Closing the control products gap
By Graeme Murphy
By Graeme Murphy
Canada has always been lagging behind the U.S. and other greenhouse production areas of the world when it comes to the availability of pest control products.
Is 2007 the year of new registrations? Canada has always been lagging behind the U.S. and other greenhouse production areas of the world when it comes to the availability of pest control products. It has been a contentious point for many years. While it may seem difficult to find a silver lining in this disparity between Canadian growers and their competitors, the scarcity of effective pesticides has in fact played a major role in the widespread adoption of biocontrol practices in the greenhouse ornamentals industry, making Canada a world leader in this regard. The success of biocontrol in the industry hasn’t diminished the need for new pest control products. However, the focus is not so much on any pesticide that is effective, but on products that are not only effective, but also compatible with biocontrol.
For the past 10 years, Flowers Canada has funded a minor use pesticides program to lead the industry’s push for new pest control products by working with OMAFRA, registrants and the federal government. The emphasis has always been on new products that have a fit within a biocontrol program, and the approach has had a number of different thrusts over the years, including:
• Preparing submissions to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for the label expansion of existing registered pesticides, so that they include greenhouse ornamental crops on the label.
• Networking with registrants to promote the industry’s needs, increase awareness of greenhouse floriculture, and facilitate the registration of new products.
• Developing lines of communication with PMRA so that, firstly, the industry’s needs are better understood, and secondly, there is a greater awareness of PMRA’s position and its requirements for registration of new products.
• Developing priorities for pests and diseases and identifying pest control solutions to address them. Every year, these priorities are discussed at a national meeting of minor use crop needs in Ottawa with the major priorities then being tackled by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Pest Management Centre to try to have solutions registered for their control.
Through all of these various approaches we are now starting to see the benefits of persistence. Until this year, progress was being measured in terms of how much interest registrants were showing in the industry, how many industry priorities were chosen at the annual Ottawa meetings, and how many submissions were currently “in the system” at PMRA. There were some successes. Products such as Success for thrips control, Floramite for mites, Endeavor for aphids and Rootshield for root rots have been registered in recent years, but new products have not arrived with any greater frequency than we have come to expect.
And then there was 2007. With so many registration submissions working their way through PMRA, it was perhaps no surprise to see a sudden rush of new products. Since the start of this year we have seen the registration of Ethyl-Bloc (to protect against ethylene), Distance (for whiteflies), Forbid (for whiteflies and mites), Shuttle (for mites), and Rhapsody (for foliar diseases such as powdery mildew, Botrytis and leaf spots). As well, there are several other products likely to be registered in the near future and many others still being evaluated.
While we are still not yet at parity with our U.S. competitors (at least as far as pesticides are concerned), we are closing the gap, and Canadian growers are getting access to an increasing number of new pest control products. However, it is important to remember that new pesticides must be managed with care.
Resistance to pesticides is a major problem in the greenhouse industry and all growers must play their part in managing its development. Using biological control in conjunction with compatible pesticides is a powerful resistance management tool. And, it is not just by accident that most of these newer registrations have a good fit with biocontrol programs. n
Graeme Murphy is the greenhouse floriculture IPM specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Vineland. • 905-562-4141, ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org