Herbicides from Desiccation Practices Traced in Food Supply

Farmers use of herbicides directly on their crops instead of the weeds in their fields may make harvesting easier, but it’s getting harder to keep the agrochemicals out of the food supply. Miranda Hart, an associate professor of biology at the University of British Columbia writes in Nautil.us about the increased use of herbicides on Canada’s second-largest crop, Canola (rape seed). 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saskatchewan_Canola_Field.JPG

“Desiccation may be the most widespread farming practice you’ve never heard of. Farmers desiccate by applying herbicide to their crops; this kills all the plants at the same time, making them uniformly dry and easier to cut. In essence, desiccation speeds up plant aging. Before desiccation, crops would have to dry out naturally at the end of the season. Today, there are examples of desiccation being applied to every type of conventional crop in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.1 Chances are that most of what you ate today was harvested using a desiccant, but you’d never know.”

 

Sulfoxaflor Back in the Fields

The Environmental Protection Agency reversed course on a previously banned pesticide that beekeepers and farmers dependent upon pollinators long reviled. 

Western Honeybees at Work on Beehive

The agency says sulfoxaflor poses less risk than alternatives and is a critical tool for farmers. The decision by the EPA highlights the complex interdependency of agricultural systems and the competing interests of different segments of agribusiness — a pesticide popular with some farmers yet highly toxic to the bees other farmers need for pollination. The Dow AgroSciences product, sold under the trade names Transform and Closer, was pulled from the market last fall after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said Sept. 10. Originally approved by the EPA in 2013, a federal appeals court halted the use of the pesticide in 2015 citing EPA’s improper scientific review.

(PRODUCT: Sulfoxaflor is Dow AgroSciences – Transform® WG Insecticide)

 

New Mobile App for Monitoring Agrochem Use

Regulators in the State of California followed up on earlier measures to restrict and reduce pesticide use in their state, by launching a mobile app for consumers to track and report the use of illegal pesticides or unauthorized applications.

California’s System for Pesticide Incident Reporting, better known as CASPIR, enables users to pinpoint the specific location of the incident using GPS. Users can also add photos, videos and other details that may be helpful for authorities responding to the report. People reporting abuses may submit their contact information or submit anonymously.