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Pesticides on the Defense

EPA reviews put popular chemicals under the magnifying glass

Every year, dozens of active ingredients in fungicides, herbicides and insecticides undergo regulatory review and are at risk of being pulled off the market. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews each registered pesticide at least every 15 years to ensure it still meets the most up-to-date science available. Three common active ingredients planted on millions of acres—pyrethroids, chlorpyrifos and atrazine—are currently under, have recently emerged from review or will be entering the process soon.

EPA Promises 'Back to Basics' Approach

In a meeting with Pennsylvania coal miners at the Harvey Mine in Sycamore, Pa., EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced the agency’s new Back-to-Basics agenda. This agenda will refocus EPA on its intended mission, siphon off some of its current power to the states and create an environment in which jobs can grow, according to Pruitt.

EPA Denies Activists' Petition to Cancel Chlorpyrifos

Following a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review, chlorpyrifos will stay on the market. The insecticide has been on the market for more than 50 years and is used in close to 100 countries on 50 crops.

In 2007 Dow AgroSciences’ chlorpyrifos were forced into an early review when two activist groups filed a petition with EPA to revoke tolerances and cancel EPA registrations for the product in 2007.

Is 2017 Due for a 'Rootworm Rebound'?

Overall, rootworm pressure has been relatively low the past few years. But Sean Evans, technology development manager with Monsanto, doesn’t want that fact to keep farmers from being vigilant about this major corn pest.

“We want to be careful that we’re making decisions with the proper preparation,” he says.

Bayer/Monsanto Seeking Merger Approval from 30 Countries

With farmer and regulator eyes turned toward the two companies, Bayer and Monsanto technology leads on Thursday repeated their confidence the merger will close by the end of 2017. The companies need approval from regulatory authorities in 30 countries.

“We’ve submitted information to 20 and everything is on track,” said Adrian Percy, head of research and development at Bayer CropScience during a press conference at Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

Poll: Majority of Farmers Now Opting for Generic Pesticides

Farmers faced with a fungicide, herbicide or insecticide application have more than one option – particularly as more and more generic inputs enter the market. They typically cost less than their name brand counterparts. But are they really a better deal?

They certainly appear to be, especially in light of a new Pulse poll from Farm Journal media. When asked their preference, a slight majority (56%) say they tend to favor generic pesticides over their brand-name counterparts.

Z-Trap Boosts Crop Scouting

An electric zap may have just given crop scouting a boost. Z-Trap 1 is an electronic insect trap from Spensa Technologies allowing for remote monitoring of 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 of pesticide applications.

Bats Save Billions In Pest Control

A secret war is waged above farmland every night.

Just after dusk, high-stakes aerial combat is fought in the darkness atop the crop canopy. Nature’s air force arrives in waves over crop fields, sometimes flying in from 30 miles away. Bat colonies blanket the air with echo location clicks and dive toward insect prey at up to 60 mph. In games of hide-and-seek between bats and crop pests, the bats always win, and the victories are worth billions of dollars to U.S. agriculture.

EPA Appeals Board Upholds Belt's Cancellation

EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board has upheld the agency’s decision to cancel Bayer’s Belt (flubendiamide) insecticide earlier this year over environmental concerns.

As a result, the product will no longer be produced. Farmers will still have access to the insecticide for a limited time, however. The decision will permit retailers to sell any remaining inventory, and farmers will be able to apply the insecticide under label specifications.

Europe Walks Tightrope With Proposal for Chemicals in Pesticides

The European Commission proposed more detailed regulation of hormone-damaging chemicals in pesticides, leaving both the industry and environmentalists crying foul.

The commission, the European Union’s regulatory arm in Brussels, presented draft rules for determining whether pesticides contain so-called endocrine disruptors. The proposed criteria, which would replace interim standards under seven-year-old EU legislation on plant-protection products, are based on the World Health Organization’s definition of an endocrine disruptor.

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