Don’t use glyphosate or Heat on lentils for export

Lentil producers are being advised to avoid using glyphosate or Heat herbicides as a pre-harvest drydown this year.

“We think this is the best way to avoid market access issues associated with the European Union’s (EU) maximum residue limit (MRL) of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) for glyphosate in lentils entering their market,” Saskatchewan Pulse Growers executive director Garth Patterson said in a recent memo to growers.

Though the EU represents only 10 to 20 per cent of Canadian lentil exports, many other markets do not have any established MRLs at all for glyphosate on lentil, he said. Canada’s own MRL for glyphosate residue on lentils, meanwhile, is four ppm.

“Some lentil growers have been accustomed to applying glyphosate before harvesting lentil to control perennial weeds and to dry down the crop vegetation for more ease of harvest,” Neil Whatley, crop specialist at Alberta’s provincial Ag-Info Centre at Stettler, said in a separate release this week.

Most Canadian processors and exporters of lentils are thus expected to require producers to sign declarations indicating they haven’t used glyphosate as a pre-harvest treatment on their 2011 lentil crops.

Canadian and U.S. pulse industry representatives will submit an application to the EU regulatory authorities for a glyphosate MRL in lentil that would be similar to other pulse crops, but approval could take from six to 12 months, Patterson said.

“Bottom line”

The memo says the diquat products in herbicide Group 22 are an alternative for lentils, but glufosinate (Group 10, such as Liberty) is not registered. For peas and chickpeas, glyphosate is acceptable if used in accordance with the label.

“Bottom line is that lentil growers should not apply glyphosate as a pre-harvest weed control tool this year due to risk of damaging lentil trade relations with the EU,” Whatley said.

“If perennial weeds are a problem in lentil crops, a producer can apply Reglone (Syngenta’s diquat product) as a harvest desiccant and then apply glyphosate after harvest for weed control,” he said.

“Using glyphosate in the spring as a pre-seed weed control burnoff tool ahead of planting lentil is not a concern.”

Reglone, meanwhile, is “not as effective at controlling perennial weeds as glyphosate but is a very effective drydown product,” Whatley said.

Working on it

BASF, maker of the saflufenacil (Group 14) herbicide Heat, has also advised growers not to use the product as a desiccant until its use gets export approval.

Until then, “while BASF has been working towards a registration for this use, it is important to recognize that some crops within this use pattern, such as peas and lentils, are heavily exported,” BASF said in a memo to growers.

“As a result, BASF must go through the process of establishing that Heat as a harvest aid/desiccant meets the import tolerances (maximum residue limits) of importing countries.”

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