Farmers need to ensure buyer acceptance

A crop product may be registered in Canada, but that doesn’t mean importers will accept it; producers told they must ask

ST JEAN BAPTISTE, Man. — There are lots of ways farmers can end up producing grain that buyers won’t buy because of chemical residues.

Manitoba Agriculture weed specialist Jeanette Gaultier said farmers need to understand that it’s not good enough for a crop product to be registered and commercially available.

They also need to know that buyers are OK with it.

“Just to avoid (maximum residue limit) issues, I think it’s really good for you guys to ask,” Gaultier told the St. Jean Farm Days Jan. 7.

Many farmers were confused last year when they bought the wheat growth regulator Manipulator but then discovered that wheat grown with the product couldn’t be sold to the United States and some grain buyers didn’t want it.

The same issue appeared with Clever, which controls cleavers in canola but has had MRL problems with Japan and China.

Gaultier said MRLs are critical for some grain companies because they sell into markets around the world and a zero tolerance for crop protection products can threaten shipments.

As well, countries often have differing MRLs for the same product.

New registration problems are rare because companies tend to be diligent in establishing all the registrations and MRLs that are established for a specific product.

However, some existing products lose their registration in foreign markets, which means they can no longer be safely used for all potential buyers, even though they are still available to farmers.

The U.S. has deregistered some products, and farmers need to make sure they are wary of those.

As well, some old chemicals have been re-introduced to western Canadian farmers but aren’t necessarily still approved in foreign markets.

Gaultier said farmers need to be cautious with new products that are based on old registrations. The new manufacturers are sometimes less diligent than the original producer.

“If there’s a generic product on the market and there isn’t the same use from the parent company … you should be asking about that one,” said Gaultier.

Farmers need to be skeptical of promoters’ claims that MRLs will soon be established for their products. The company may believe it to be true, but it’s the farmers that can end up with grain that their usual buyers don’t want.

“This is an example of marketing timing gone wrong,” said Gaultier.

ed.white@producer.com

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