Growers must be conscious of MRLs

The Canola Council of Canada is continuing to advise against the use of quinclorac on canola because of ongoing questions about residue limits in one of our largest export markets.

Until these questions are re-solved, growers should use other options to control cleavers on their farms.

More information about herbicide and agronomic solutions can be found by contacting a canola council agronomist. Growers who used quinclorac on canola last year should contact their local elevator or processor to discuss options.

More than 90 percent of Canadian canola is exported, which means meeting the requirements of major export markets is extremely important to the profitability of Canada’s canola industry.

One of the most important markets for canola is China, which imports one-third of the canola we produce.

China has no maximum residue limit for quinclorac on canola and no history of accepting imports of canola in which quinclorac residues have been detected.

There is also no MRL for quinclorac in the CODEX Alimentarius, which is the international standard-setting body that Chinese officials use when deciding whether imported products meet Chinese requirements.

Data from the 2015 growing season confirmed that quinclorac leaves residues that can be detected by today’s testing equipment: not just in canola seed but also in the processed oil and meal. Residues were found most of the time when samples were tested from canola fields that had been treated with quinclorac according to label directions.

As a result, the value chain be-lieves there is a significant risk to Chinese exports if quinclorac is used on canola.

Progress has been made in the past year in clarifying international residue limits for quinclorac in canola. For example, Japan established an MRL in late 2015.

However, the canola industry remains concerned about meeting requirements in China.

Meeting export market requirements is the responsibility of all members of the canola industry:

  • Life sciences companies who sell crop inputs
  • growers who use these inputs
  • elevators and processors who buy farmers’ crops
  • exporters and processors who must meet the legal and contractual requirements of importing customers

It’s essential that every part of the value chain co-operates so that undue risk is not created for other parts of the industry.

Risk is transferred from life science companies to growers when input products are sold to farmers and then to elevators and processors when growers sell canola with residue levels that are unacceptable in some export markets. The entire industry could eventually be at risk if our international reputation as a reliable supplier is compromised.

For these reasons, life science companies that sell crop protection products need to commercialize them responsibly. Growers should use only registered pesticides that don’t cause concerns in export markets and use them according to label directions. These practices are integral to a profitable, sustainable and innovative canola sector.

The canola value chain is committed to an objective and consistent approach regarding crop protection products of concern to canola exports. This is important to support continued investment in innovation.

Through the canola council, the industry promotes a policy of responsible commercialization that respects the standards of our customers by not supporting the use of crop protection products that result in residues of concern to export markets. When crop protection products that lack MRLs are in use, they are evaluated to determine whether they pose significant risk to canola exports.

For more information, visit www.canolacouncil.org/crop-production/keep-it-clean/.

Patti Miller is president of Canola Council of Canada. Brian Innes is the organization’s vice-president for government affairs.

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