January 7, 2016
Two announcements came out of PMRA on January 6, 2016: first,the preliminary results of the Value Assessment of Corn and Soybean Seed Treatment Use of Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam, and second, the Re-evaluation of Imidacloprid - Preliminary Pollinator Assessment. These two reports have resulted in some positive headlines about the value of neonicotinoids and are currently out for consultation with the public.
Highlights of the announcements:
In the Value Assessment for neonicotinoid seed treatment for corn and soybeans, PMRA confirmed what we have been saying and what the Conference Board of Canada concluded that there is a value for using Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam seed treatment when growing corn and soybeans. The report states that seed treatments protect corn and soybean crops from potentially devastating insect damage and confirms that pest pressures vary from region to region. The report also states that it is difficult to predict pest pressure but that neonic seed treatments can be a critical tool that provides economic benefits to corn and soybean farmers. The report includes information about how seed treatments help farmers do their jobs in a more environmentally sustainable way through the adoption of practices such as minimal and no-till agriculture systems which help to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The detailed report can be found here.
In the Re-evaluation of Imidacloprid - Preliminary Pollinator Assessment, PMRA looks at all crops and applications of Imidacloprid including seed treatment, soil applied and foliar spray. The report found that there was no potential risk to bees indicated for seed treatment use. The residue levels in crop pollen and nectar resulting from seed treatment uses are typically below levels expected to pose a risk to bees at both the individual bee and colony levels. The exposure route of dust generated during planting of treated seed was also considered. Dust generated from planting of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed was previously identified as a concern in Canada, and risk reduction measures were put in place in 2014 to reduce exposure to dust during planting of treated corn and soybean seed. Dust generation is related to multiple factors including the planting equipment and seed types, and at this time planting of other seed types in Canada is not associated with dust-generation or harm to pollinators. The report cites the role of the label in managing risks of other applications, including foliar. We expect to see a report come out about clothianidin and thiamethoxam later this year. Here is a link to the consultation document.
Comments are due for the value assessment on March 18 and for the Re-evaluation of Imadcloprid 60 days following the release of further information on January 18. Grain Farmers of Ontario will be submitting comments to both on behalf of our membership.