Manipulator OK’d for 2018 crop, progress on quinclorac

The list of products exporters don’t want farmers using on their crops is being revised

The list of chemicals Canadian farmers shouldn’t apply to their crops because they put markets at risk is expected to be shorter this growing season.

Manipulator (chlormequat chloride), a plant growth regulator, has received a maximum residue limit (MRL) in the United States and an international MRL is expected to be set in July for the cleavers-controlling herbicide quinclorac.

Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) member-companies are looking at dropping Manipulator from their list of forbidden products on 2018-19 declaration forms farmers must sign before delivering the new crop, association executive director Wade Sobkowich said in an interview April 26.

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“I’m getting a lot of positive signals that it’s going to come off the declaration for the upcoming year,” Sobkowich said. “A final decision hasn’t been made by all my members yet, but it’s looking like it could be removed for the next crop year (starting Aug. 1).”

Cereals Canada is taking Manipulator off its ‘Keep it Clean’ list of products farmers shouldn’t use.

“From our perspective this is a market risk that has been resolved,” Cereals Canada president Cam Dahl said in an interview April 27.

Manipulator, which was registered for use on Canadian wheat in September 2015, will be commercially available this spring, Tom Tregunno, Engage Agro’s product manager for Manipulator, said in an interview April 27.

“Now that it is official we can start getting it out to the appropriate retailers and distribution,” he said.

“I think we’re probably going to be a little bit short (of supply) this season, or at least that’s what I am hearing anyway.

“So we’re going to do some more field work this year and do some more field promotion and then hopefully it will be available broadly next season.” (see further down)

Manipulator is accepted in many world markets, but because the U.S. didn’t have until recently an MRL the residue tolerance was zero. If Canadian wheat was found with any residue it had the potential to shut down exports to that major market.

Dahl said Engage Agro deserves credit for not marketing Manipulator widely available in Canada earlier even though it could do so legally.

“I really want to make sure that’s recognized,” he said.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, which oversees international MRLs, is expected to officially adopt a quinclorac MRL in July, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) said in an April 23 news release.

However, it warned farmers to contact their grain buyer before using quinclorac in 2018 “as processors and grain handlers remain concerned about market risk,” the release says.

“Processors and exporters have indicated that until the report is formally adopted, they will not commit to accepting canola treated with quinclorac in 2018. Growers are advised to contact their grain buyer directly before using quinclorac in 2018 or to use other cleavers control methods.

Access to technology and stable trade are both high priorities, CCC president Jim Everson said in the release.

“Ensuring that exported canola meets the requirements of our foreign markets, including with respect to pesticide residues, is of utmost importance to the value chain,” he said. “We look forward to the formal adoption of the MRL this summer,” he said.

“If it’s (quinclorac) approved in July, as recommended, then WGEA members would be making decisions individually as to whether or not to remove it (from their producer declaration forms)… ” Sobkowich said.

Other products still on the prohibited list include the canola fungicide Quash (metconazole), the fungicide Veto (fluoxastrobin) in soybeans and the herbicide Heat (saflufenacil) on flax.

With Canadian grain farmers depending so heavily on exports it’s important growers ensure they aren’t using products that aren’t approved in those countries or that residues of approved products don’t exceed the MRLs, Dahl said.

“It is worth reinforcing that things like (the toxin) DON (deoxynivalenol) and pesticide residues, especially glyphosate, they’re coming under more and more and more scrutiny all the time,” he said. “And that is the message of ‘keeping it clean’ — we need to take really active steps to make sure that the labels are followed rigorously and we are taking the steps necessary to limit the DON and ochratoxin in storage and some of those other mycotoxins. The impact extends well beyond the farm gate.”

Sometimes residues of approved products are used as a non-tariff trade barrier. For example, Italian farmers have convinced domestic processors to not import Canadian durum wheat because it might have glyphosate residues. As a result, Canada has lost a major durum customer.

Canada’s grain sector believes the Italian action is illegal and wants the Canadian government to take action.

For more information, visit ‘Keep it Clean’.


Manipulator reduces wheat lodging

Manipulator growth regulator makes wheat shorter, resulting in less lodging and Manitoba is expected to be an important market for it, says Tom Tregunno, Engage Agro’s product manager for Manipulator.

“It depends on the variety, but if you’re pushing your genetics with good fertility, you’re getting conditions that are conducive to lodging, plant growth regulators — they’re not a silver bullet, they can’t eliminate it — they definitely reduce it and it helps maintain that yield and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” he said April 27 in an interview.

It’s hard to predict lodging, but according to Tregunno even in its absence Manipulator will cover its own cost.

“The best results are seen with guys pushing for 80 bushels an acre (wheat),” he said. “When you’re in that 80-bushel range it really does keep it standing.”

Application timing is flexible going from the two- to flag-leaf stage, but the optimum time is the two- to six-leaf stage, he added.

“Plant growth regulators don’t shrink a crop, they prevent it from elongating,” Tregunno said. “You get the best bang for your buck when the plant is doing the most elongating. But it does still work at later stages.”

Having to restrict Manipulator sales for almost four years was a challenge, but one Engage Agro accepted aware of the potential negative impact the product could have on Canadian wheat exports to the United States, he said.

“As an organization we said, ‘we’re going to hold this one back,’ which we did,” Tregunno said. “It was bizarre. It happens. It’s going to happen more to be honest.

“It’s sorted out now and so it’s good.”

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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