Friday, February 18, 2011

Good EPA, Bad EPA...

You can always get an applause line at a farmer meeting by bashing the EPA. But oddly, farmers fearing more regulation probably don't mean good regulation, just stuff that makes them change how they act.

Consider this overdue step in pesticide regulation pushed by the EPA.
Start counting. Glyphosate is now a Group 9 herbicide. Valor is Group 14. The new corn herbicide called Peak is a Group 2. The premix Capreno—it’s a Group 2 and Group 27. It’s all part of a new herbicide labeling system that groups products by site of action. Knowing the site of action is a key to developing a systems approach to managing weed resistance.

The Canadians know all about it. So do the Australians. Farmers in both of those countries have used a standardized numeric system to help them rotate herbicide chemistry for years. Peter Sikkema, a weed scientist at the University of Guelph, says farmers in Canada are much more likely to tell you they are struggling with Group 2 herbicide resistance than to mention ALS-resistance. “We adopted the system about 10 years ago,” says Sikkema.
The new herbicide labeling remains voluntary in the United States, but the Environmental Protection Agency has requested that registrants add group numbers to labels. You can expect to see the codes pop up more frequently as the push continues to delay development of resistance. After all, Group 1 is much easier than saying acetyl CoA carboxylase or ACCase Inhibitor. [More]
Pesticide companies are not thrilled about this development, I'm sure, because suddenly changing names and reshuffling mixes will be less effective in giving the appearance of new chemistry.  I note that the US is coming lately to this rather obvious decision aid, and I'll bet real money without implied EPA leverage, it would not have happened.
We should also keep in mind the EPA is the controlling agency when it comes to the ethanol mandate. (Remember 2008 and Gov. Perry) As we have already seen in the case of E15, corn growers have a lot riding on the rulings from the EPA. Which makes me wonder about making them the whipping boy for every perceived grievance with government rules.

No comments: