IPM in the National News
Farm workers and advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA in August to stop the use of chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos (sold as Lorsban) is a widely-used insecticide that works as a nerve toxin. Human exposure can cause dizziness, vomiting, convulsions, numbness in the limbs, and death.
Lorsban is one of the most heavily used insecticides in U.S. agriculture. In 2001, an EPA report found that it poses risks to the health of workers and to the environment, and banned residential use. The report identified serious risks for children who are exposed to chlorpyrifos through drift onto schoolyards and outdoor play areas as well as take-home residues on farmworkers’ clothing and skin.
ORGANIC LAWN CARE INCREASING
Homeowners, municipalities, and green industry professionals are all driving up demand for organic land care products. Market researchers estimate a 10 percent annual growth for the organic fertilizer market, twice the projected growth for all lawn and garden goods.
The nation’s largest lawn-care company, TruGreen-ChemLawn, has dropped ChemLawn from its name to capitalize on consumers’ growing preference for organic lawn care.
NEW GARLIC FUNGICIDE TESTED
Statewide, allium growers in California have abandoned production on more than 13,000 acres of prime farmland due to the disease white rot. California produces over 80% of the country’s garlic, and a new fungicide offers hope.
Scientists at UC Davis tested diallele disulfide, and found it to be 95 to 99 percent effective in controlling the pathogen. The garlicky-smelling compound is found naturally in garlic and onions. It acts as a biostimulant when applied to the soil, tricking white rot into germinating. Then, in the absence of a crop, the fungus quickly dies.
NEW DISEASE-RESISTANT SUNFLOWERS
Three new germplasm lines are now available for breeding sunflower hybrids that resist downy mildew as well as produce oil rich in oleic fatty acid.
Downy mildew attacks sunflowers as both seedlings and mature plants, causing white cottony growths in the young plants, and club-like roots and stunted growth in older ones. Sunflower growers have historically kept mildew in check by planting seed treated with metalaxyl, but the fungus has become resistant to this fungicide. Development of downy-mildew-resistant hybrids has been a priority, especially with the discovery of over a dozen new, virulent races of downy mildew since 2003.
DOW REGISTERS NEW INSECTICIDE GLOBALLY
Dow AgroSciences received global registration for spinetoram, a new spinosyn insecticide. The compound, which will be sold under the brand name Delegate WG, will be available in late 2007 in the U.S. for use on pome fruits. Spinetoram was accepted for review under the EPA Reduced-Risk Pesticide Program in 2006.
Spinetoram has shown excellent broad spectrum control of significant pests for the tree fruit and tree nut markets, including the control of codling moth. Research has demonstrated that spinetoram does not impact most key beneficial insects in tree fruit, tree nut, vine, and vegetable crops, is effective at lower use rates compared to most currently available insecticides, and is less persistent in the environment compared to older compounds.
HOUSE PASSES FARM BILL
The 2007 Farm Bill, which addresses agriculture, the environment, and health and hunger issues, passed in the House of Representatives. With this bill, conservation spending will increase about 35 percent: spending for the Farm and Ranch Land Protection program increased to $280 million annually, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program increased to $2 billion annually, and the Cooperative Conservation program was expanded.
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