Dimilin to manage armyworms, but in row crop country, “they just don’t carry it. It’s just not available,” Lorenz said.

Fellow extension entomologist Nick Bateman said, “another problem with using Dimilin is the pre-harvest interval. The pre-harvest interval on Dimilin is 80 days which will lead to major harvest issues.”

“We’re limited on the options in control for rice,” he said. “It’s not just a problem of row rice. We are also seeing them in flooded rice, all through the field. They are eating rice all the way down to the waterline.”

Lorenz said rice growers in California sought and received a Section 18 exemptions over the last three years. “We felt like that was our best option.”

Arkansas farmers who managed to replant after the floods and heavy rain in June have young, tender plants that are highly attractive to armyworms.

“Those crops are extremely susceptible to damage from armyworms,” Lorenz said.

What’s next

“My concern is that if we get another generation of them, the next wave could be unbelievable,” he said.

The first generation of armyworms matured into moths in Texas and Louisiana and flew northward. Now that they’re in Arkansas, “We’re making our own generation, which is what makes it so dangerous,” Lorenz said.

There’s also a chance that, depending on the environment, “the population could collapse,” he said. “There are some natural controls out there. When you get a big buildup a lot of things can happen. There are a lot of naturally occurring pathogens that can help control them.”

Some agents in southwest Arkansas found armyworms that had fallen victim to a naturally occurring virus. Lorenz is hoping that virus may provide another option for control in the future.

Arkansas is the nation’s leading rice producer. 

Use of product names does not imply endorsement.Source: University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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Ceylon Daily News

Plans to produce powerful natural herbicide using invasive species

Saturday, June 19, 2021 – 01:16Print EditionLocal

The Environment Ministry plans to produce a powerful natural herbicide using several invasive species that are to be removed from the environment immediately in support of the President’s organic farming programme.

The purpose of this is to prevent the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides along with the ban on the use of chemical fertilizers and to prevent farmers from getting into trouble due to the lack of a suitable herbicide for weed control.

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera instructed Ministry officials on Thursday to be prepared to make a special contribution to the promotion of organic farming under the Ministry.

The discussion was attended by Ministry Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe and heads of the Central Environmental Authority, Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, Technical Services Company and many other external institutions.ht

“The decision taken by the President to stop the use of chemical fertilizers for cultivation and to introduce organic farming instead is a historic decision. Other Ministries cannot remain silent, leaving these matters to the Ministry of Agriculture alone. Therefore, as the Ministry of Environment, we have a great responsibility to intervene in this matter,” said Minister Amaraweera.

“Farmers are currently demanding chemical fertilizers. The decision taken by the President for organic farming will be implemented from this Maha season. Therefore, there is a need to provide chemical fertilizers during the Yala season this year. It was also proposed to set up a medium scale factory for this purpose in the Hambantota District where these invasive plants are in abundance,” the Minister said.

“Pesticides and herbicides along with chemical fertilizers have also been banned, making it difficult for farmers as well as cultivators to get sufficient manpower in the tea and rubber industry as well as in paddy cultivation. There is a possibility of producing a successful herbicide using these invasive plants as a solution. It is also 100% chemical free and eco-friendly. Arrangements have been made to hold further discussions in this regard at the Divisional Secretariat in Hambantota today (19). These invasive plants are species recommended by the Ministry of Environment for immediate destruction,” Minister Amaraweera said.

The Minister also said that steps will be taken to launch a number of small and medium scale projects for the

production of organic fertilizer required for agriculture in the Hambantota District during the Maha season this year.

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Pollen-sized technology protects bees from deadly insecticides

Cornell University

27-May-2021 7:05 PM EDT, by Cornell Universityfavorite_border

Newswise: Pollen-sized technology protects bees from deadly insecticides

Nathan Reid

A Beemmunity employee, Abraham McCauley, applies a pollen patty containing microsponges to a hive as part of colony trials.

Newswise — ITHACA, N.Y. – A Cornell University-developed technology provides beekeepers, consumers and farmers with an antidote for deadly pesticides, which kill wild bees and cause beekeepers to lose around a third of their hives every year on average.

An early version of the technology ­– which detoxified a widely-used group of insecticides called organophosphates – is described in a new study, “Pollen-Inspired Enzymatic Microparticles to Reduce Organophosphate Toxicity in Managed Pollinators,” published in Nature Food. The antidote delivery method has now been adapted to effectively protect bees from all insecticides, and has inspired a new company, Beemmunity, based in New York state. 

Studies show that wax and pollen in 98% of hives in the U.S. are contaminated with an average of six pesticides, which also lower a bee’s immunity to devastating varroa mites and pathogens. At the same time, pollinators provide vital services by helping to fertilize crops that lead to production of a third of the food we consume, according to the paper.

“We have a solution whereby beekeepers can feed their bees our microparticle products in pollen patties or in a sugar syrup, and it allows them to detoxify the hive of any pesticides that they might find,” said James Webb, a co-author of the paper and CEO of Beemmunity.

First author Jing Chen is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of senior author Minglin Ma, associate professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Scott McArt, assistant professor of entomology in CALS, is also a co-author.

The paper focuses on organophosphate-based insecticides, which account for about a third of the insecticides on the market. A recent worldwide meta-analysis of in-hive pesticide residue studies found that, under current use patterns, five insecticides posed substantial risks to bees, two of which were organophosphates, McArt said. 

The researchers developed a uniform pollen-sized microparticle filled with enzymes that detoxify organophosphate insecticides before they are absorbed and harm the bee. The particle’s protective casing allows the enzymes to move past the bee’s crop (stomach), which is acidic and breaks down enzymes.

Microparticles can be mixed with pollen patties or sugar water, and once ingested, the safe-guarded enzymes pass through the acidic crop to the midgut, where digestion occurs and where toxins and nutrients are absorbed. There, the enzymes can act to break down and detoxify the organophosphates.

After a series of in vitro experiments, the researchers tested the system on live bees in the lab. They fed a pod of bees malathion, an organophosphate pesticide, in contaminated pollen and also fed them the microparticles with enzyme. A control group was simultaneously fed the toxic pollen, without the enzyme-filled microparticles.

Bees that were fed the microparticles with a high dose of the enzyme had a 100% survival rate after exposure to malathion. Meanwhile, unprotected control bees died in a matter of days.

Beemmunity takes the concept a step further, where instead of filling the microparticles with enzymes that break down an insecticide, the particles have a shell made with insect proteins and are filled with a special absorptive oil, creating a kind of micro-sponge. Many insecticides, including widely-used neonicotinoids, are designed to target insect proteins, so the microparticle shell draws in the insecticide where it is sequestered inert within the casing. Eventually, the bees simply defecate the sequestered toxin.

The company is running colony-scale trials this summer on 240 hives in New Jersey and plans to publicly launch its products starting in February 2022. Products include microparticle sponges in a dry sugar medium that can be added to pollen patties or sugar water, and consumer bee feeders in development.

“This is a low-cost, scalable solution which we hope will be a first step to address the insecticide toxicity issue and contribute to the protection of managed pollinators,” Ma said.

Jin-Kim Montclare, a researcher at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, is a co-author.

The technology is licensed through Cornell’s Center for Technology Licensing (CTL). Ma and McArt are advisors for Beemmunity.

The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

For additional information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

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New screening method could lead to microbe-based replacements for chemical pesticides

by Tokyo University of Science

pesticides
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Plants have evolved unique immunity mechanisms that they can activate upon detecting the presence of a pathogen. Interestingly, the presence of some nonpathogenic microorganisms can also prompt a plant to activate its systemic immunity mechanisms, and some studies have shown that pretreating agricultural crops with such “immunity-activating” nonpathogenic microorganisms can leave the crops better prepared to fight off infections from pathogenic microorganisms. In effect, this means that immunity-activating nonpathogenic microorganisms can function like vaccines for plants, providing a low-risk stimulus for the plant’s immune system that prepares it for dealing with genuine threats. These are exciting findings for crop scientists because they suggest the possibility of using such pretreatment as a form of biological pest control that would reduce the need for agricultural pesticides.

However, before pretreatment with nonpathogenic microorganisms can become a standard agricultural technology, scientists need a way to screen microorganisms for the ability to stimulate plant immune systems without harming the plants. There is currently no simple method for evaluating the ability of microorganisms to activate plant immune systems. Conventional methods involve the use of whole plants and microorganisms, and this inevitably makes conventional screening a time-consuming and expensive affair. To address this problem, Associate Professor Toshiki Furuya and Professor Kazuyuki Kuchitsu of Tokyo University of Science and their colleagues decided to develop a screening strategy involving cultured plant cells. A description of their method appears in a paper recently published in Scientific Reports.

The first step in this screening strategy involves incubating the candidate microorganism together with BY-2 cells, which are tobacco plant cells known for their rapid and stable growth rates. The next step is to treat the BY-2 cells with cryptogein, which is a protein secreted by fungus-like pathogenic microorganisms that can elicit immune responses from tobacco plants. A key part of the cryptogein-induced immune responses is the production of a class of chemicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS), and scientists can easily measure cryptogein-induced ROS production and use it as a metric for evaluating the effects of the nonpathogenic microorganisms. To put it simply, an effective pretreatment agent will increase the BY-2 cells’ ROS production levels (i.e., cause the cells to exhibit stronger immune system activation) in response to cryptogein exposure.Play00:0002:35MuteSettingsPIPEnter fullscreen

PlayMicrobe-Based Replacements for Chemical Pesticide Replacement.A team of scientists from Tokyo University of Science has developed a screening method based on cultured plant cells that makes such testing easier. This may lead to microorganism-based crop protection methods that reduce the need for chemical pesticides. Credit: Tokyo University of Science

To test the practicability of their screening strategy, Dr. Furuya and his colleagues used the strategy on 29 bacterial strains isolated from the interior of the Japanese mustard spinach plant (Brassica rapa var. perviridis), and they found that 8 strains boosted cryptogein-induced ROS production. They then further tested those 8 strains by applying them to the root tips of seedlings from the Arabidopsis genus, which contains species commonly used as model organisms for studies of plant biology. Interestingly, 2 of the 8 tested strains induced whole-plant resistance to bacterial pathogens.

Based on the proof-of-concept findings concerning those 2 bacterial strains, Dr. Furuya proudly notes that his team’s screening method “can streamline the acquisition of microorganisms that activate the immune system of plants.” When asked how he envisions the screening method affecting agricultural practices, he explains that he expects his team’s screening system “to be a technology that contributes to the practical application and spread of microbial alternatives to chemical pesticides.”

In time, the novel screening method developed by Dr. Furuya and team may make it significantly easier for crop scientists create greener agricultural methods that rely on the defense mechanisms that plants themselves have evolved over millions of years.


Explore furtherA minty-fresh solution: Using a menthol-like compound to activate plant immune mechanisms


More information: Mari Kurokawa et al, An efficient direct screening system for microorganisms that activate plant immune responses based on plant–microbe interactions using cultured plant cells, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-86560-0Journal information:Scientific ReportsProvided by Tokyo University of Science

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Soil Biodiversity Under Grave Threat from Pesticides – Most Comprehensive Review Ever

Posted on May 7 2021 – 3:00pm by Sustainable Pulse« PREVIOUSNEXT »Categorized as

new study published Tuesday by the academic journal Frontiers in Environmental Science finds that pesticides widely used in American agriculture pose a grave threat to organisms that are critical to healthy soil, biodiversity and soil carbon sequestration to fight climate change. Yet those harms are not considered by U.S. regulators.

The study, by researchers at the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth U.S. and the University of Maryland, is the largest, most comprehensive review of the impacts of agricultural pesticides on soil organisms ever conducted.

The researchers compiled data from nearly 400 studies, finding that pesticides harmed beneficial, soil-dwelling invertebrates including earthworms, ants, beetles and ground nesting bees in 71% of cases reviewed.

“It’s extremely concerning that 71% of cases show pesticides significantly harm soil invertebrates,” said Dr. Tara Cornelisse, an entomologist at the Center and co-author of the study. “Our results add to the evidence that pesticides are contributing to widespread declines of insects, like beneficial predaceous beetles and pollinating solitary bees. These troubling findings add to the urgency of reining in pesticide use.”

The findings come on the heels of a recent study published in the journal Science showing pesticide toxicity has more than doubled for many invertebrates since 2005. Despite reduced overall use of insecticides, the chemicals most commonly used today, including neonicotinoids, are increasingly toxic to beneficial insects and other invertebrates. Pesticides can linger in the soil for years or decades after they are applied, continuing to harm soil health.

The reviewed studies showed impacts on soil organisms that ranged from increased mortality to reduced reproduction, growth, cellular functions and even reduced overall species diversity. Despite these known harms, the Environmental Protection Agency does not require soil organisms to be considered in any risk analysis of pesticides. What’s more, the EPA gravely underestimates the risk of pesticides to soil health by using a species that spends its entire life aboveground — the European honeybee — to estimate harm to all soil invertebrates.

“Below the surface of fields covered with monoculture crops of corn and soybeans, pesticides are destroying the very foundations of the web of life,” said Dr. Nathan Donley, another co-author and scientist at the Center. “Study after study indicates the unchecked use of pesticides across hundreds of millions of acres each year is poisoning the organisms critical to maintaining healthy soils. But our regulators have been ignoring the harm to these important ecosystems for decades.”

Soil invertebrates provide a variety of essential ecosystem benefits such as cycling nutrients that plants need to grow, decomposing dead plants and animals so that they can nourish new life, and regulating pests and diseases. They’re also critical for the process of carbon conversion. As the idea of “regenerative agriculture” and using soil as a carbon sponge to help fight climate change gains momentum around the world, the findings of this study confirm that reducing pesticide use is a key factor in protecting the invertebrate ecosystem engineers that play a critical role in carbon sequestration in the soil.

“Pesticide companies are continually trying to greenwash their products, arguing for the use of pesticides in ‘regenerative’ or ‘climate-smart’ agriculture,” said Dr. Kendra Klein, a co-author who’s also a senior scientist at Friends of the Earth. “This research shatters that notion and demonstrates that pesticide reduction must be a key part of combatting climate change in agriculture.”

“We know that farming practices such as cover cropping and composting build healthy soil ecosystems and reduce the need for pesticides in the first place,” said co-author Dr. Aditi Dubey of the University of Maryland. “However, our farm policies continue to prop up a pesticide-intensive food system. Our results highlight the need for policies that support farmers to adopt ecological farming methods that help biodiversity flourish both in the soil and above ground.”

Background

The review paper looked at 394 published papers on the effects of pesticides on non-target invertebrates that have egg, larval or immature development in the soil. That review encompassed 275 unique species or groups of soil organisms and 284 different pesticide active ingredients or unique mixtures of pesticides.

The assessment analyzed how pesticides affected the following endpoints: mortality, abundance, richness and diversity, behavior, biochemical markers, impairment of reproduction and growth, and structural changes to the organism. This resulted in an analysis of more than 2,800 separate “cases” for analysis, measured as a change in a specific endpoint following exposure of a specific organism to a specific pesticide. It found that 71% of cases showed negative effects.

Negative effects were evident in both lab and field studies, across all studied pesticide classes, and in a wide variety of soil organisms and endpoints. Organophosphate, neonicotinoid, pyrethroid and carbamate insecticides, amide/anilide herbicides and benzimidazole and inorganic fungicides harmed soil organisms in more than 70% of cases reviewed.

Insecticides caused the most harm to nontarget invertebrates, with studies showing around 80% of tested endpoints negatively affected in ground beetles, ground nesting solitary bees, parasitic wasps, millipedes, centipedes, earthworms and springtails.

Herbicides and fungicides were especially detrimental to earthworms, nematodes and springtails.

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Septoria warning as high levels of latent disease found

11 May 2021 | by FarmingUK Team | ArableFarm ProductsNewsA robust T2 fungicide programme is advised to tackle the hidden threat, Corteva Agriscience saysA robust T2 fungicide programme is advised to tackle the hidden threat, Corteva Agriscience says    

A septoria warning has been issued to UK growers as high levels of latent disease has been found in plant samples.

Septoria pressure in wheat crops is expected to build in the coming weeks as warmer temperatures are set to follow early May rainfall.

Laboratory analysis of plant samples has shown high levels of latent septoria, which indicates disease pressure could be greater than expected following a cold dry April.

Corteva Agriscience warns that the conditions could be favourable for septoria to spread through crops ahead of key flag-leaf fungicide applications which take place from mid-May.

Sally Egerton, technical manager said: “In general cereal crops have looked reasonably clean and free from disease which led to T0 fungicides either being skipped, or rates being cut back.

“T1 fungicides are going on following very little rain so, again, programmes will have been adjusted according to the perceived level of disease prevalence.

“Now we are seeing reports of high levels of latent septoria infection which will spread with further rain events and the warmer temperature expected in the next 10-12 days.”

Microgenetics’ rapid test for septoria, SwiftDetect, indicates the level of infection using a traffic light system and log genome equivalents.

This helps farmers to understand their position before making a decision on the appropriate product and rate for a T2 fungicide spray.

Microgenetics said it had not been surprised by the number of positive samples sent in from fields across England and Wales, highlighting the importance of testing.

Chris Steele, the firm’s product manager, said they had detected latent septoria in over 400 samples sent to their laboratory since T1 applications took place.

“Many of the positive samples come from varieties which do not have a strong disease profile, and where growers might expect to find septoria present, even if it was not visible,” he said.

“We have also had positive samples from varieties which have excellent septoria ratings, which demonstrates the importance of testing before deciding on product choice and dose rate.

“Once temperatures get to 15 degrees and above, septoria can really get going,” Mr Steele said.

Corteva Agriscience has advised growers to use a robust product which will deliver lasting protection during a key growth stage of the crop.

Univoq fungicide, containing Inatreq active, was approved for sale and use in the UK last month and offers protectant control on all septoria strains.

The product is the first new target site for septoria control registered in the UK for 15 years.

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OPINION EXCHANGE 600042914

Minnesota is poised to lead an environmental breakthrough

Minnesota StarTribune

Pending bills would give communities local control over pesticides, safeguard protected wildlife areas and more. By Karin Winegar APRIL 6, 2021 — 5:29PM

NICOLE NERI • NICOLE.NERI@STARTRIBUNE.COMBees are one of the many pollinators harmed by pesticides.TEXT SIZEEMAILPRINTMORE

When I was a child in a southern Minnesota farm town, summers were filled with bird music, bee hum, firefly light and frog song. Then the city sprayed with what I presume was DDT. A great silence followed that fogger.

In 1962, marine biologist Rachel Carson’s bestseller “Silent Spring,” an indictment of DDT, appeared and led to a ban on the pesticide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972.

As an adult, I watched a growing range of chemicals being linked to rises in cancer, nerve damage, obesity, endocrine disruption, death and deformities (frogs, alligators) and die-offs (birds, pollinators, fish) in the natural world. As a journalist, I sometimes wrote about the effects of man-made chemicals and, in particular, the consequences of pesticide and herbicide use.

Now Minnesota stands on the cusp of passing some of the most enlightened legislation in the nation to protect human and ecosystem health. With a handful of bills slated to be heard in the Legislature, we may have reached a critical mass of scientific documentation, legislative smarts and public understanding that could result in a state that is cleaner, safer and healthier for people, pets and vital pollinators.

The pending bills give communities local control over pesticides (HF 718), set rules for pesticide-coated corn and soy seed to avoid contamination (HF 766), prohibit neonicotinoid systemic pesticides (aka “neonics”) and chlorpyrifos (insecticide) in protected wildlife areas (HF 1210), impose a statewide ban on chlorpyrifos (HF 670) and increase pollinator-lethal insecticide fees with revenue allocated to pollinator research (HF 408).

Decades of study by institutions including Cornell University, Harvard University’s School of Public Health, Rutgers University and consumer protection groups show correlations between pesticides and the current insect apocalypse, rises in cancer and pet illness and deaths, and damage to child development.

DDT may have gone, but neonics are far more powerful. Results of a study by the University Koblenz and Landau in Germany, published in Science magazine on April 1, finds “that the toxicity of applied insecticides to aquatic invertebrates and pollinators has increased considerably.”

“These are extremely challenging and complex issues, and Minnesota is offering a number of innovative ways to respond to much-needed protections,” says Aimée Code, pesticide program director of the nonprofit Xerces Society based in Portland, Ore. “Across the country people are seeking answers, and states are looking at what is happening in Minnesota. Minnesota has been creative in seeking solutions through such actions as the Lawns to Legumes program and efforts to label pesticides, to ratchet down pesticide use, to create more bio-sensitive and sustainable agriculture and to give farmers incentives to not use treated seed.

“Currently, [people] think pest control and pesticide are synonymous, and that pesticides should be a first line of defense, ” Code explained. “The vast majority of our invertebrates are foundational species that offer ecological services — everything from pest management, to help filtering our water, to pollination. Chemical pesticides have become ingrained in our agriculture and homeowner practices. We have to think of smarter solutions.”

As farmers, consumers and legislative bodies continue to get smarter about solutions, neonics were banned for outdoor use in the European Union in 2018. Legislation pending in New York, California, Alaska and Massachusetts would do likewise.

Mac Ehrhardt is co-owner of the Albert Lea Seed House, a third generation family firm that put certified organic seed on its menu in 1998. The latter is a small but increasing percentage of Seed House business, he says. And while a majority of farmers purchase seed there based on costs, others recognize the concerns around chemicals.

What is also new on the issue, Ehrhardt says, is “we are getting legislators brave enough to stand up and do what is right even though they know a percentage of constituents will be angry with them.”

The Minnesota bills reflect an understanding that what affects insects, plants and animals affects humans as well.

“The evidence is very clear that neonics can be found throughout the environment now in places they are not expected to be,” says Jonathan Lundgren, an agroecologist, director of ECDYSIS Foundation, CEO of Blue Dasher Farm in Estilline, S.D., and former U.S. Department of Agriculture award-winning entomologist. Lundgren’s recent study of white tail deer spleens demonstrates that the world’s most widely used pesticide class today has negative effects on mammals.

“This has implications for our ecosystem that farmers and legislators alike can appreciate. The response from the ag chem industry is to say their products are safe and helping farmers, but the data really doesn’t support that. Neonics and other chemicals simply aren’t necessary. Farmers are developing systems that make the pesticide question kind of moot. Regenerative farming is proving to be more resilient and more profitable. The scientists got it, and farmers are getting it.”

Karin Winegar, of St. Paul, is a freelance journalist and former Star Tribune staff writer.

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DMI resistance in wheat powdery mildew confirmed for the first time

Date: 17 Mar 2021

image of powdery mildew
Powdery mildew in a head of wheat. Photo: CCDM

New South Wales and Victorian grain growers are urged to be on alert following confirmation that difficulties experienced in 2020 controlling wheat powdery mildew are linked to resistance of the pathogen to demethylase inhibitor (DMI, Group 3) fungicides.

Fungicide resistance was detected at frequencies ranging from 50 to 100 per cent in samples collected from paddocks around Albury, Rennie, Balldale, Deniliquin and Jerilderie in NSW, and Cobram and Katamatite in Victoria.

Further sampling revealed a wider NSW distribution, from around Hillston and Yenda in south-west NSW, as well as Edgeroi and Wee Waa in northern NSW, in similar frequencies. This marks the first time that resistance in wheat powdery mildew to DMIs has been detected in Australia.

Researchers from the Fungicide Resistance Group at the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) – a co-investment by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Curtin University – confirmed the presence of DMI resistance in a range of samples sent by agronomists who were concerned about disease levels in their clients’ wheat crops during the 2020 season.

The wheat samples from across NSW and into Victoria were from predominantly Vixen and Scepter bread wheat varieties, and a lower number of durum wheat varieties.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) cereal pathologist Steven Simpfendorfer says he is not entirely surprised some level of resistance was detected, but is surprised by the high frequency of the detections. He describes the detections as alarming and a wake-up call for industry.

“These detections have occurred predominantly in high-value, irrigated cropping regions, which create ideal conditions for wheat powdery mildew disease development,” Dr Simpfendorfer says.

He says that the reliance on DMI fungicides by many growers in the region over many years contributed to selecting for the fungicide resistance detected during this past season.

Strong collaborative networks were key to the rapid detection of this case of wheat powdery mildew DMI resistance.

Agronomists and growers collected 40 samples from 20 paddocks across NSW and Victoria and these were analysed by CCDM researchers in the laboratory.

image of Powdery mildew on leaves
Powdery mildew on leaves in a wheat crop. Photo: CCDM

Director of the CCDM, Mark Gibberd, praised his colleagues and collaborators for how quickly and effectively they worked together to detect this case of resistance.

“Recent case studies of fungicide resistance detections in WA, South Australia and now Victoria and New South Wales, demonstrate the importance of strong relationships and cross-institutional collaboration to deliver robust results that growers can act on,” Professor Gibberd says.

CCDM researcher Steven Chang says genetic and phenotypic analyses of the wheat powdery mildew pathogen isolated from the samples showed a combination of mutations in the DMI fungicide target gene that were associated with the resistance observed to some DMIs. Additionally, all samples tested had some level of strobilurin fungicide (Group 11) resistance.

CCDM’s fungicide resistance group leader Fran Lopez-Ruiz says CCDM researchers have run a monitoring program for fungicide resistance in wheat powdery mildew for many years. Thanks to this, they could determine that the mutations now found in NSW and Victoria were the same as those previously detected in Tasmania and SA.

The Australian grains crop protection market is dominated by only three major mode of action (MoA) groups to combat diseases of grain crops in Australia: the DMIs (Group 3), SDHIs (Group 7) and strobilurins (or quinone outside inhibitors, QoIs, Group 11). Having so few MoA groups available for use increases the risk of fungicide resistance developing, as growers have very few alternatives to rotate in order to reduce selection pressure for these fungicide groups.

With two of the three fungicide MoA groups now compromised in some paddocks in NSW and Victoria, all growers need to take care to implement fungicide resistance management strategies to maximise their chances of effective and long-term disease control.

The Australian Fungicide Resistance Extension Network (AFREN), a GRDC investment, suggests an integrated approach tailored to local growing conditions. AFREN has identified the following five key actions, ‘The Fungicide Resistance Five’, to help growers maintain control over fungicide resistance, regardless of their crop or growing region:

  1. Avoid susceptible crop varieties
  2. Rotate crops – use time and distance to reduce disease carry-over
  3. Use non-chemical control methods to reduce disease pressure
  4. Spray only if necessary and apply strategically
  5. Rotate and mix fungicides/MoA groups

Growers and agronomists who suspect DMI reduced sensitivity or resistance should contact the CCDM’s Fungicide Resistance Group at frg@curtin.edu.au. Alternatively, contact a local regional plant pathologist or fungicide resistance expert to discuss the situation. A list of contacts is on the AFREN website.

Further information on fungicide resistance and its management in Australian grains crops is also available via the AFREN website.

Contact Details

For interviews

Steven Simpfendorfer, NSW DPI
0439 581 672
steven.simpfendorfer@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Kylie Ireland, Curtin University
(08) 9266 3541
ccdm@curtin.edu.au

Contact

Sharon Watt, GRDC
0409 675 100
sharon.watt@grdc.com.au

GRDC Project code: MSF2007-001SAX

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Japan finds fungicides on Taiwanese bananas

As Taiwan is increasing its export of pineapples to Japan due to China’s ban, due to high levels of fungicides, the Japanese ordered the removal of 750 boxes of Taiwanese bananas.

However, according to the US Department of Agriculture (CNA), the Agriculture and Food Administration of the Council of Agriculture (AFA) described the case as an isolated incident, which is unlikely to affect overall fruit exports to Japan.

A Japanese company called Wismettac Foods, Inc. announced on March 10 it was recalling Taiwan bananas due to the presence of 0.12 parts per million of the fungicide Pyraclostrobin, or six times the maximum level allowed.

AFA said a discovery of that type of fungicide was extremely rare. Wismettac had told consumers to return Taiwan bananas bought between March 1 and March 3. The Japanese had not sent the fruit back to Taiwan but destroyed them locally, according to AFA.

After a batch of Taiwanese bananas was turned away by a Japanese company on Wednesday (March 10) due to excessive quantities of the fungicide Pyraclostrobin, a toxicologist has suggested people wash bananas and oranges before eating them.

Taiwanese toxicologist suggests washing bananas
Director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology Yen Tsung-hai told reporters on Saturday that Pyraclostrobin is a fungicide with low toxicity that will not cause cancer.

Source: taiwannews.com.tw

Publication date: Mon 15 Mar 2021

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From PestNet

FEBRUARY 17, 2021

Neonicotinoid pesticide residues found in Irish honey

by Thomas Deane, Trinity College Dublin

honey
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Researchers from Trinity and Dublin City University found that Irish honey contained residues of neonicotinoid insecticides.

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used group of insecticides globally, used in plant protection products to control harmful insects.

Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides. Unlike contact pesticides, which remain on the surface of the treated parts of plants (e.g. leaves), systemic pesticides are taken up by the plant and transported throughout its leaves, flowers, roots and stems, as well as incorporated into pollen and nectar.

In the European Union, their use is now restricted due to concerns about risks to bees and other non-target organisms. At the time of sampling for this study, their use was still approved in Ireland for certain agricultural crops.

Key findings

  • Of 30 honey samples tested, 70% contained at least one neonicotinoid compound
  • Almost half (48%) the samples contained at least two neonicotinoids
  • Exposure to pesticides does not just occur in agricultural settings
  • This research for the first time has identified the presence of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiacloprid in Irish honey from a range of hive sites across a range of land use types
  • The proportion and concentration of neonicotinoids in honeys from both agricultural and urban habitats, compared with semi-natural or other land covers, suggests that exposure of bees to neonicotinoids can potentially occur in a variety of environments

Residue levels were below the admissible limits for human consumption according to current EU regulations, and thus pose no risk to human health.

However, the average concentration of one compound (imidacloprid) was higher than concentrations that have been shown in other studies to induce negative effects on honey and bumble bees.

Dr. Saorla Kavanagh, lead author on the study, currently working at the National Biodiversity Data Centre, said: “Given that these compounds have been shown to have adverse effects on honey bees, wild bees, and other organisms, their detection in honey is of concern, and potential contamination routes should be explored further.”

Professor Jane Stout, from Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, said: “These results suggest that bees and other beneficial insects are at risk of exposure to contaminants in their food across a range of managed habitats—not just in agricultural settings. And even though we found residues at low concentrations, prolonged exposure to sublethal levels of toxins can cause effects that are still not fully understood by scientists or regulators. Therefore, we shouldn’t relax restrictions on their use.”

Dr. Blánaid White, DCU, said: “Our findings are consistent with others from outside Ireland, and neonicotinoids unfortunately seem to be ubiquitous in honeys worldwide. It’s reassuring that residues do not exceed safe levels, but it is an important warning that neonicotinoids should not be reintroduced into Irish environments, as they could potentially cause health or environmental concerns.”


Explore furtherOn balance, some neonicotinoid pesticides could benefit bees: study


Provided by Trinity College Dublin

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