Protecting Canadian pulse crop market

Pulse Canada lists of pesticides growers need to talk to buyers about before applying or not use at all

To protect their markets Canadian pulse growers need to be aware of three pesticides — glyphosate, diquat (Reglone) and glufosinate — that either they need to talk to buyers about before applying, or not apply at all.

Pulse Canada’s maximum residue limits (MRL) advisory, updated in April, says farmers should talk to buyers before applying glyphosate to the following crops: peas, lentils, chickpeas, dry beans and fababeans.

Canada’s MRLs for peas and lentils are lower than those in the European Union and the United States, but nevertheless glyphosate residues are being increasingly scrutinized, Greg Bartley, Pulse Canada’s director of crop protection and quality said during a webinar May 20.

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“We do know of grain buyers, and that market signals are saying, that some people do not want product that has been treated with glyphosate,” he said. “That is a marketing risk that is being communicated through this advisory, therefore, we encourage you to talk to your grain buyer before you use this product.”

Pulse Canada has three categories for pesticides — Green, Amber and Red.

Why it matters: Pesticides, especially those that leave detectable levels on seeds used for food, are increasingly being scrutinized by buyers in response to consumer concerns.

Pesticides in the Green category pose no market concerns due to pesticide residues. The Amber category means farmers need to be informed by talking to pulse buyers and products in the Red category shouldn’t be applied because of the risk they pose to markets.

There are some potential issues with glyphosate residues on chickpeas, dry beans and fababeans in some major export markets.

Canada’s MRL for dry beans is lower than the Codex (international standard) and the United States, Bartley said.

“That being said, in the dry bean industry we have already seen a shift away from glyphosate brought on by the buyers,” he said. “Especially in Ontario we have received the indication that the majority of buyers, if not all buyers, do not accept pre-harvest glyphosate on dry beans anymore, therefore, regardless of the MRL situation the buyers are making the restriction and again you need to talk to your buyer to see if it is acceptable or not.”

Diquat, a desiccant, is in the Amber category for peas, lentils, chickpeas, dry beans and fababeans. The main reason is the low MRL in the U.S., Bartley said. Farmers should talk to buyers before applying diquat to those crops, he said.

Glufosinate, another desiccant, is in the Red — don’t use — category for lentils in Western Canada.

“It means there is an elevated risk of trade disruptions and treated grain will not be accepted by grain buyers,” Bartley said. “Again, we are advising farmers not to use this product on lentils this cropping season.”

Glufosinate shouldn’t be applied to peas, chickpeas, dry beans or fababeans because it’s not registered for use on those crops. Only registered pesticides should be applied to crops and in a manner prescribed on the product label.

Glufosinate is registered for use on dry beans in Eastern Canada, but it’s in the Amber — talk to buyers — category.

When applying herbicides for pre-harvest weed control, or desiccants, farmers must adhere to pre-harvest interval, which is the minimum number of days between when a product is applied and when the crop can be swathed or straight combined, Bartley said.

“I want to make the differential here that it’s not harvest, it’s the cutting of the crop,” he said.

Bartley also emphasized glyphosate is for weed control, not drying crops, and should only be applied when a crop is less than 30 per cent moisture.

More information for farmers is available at: keepingitclean.ca.


Tips to keep pulses market ready

Use acceptable pesticides only
Only apply pesticides that are both registered for use on your crop in Canada and won’t create trade concerns. Talk to your grain buyer to ensure the products you are using are acceptable to both domestic and export customers and read the 2020 Pulse MRL Advisory.

Always read and follow the label
Always follow the label for application rate, timing and pre-harvest interval (PHI). Applying pesticides or desiccants without following the label directions is illegal and may result in unacceptable residues.

For example, glyphosate should only be applied for pre-harvest weed control once grain moisture is less than 30 per cent in the least mature areas of the crop. (See the Keep it Clean! staging guide)

Manage disease pressures
An integrated disease management plan is important to maintain yield and profitability and can help protect Canada’s reputation as a supplier of high-quality pulses.

Store your crop properly
Proper storage helps to maintain crop quality and keeps the bulk free of harmful cross-contaminants.

Make sure your storage bins are free of treated seed and animal protein like blood meal and bone meal.

Clean bins thoroughly prior to storing your crop.

Only use approved bin treatments (e.g. diatomaceous earth on cereals).

Never use malathion to prepare canola for storage or to treat bins used to store canola. Its residue can linger for months, so do not store canola in a bin treated with malathion in the current growing season.

Condition crops to moisture and temperature levels safe for long-term storage.

Keep bins cool, dry, well ventilated and check their condition regularly.

Deliver what you declare
When you sign the mandatory Declaration of Eligibility affidavit at the elevator, you are making a legal assertion that your crop is the variety and/or class you have designated and that it was not treated with the crop input products specified in the declaration.

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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