As part of the regular review process, Health Canada has completed its re-evaluation of imidacloprid, and has published its draft risk assessment for public comment. The assessment proposes current use of imidacloprid is not sustainable, and the levels of this pesticide that are being found in waterways and aquatic environments are harmful to aquatic insects, such as mayflies and midges, which are important food sources for fish, birds and other animals.
Concentrations of imidacloprid in surface water can range from non-detectable to, in some rare cases, levels as high as 11.9 parts per billion, according to Health Canada. Scientific evidence indicates levels above 0.041 parts per billion are a concern.
To address the risks identified, Health Canada has published a proposed risk management plan for public comment, which includes a proposed three-year phase-out of agricultural uses of imidacloprid in order to address risks to aquatic insects. In some cases, where there are no alternative pest control products available, a longer phase-out transition period of five years is being proposed.
In a press release, Health Canada said it is consulting on these proposed mitigation measures, and the final re-evaluation decision and risk management plan will take into consideration any comments received during the consultations.
The consultation phase includes a 90-day commentary period in addition to a multi-stakeholder forum that will discuss any proposals for potential alternative mitigation strategies that would achieve the same outcomes in a similar timeframe.
Any proposals for continued registration will need to clearly demonstrate concrete actions to ensure levels of imidacloprid in water will be reduced below the level of concern.
Based on the findings of the re-evaluation assessment on imidacloprid, Health Canada is also launching special reviews for two other widely used neonicotinoids: clothianidin and thiamethoxam. These special reviews will examine any potential risks these pesticides may pose to aquatic invertebrates, including insects, as they are also being detected frequently in aquatic environments.
In the press release, Health Canada said it will provide updates as new information becomes available.
Bayer has launched Velum Prime nematicide, the first non-fumigant nematicide registered for potatoes in Canada.
Velum Prime is a new mode of action and chemical class (pyridinyl ethyl benzamide) for nematode protection. It offers growers effective nematode protection that helps sustain plant vigor and maximize crop yield potential, according to a press release.
Recent trials of Velum Prime demonstrated consistent yield and quality increases and reduction in plant parasitic nematodes, including root lesion, root knot and potato cyst nematode.
Velum Prime is applied in-furrow at planting. It comes in a liquid formulation that offers reliable efficacy at low application rates making it ideal for use with existing in-furrow application equipment. Applied in-furrow, Velum Prime offers the added benefit of early blight protection.
Maximum residue limits for Velum Prime applied in-furrow are in place supporting trade in North America and Europe. Additional MRLs supporting trade in other key export countries, including Japan, are expected early in 2017.
For more information regarding Velum Prime, growers are encouraged to talk to their local retailer or visit cropscience.bayer.ca/VelumPrime.
1. From 2011-2014, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) conducted a re-evaluation of the fungicide chlorothalonil.
2. On Nov. 1, 2014, PMRA issued a proposed re-evaluation decision proposing the continued registration for the sale and use of products containing chlorothalonil in Canada. Their evaluation of available scientific information found that products containing chlorothalonil did not present unacceptable risks to human health or the environment when used according to label directions.
3. On Feb. 11, 2016, PMRA issued an amended proposed re-evaluation decision. While some agricultural uses of chlorothalonil do not present unacceptable risks to human health, new risk-reduction measures have been proposed. The most important for potato growers is the number of sprays, which will be reduced from 12 to one per growing season.
4. This amendment to the proposed re-evaluation decision is a consultation document.
6. Before the final re-evaluation decision, PMRA will consider all comments received in response to the proposed re-evaluation decision released in November 2014 and the amendment released in February 2016. PMRA has stated that: A science-based approach will be applied in making a final decision on chlorothalonil.
The Action Plan
The re-evaluation of chlorothalonil affects all horticulture crops in Ontario. Crag Hunter, from OFVGA, is one of the most knowledgeable pesticide experts in North America. He will be writing a response to PMRA and has agreed to give a 15-minute update at the Potato Conference on March 1.
The Ontario Potato Board is actively working with other growers’ organizations to send to PMRA science-based comments to ensure that the number of chlorothalonil applications per year on potatoes is not reduced.
Feb. 12, 2016, Canada – Double Nickel biofungicide is now available for use by Canadian growers of fruiting and leafy vegetables, potatoes, grapes, strawberries, tree fruit and other crops. Double Nickel represents a new generation of fungicides and bactericides that have biologically based active ingredients, are of low risk to the environment and are sustainable crop protection solutions, according to a press release. Manufactured by Certis USA, Double Nickel is registered for use in five countries, including the U.S. where it has been used by American growers for more than two years.
Double Nickel is a naturally occurring strain (D747) of the beneficial rhizobacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. B. amyloliquefaciens rapidly colonizes roots, leaves and other plant surfaces to prevent establishment of disease-causing fungi and bacteria, such as powdery mildew, Botrytis, bacterial disorders, damping off, and root and crown diseases, such as ythium, rhizoctonia, Fusarium and sclerotinia.
The release adds that Double Nickel uses multiple non-toxic modes of action to control and suppress diseases. 1) Its metabolites kill fungal pathogens by damaging cell membranes. 2) The metabolites control bacterial pathogens by disrupting cell walls. 3) Double Nickel triggers a SAR/ISR response from the plant prompting it to defend itself against pathogens. 4) Double Nickel prevents infection from pathogens through competitive exclusion. These multiple modes of action make the FRAC 44 biofungicide highly effective in the field.
Double Nickel is of low risk to bees and beneficials, according to the press release. It has a four-hour re-entry, can be applied up to and including the day of harvest, at low use rates. Double Nickel is residue exempt, so there are no minimum residue level (MRL) issues limiting the export of treated crops.
The biofungicide is available as Double Nickel 55 WDG and in a liquid concentrate (LC) formulation. Double Nickel 55 leaves no visible residue on the crop.
Double Nickel 55 WDG and Double Nickel LC will be distributed exclusively by UAP Canada.
Jan. 27, 2016, Canada – Syngenta Canada Inc. has launched Orondis Ultra, a new fungicide for the control of oomycete diseases caused by downy mildews and Phytophthora species in potatoes and vegetables.
Orondis Ultra is a combination of the newly registered active ingredient, oxathiapiprolin, which belongs to the piperidinyl-thiazole-isoxazolines (Group U15) class of fungicides, and mandipropamid (Group 40).
In field trials, oxathiapiprolin has demonstrated excellent preventative and residual control at low use rates. Other benefits of oxathiapiprolin include no known cross-resistance to other fungicides and excellent rainfastness.
Orondis Ultra aims to deliver translaminar and acropetal activity, moving across the leaf surface, as well as upwards into new growth via the plant’s water-conducting vessels. Both modes of action work in tandem to protect the growing canopy, protecting plants during periods of active growth.
Applied preventatively in potatoes, Orondis Ultra delivers 21 days of residual late blight control, according to a press release. Late blight, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, is the single most damaging potato disease. The strong late blight control provided by Orondis Ultra allows growers to increase fungicide spray intervals and potentially reduce the overall number of fungicide applications targeting late blight.
In addition to potatoes, Orondis Ultra can be used on head and stem brassica vegetables including broccoli and cabbage, bulb vegetables, such as onion and garlic, leafy vegetables, such as arugula and celery, and cucurbit vegetables, including cucumber and squash. See the Orondis UItra label for a complete list of crops and diseases.
Orondis Ultra will be available for sale in spring 2016.
Nov. 10, 2015 – It is never too early to find out about the new crop-protection products, reminds Eugenia Banks, potato specialist at OMAFRA, in her latest potato update.
These new products were recently registered and should be available for the 2016 season. Here is a list of pesticides, some with new active ingredients:
|Trade name||Application method||Disease or insect|
(Syngenta) Group 7
|In-furrow||*Suppression of Rhizoctonia stem canker, stolon canker and black scurf|
(BASF) Group 7
|Foliar and aerial||Control of early blight and white mould.
Use of a non-ionic surfactant is recommended
(BASF) Group 7
Control of Rhizoctonia canker
Group 3A and 28
Control of black curworm, variegated cutworm, armyworm, potato psyllid
(Syngenta) Group 6
Control of potato psyllid and spider mites (not a pest in Ontario)
Control is at least 85 per cent control
*Suppression is 65 to 85 per cent control
"May provide some control" is less than 65 per cent control.
There are also label changes to some registered products. For instance, the label of Rampart (phosphite) has been expanded to a foliar application for suppression of late blight and pink rot. In general, any product that suppresses late blight should be tank mixed with a compatible control product. A better approach would be to tank mix two compatible control products. If the weather is favorable for late blight, this disease can explode and devastate potato fields very quickly.
There are new registrations for potato psyllids. This tiny insect is the vector of the bacterium that causes zebra chip. This past season, I placed several yellow sticky cards in three Alliston fields to monitor for potato psyllids, but no potato psyllids were caught on the cards. In the past, this insect has been reported in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec. Psyllids were found in Ontario a few years ago, but only in a greenhouse, not in the field. It is always good to have registered products available for the control of potential pests. There will be more updates to come as new products are registered.
Seed potato pieces are at risk of invasion by pathogens that can cause serious emergence and stand problems. Liquid seed-piece treatments are a fairly new option for dealing with some of these pathogens. Dr. Gary Secor, a plant pathologist at North Dakota State University, offers potato growers a set of best management practices (BMPs) for these liquid treatments.
One of the more than 70 USDA studies in Maine looking at the effects of crops like mustard, rapeseed and barley in potato rotations. Photo by USDA-ARS
If you’re dealing with some tough soil-borne diseases, adding canola, mustard or rapeseed to your potato rotation could help.
That important finding emerged from recent potato rotation studies in Maine, led by Dr. Bob Larkin, a research plant pathologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Over the last 12 years or so, the USDA researchers have conducted more than 70 trials to investigate the effects of different rotations on soil-borne diseases in potatoes and on potato yields. Although the results varied from year to year and field to field, overall, Larkin and his research team found that crops in the Brassicaceae family, such as canola, rapeseed and mustard, consistently reduced potato diseases like black scurf, common scab and Verticillium wilt, and significantly improved potato yields.
Now researchers in Atlantic Canada will be examining the effects of Brassica crops as part of a major potato rotation project.
Larkin explains there are three general mechanisms by which rotation crops may reduce soil-borne diseases – and Brassica crops likely act in all three ways.
“The first mechanism is that the rotation crop serves as a break in the host-pathogen cycle,” he says. “This mechanism is in effect any time you have a rotation crop that does not have the same pathogens as your host crop. This is a general strategy of increasing rotation length by adding other types of crops. The longer the time between your host crop, the more its pathogen population declines.”
“The second mechanism is where the rotation crop causes physical, chemical or biological changes in the soil environment,” Larkin says. “It may stimulate microbial activity and diversity, it may increase beneficial organisms, and things like that, which then help compete with pathogens and reduce pathogen populations.” This mechanism varies with different rotation crops.
“The third mechanism is where the rotation crop has a direct inhibiting effect on either particular pathogens or general pathogens,” he says. The rotation crop may release suppressive or toxic compounds in its roots or residues, or it may release compounds that stimulate certain beneficial microbes that suppress pathogens. Only some crop species have this mechanism.
The first mechanism by itself may not be very effective for controlling some soil-borne pathogens that can survive for many years without a host plant.
Brassicas are well-known for the third mechanism. They contain compounds called glucosinolates, and when Brassica plant materials are incorporated into the soil, the glucosinolates break down to produce other compounds, called isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates are biofumigants that are toxic to many soil fungi, especially fungal pathogens, weeds, nematodes and other pests.
Larkin’s research shows Brassica biofumigant activity is greatest when the crop is incorporated into the soil as a green manure. However, even when a Brassica crop is harvested and then the remaining crop residues are incorporated, there is still some biofumigant effect. The amount of the biofumigant effect also depends on the Brassica crop’s glucosinolate levels; canolas have relatively low levels, rapeseeds somewhat higher, and mustards have the highest.
“With any of those Brassicas, you will get some benefit from incorporating the crop residues. And it is a measurable and real effect on both potato yield and on reduction of potato diseases,” he notes.
As well, Larkin’s studies indicate Brassicas also provide the second mechanism.
“Brassicas seem to have an ability to alter soil microbial communities in different ways which is not necessarily related to their amount of glucosinolates or their ability to act as a biofumigant. I think the aspect of how they change the soil microbiology is equally important to their biofumigant effect,” he says.
For example, the USDA researchers found that canola and rapeseed sometimes do a better job at reducing black scurf (Rhizoctonia solani) than some of the higher glucosinolate mustards, and the effect on black scurf works even without incorporating the Brassica crop.
However, Larkin’s studies also show that managing some other diseases – like powdery scab (Spongospora subterranean) and Verticillium wilt – requires a full green manure.
Two-year rotation is too short
If disease suppression is a major goal of your potato rotation, then Larkin’s research results provide some key factors to consider.
First, a Brassica’s disease suppression effect won’t last forever, so the potato crop should immediately follow the Brassica in the rotation to get the greatest benefit.
Second, a two-year rotation will not effectively reduce disease in the long run. Larkin found that no matter what crop was in a two-year rotation with potatoes, certain pathogens tended to build up over time.
For example, in one 10-year study the researchers compared two-year rotations in fields where common scab and Verticillium wilt were not problems at the beginning of the period. But by the end of the study, both diseases had become substantial problems in all of the two-year rotations. The canola-potato and rapeseed-potato rotations had significantly lower disease levels than the other rotations, but they still had gradually increasing amounts of common scab and Verticillium wilt.
“So we recommend a three-year rotation as your first line of defence, and then including a disease-suppressive rotation crop in one of the years of that three-year rotation,” Larkin says.
A Brassica green manure could be a good choice for the disease-suppressive crop, or you could grow a Brassica as a full-season crop and follow it with a disease-suppressive cover crop. “The addition of a cover crop like winter rye or ryegrass, in combination with your Brassica, can provide a significant addition to the disease reduction,” he notes.
Even though the grower would not be earning any direct income from a green manure or a cover crop, these options can be valuable tools to get serious soil-borne disease problems under control.
“That’s really how we first got into this research,” Larkin explains. “Some potato growers [in Maine] had some soils with substantial disease problems, and they wanted to try whatever they could to get those soils back to where their potatoes would be producing better. So they were willing to give up a seasonal crop for a year or two, to try to get the pathogen populations down to controllable levels.” (Two seasons of a green manure might be necessary if the field has very high pathogen populations.)
A third factor to consider is whether the rotation crops share any pathogens with potatoes. In Maine, the only shared pathogen that increased in potato-Brassica rotation trials was sclerotinia.
In his own studies, Larkin hasn’t had any sclerotinia issues because sclerotinia is not common in Maine potato fields. However, a researcher at the University of Maine found two fields with sclerotinia and did some rotational trials there. Sclerotinia increased in those two fields when canola or rapeseed was in a rotation with potatoes.
“So if you have a field with a history of sclerotinia problems, then a Brassica may not be the best rotation crop for you,” says Larkin. Alternatively, adding a cereal crop to a potato-Brassica rotation may help because cereals are not susceptible to sclerotinia.
Maritimes rotation project
The major potato rotation project now underway in Atlantic Canada is examining various crop options including canola and some other Brassicas.
Dr. Aaron Mills, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in P.E.I., is leading the project. He is conducting trials at AAFC’s Harrington Research Farm in the province, involving nine different three-year rotations.
The project is funded under Growing Forward 2, with support from AAFC and the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance Inc. McCain Fertilizer division is collaborating by conducting a similar study in New Brunswick.
Generally, the project’s three-year rotations involve a year of potatoes, a year of another high-value crop, and a year of a more diverse crop mix or a biofumigant crop. “We’re looking at canola, soybean and corn [as the high-value crops], and at other, more diversified phases in the rotation, including blends of a Brassica, a grass and a legume all planted at the same time,” Mills explains.
He notes, “The canola acreage is increasing slightly in Prince Edward Island, it is one of the higher-value oilseed crops, and it does very well under our climate. And it’s important to diversify the cropping system, so if you can add in a different crop and it’s a higher value crop, then that’s a win-win situation.
“Canola has also been touted to have some biofumigatory effects, and the Brassicas in general produce certain compounds shown to have effects on diseases and insect pests,” Mills says. “Buckwheat is another [crop that supresses pests], based on research by my colleague Dr. Christine Noronha, so we’re also including buckwheat in the trials.”
Mills and his research team will be scouting all the crops in the different rotations for disease and insect pests. Sclerotinia is one of the issues they’ll particularly watch for. Mills notes, “We are starting to see an increase in sclerotinia [in P.E.I.], and a lot of the higher value crops in these rotations are hosts for sclerotinia.”
Along with collecting data on crop yields, diseases and insect pest issues, the researchers will also be monitoring such factors as crop biomass and soil organisms including nematodes. And Dr. Judith Nyiraneza, an AAFC nutrient management specialist, will be tracking nutrient dynamics in the soil.
The researchers conducted preliminary work in 2013, and 2014 was the project’s first full year. The current funding will take the project to 2017-18, but Mills hopes to run it for nine to 12 years. “You can’t really look at the trends until you get at least a couple of phases of each rotation. So one of the big determinants for the project’s success is how long we can run the rotations,” he says.
Putting it all together
The effects of different rotation crops on potato diseases and yields may differ somewhat from region to region. Mills emphasizes the importance of evaluating rotations in different regions: “P.E.I. soils are different than those in Ontario or out west, and how the crops respond is not exactly the same.”
Mills’ overall advice for effective potato rotations is that more diversity is better. “From what we’ve seen so far with some of our other studies, it’s all about increasing the crop diversity. You can increase the length of the rotation by adding different crops. Or, if you have a shorter rotation, you can increase [the in-year diversity]. That seems to show some benefits to the soil and to the organic matter especially,” he says.
Similarly, Larkin advises using multiple rotation-related practices for enhanced disease suppression. Examples include: increasing the rotation’s length, adding crops that also have the second and third mechanisms of disease suppression, and including cover crops and green manures.
His research shows that, although these practices will not completely eliminate potato diseases, they will reduce soil-borne potato diseases and improve potato yields.
As well, these kinds of sustainable practices provide other long-term benefits for a farm’s production capacity and potential longevity. These benefits include improving overall soil health, enhancing soil microbial diversity and activity, increasing soil organic matter and building a healthier agro-ecosystem. “All these practices are components of making a better, more sustainable system,” Larkin says.
For potato growers in Maine, Larkin’s general rotation recommendation is “a three-year rotation, with one year of a grain such as barley, then a cover crop like ryegrass or winter rye, then a Brassica, which could be a mustard green manure or a harvestable oilseed Brassica crop, and then potato in the third year of the rotation.”
He notes, “That recommendation is based on a lot of different studies looking at what is the best system for reducing disease, what is the best system for improving soil quality. Now [in our current studies] we are trying to combine those into a rotation that incorporates aspects of all of those things and seeing if it really does everything we hoped it would.”
Dr. Pam Hutchinson found that greatest injury to the Ranger Russet mother crop was from glyphosate applied at hooking. No injury was found at the mid-bulking stage.. Phot courtesy of Dr. Pam Hutchinson.
Applying phosphorous acid post-harvest may prevent the spread of disease in storage. Photo courtesy of Steven Johnson.
Aug. 6, 2014, Canada – Syngenta Canada Inc. has introduced Stadium post-harvest fungicide for potatoes during storage. When used as part of a full-season, integrated disease prevention program, the company says Stadium is meant to help prevent the spread of two devastating storage diseases, silver scurf and Fusarium dry rot.
While storage diseases are not curable, pathogens can be controlled by limiting the spread of infection from diseased to healthy tubers. Stadium is powered by three active ingredients: fludioxonil (Group 12), azoxystrobin (Group 11) and difenoconazole (Group 3) for the control of Fusarium and suppression of silver scurf.
Fusarium (Fusarium spp.) is a seed- and soil-borne fungus that can spread rapidly in storage. Fusarium dry rot occurs in newly harvested tubers when they are wounded and come into contact with the fungus. The disease enters the tuber at the injury point and, if left untreated, can cause excessive rotting of the tuber tissue.
Silver scurf (Helminthosporium solani) is both seed- and soil-borne, with seed-borne silver scurf being more prevalent. Seed-borne silver scurf can spread in a manner similar to Fusarium – through contaminated soil, equipment and debris.
Appropriate storage conditions are an important part of disease management. In their absence, poor storage conditions can encourage disease to spread from infected to healthy tubers and tuber quality may be compromised due to skin blemishes and excessive shrinkage caused by water loss.
Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in potato products for export to a number of countries outside of North America have been established for the active ingredients in Stadium; however, they are not harmonized with North American levels. Prior to application, Syngenta advises growers to check with their potato buyer regarding Stadium use. It should also be noted that Stadium is not registered for use on seed potatoes.
For more information about Stadium post-harvest fungicide, please contact your local Syngenta representative or visit SyngentaFarm.ca.
May 27, 2014, Regina – FMC has received registration for bifenthrin, the active ingredient in Capture insecticide, for potato growers.
Wireworms have become one of the major pests in potatoes for numerous growing regions of Canada (see the Potatoes in Canada Summer edition cover story).
“In potatoes, Capture insecticide is to be used as an in-furrow spray application at-planting," according to Mark McMillan, FMC's business manager for Eastern Canada, in a press release. This spray application is meant to create a zone of protection around the mother tuber and developing daughter tubers later in the season.
Capture will be distributed by UAP.
April 4, 2014, Guelph, Ont. – Reason, a foliar potato fungicide from Bayer CropScience Canada, is now registered for use as a seed piece treatment. When applied as a seed piece treatment, the company says Reason provides protection against seed-borne late blight. Now, Reason can be used to protect against late blight and early blight through foliar applications and for seed-borne late blight protection.
As a seed-piece treatment Reason can be used alone when late blight is a threat or as a tank mix with Titan and/or Titan Emesto, according to a press release from Bayer.
Feb. 20, 2014, Guelph, Ont. – Syngenta Canada Inc. has received registration for Cruiser Maxx Potato Extreme seed treatment for use on potato crops in Canada. The all-in-one liquid pre-mix delivers a concentrated formulation that is simple and convenient to use and provides reliable protection from seed-borne diseases and early-season insects.
Cruiser Maxx Potato Extreme contains three active ingredients for comprehensive control, according to a press release from Syngenta. The Group 4 insecticide, thiamethoxam, works systemically to provide broad-spectrum performance. "In the plant, it is translocated via the plant's water-conducting system where it remains active for up to 100 days. Cruiser Maxx Potato Extreme provides two modes of action against disease," the release stated. "The combination of Group 3 fungicide, difenoconazole, and Group 12 fungicide, fludioxonil, offer a broad spectrum of control, including protection from silver scurf, Rhizoctonia control, and a second mode of action against resistant Fusarium."
Feb. 19, 2014, Guelph, Ont. – Bayer CropScience Canada has received registration for Serenade Soil, a new biological fungicide for fruit and vegetable crops, including potatoes. With a unique mode of action (FRAC Group 44), the company says Serenade Soil creates a disease protection zone around the seed and roots. The beneficial bacteria in the fungicide grow with the plant, expanding the disease protection zone and creating armor for the seed and the roots against common soil diseases like rhizoctonia and pythium. The mode of action is exempted from maximum residue limits, and has a zero day pre-harvest interval, according to a Bayer press release.
"Studies have shown that because Serenade Soil helps activate the plant’s natural defense mechanism it improves root colonization, increases efficiency of photosynthesis, and improves plant growth," the press release said. Its liquid formulation allows for tank-mixing with both fungicide and insecticide products.
For more information, visit BayerCropScience.ca
Jan. 10, 2014, Mississauga – BASF Canada has received regulatory approval for Outlook, a new herbicide for potato growers.
As the amount and timing of rainfall becomes more variable, the company says Outlook will provide consistent control of nightshade, pigweed and annual grasses, even under drier conditions. Outlook is a Group 15 herbicide, which controls both triazine and Group 2-resistant biotypes whose populations continue to increase across the country.
Outlook contains the active ingredient Dimethenamid-P which inhibits weed root and shoot growth, controlling susceptible weeds before they emerge from the soil. Outlook is applied after potatoes are planted but before they emerge from the soil.
Growers have been waiting for another option for managing rhizoctonia and now one is available. DuPont is releasing Vertisan this spring and the bonus is it contains new chemistry within Group 7 products. It also offers management of early blight as a foliar spray, giving growers another option for early blight.
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