BASF issues rotational restrictions

BASF appears to be the first company to place off-label rotational restrictions on crops grown the year after its products are applied. Nicole McAuley, head of communications and public affairs for BASF in Canada, said the worst drought in recent history means BASF can’t approach 2022 like any other growing season. | File photo

BASF issued an urgent notice to growers that stated it “will not be supporting canola, durum wheat, and canary seed as follow crops in the 2022 season,” if the company’s new rotational restrictions are not adhered to.

The new rotational restrictions are for BASF’s imidazoline-based portfolio including Odyssey, Solo and Viper ADV formulas used in the Clearfield framework for crops including pulses and canola.

Other companies in the crop protection business have issued warnings in the past on the potential carryover and danger to subsequent crops of some of their products.

However, BASF appears to be the first company to place off-label rotational restrictions on crops grown the year after its products are applied.

Nicole McAuley, head of communications and public affairs for BASF in Canada, said the worst drought in recent history means BASF can’t approach 2022 like any other growing season.

“We really wanted to give growers as much time as possible so that they could plan ahead,” McAuley said.

“These recommendations were born out of that unprecedented and relentless wave of extraordinarily harsh weather conditions.”

Micro-organisms in the soil including fungi, bacteria and protozoans break down herbicides, but they need moisture and are not active under very dry conditions.

Some active ingredients in herbicides including Group 2 types, such as imidazoline (IMI) are especially prone to carryover when it’s dry.

But even if the current dry cycle on the Prairies ends and a wet cycle returns, BASF plans to keep the new restrictions on follow crops.

“Lots of rain and a normal year, we haven’t seen in quite some time. And truthfully what we’re doing right now is we are re-evaluating what we need to do over the longer term including our label, and how we can provide that best long-term support and stewardship of these products moving forward,” McAuley said.

If growers ignore the new restrictions they will not be eligible for coverage under the company’s product assurance policies.

“Growers can still seek support on labelled rotational crops not listed in the notice of risk. If they’re in a dry region or in these regions that we’ve identified in the notice. For example, spring wheat, barley, these are lower risk alternative crops and BASF will look to support those crops as outlined in our policy,” McAuley said.

Farmers expressed frustration with BASF on social media soon after the notice was given. A common comment was extra rotational restrictions should have been made public before the products were applied in the spring.

Clark Brenzil, weed control specialist for Saskatchewan Agriculture, said unless the follow-crop restrictions were on the label when the product was first released, BASF was bound to receive this complaint.

“To get things added to the label after the fact can take some time. So I think what they’re doing now is trying to get ahead of that label recommendation, to try and get people aware that this is going to happen and what the risks might be for next year,” Brenzil said.

He said herbicide carryover has been a significant problem in Saskatchewan, particularly with IMIs.

“It’s (follow-crop restrictions) been a long time coming. It’s something that has been a challenge for them for several years, and so I think it’s long overdue,” Brenzil said.

BASF is not the only company with products that have seen significant issues with herbicide carryover, and IMIs are not the only active ingredient prone to carryover in dry years.

Brenzil said the BASF move to change follow-crop restrictions on product labels may be the first domino to fall.

“I’ve heard rumours that Corteva will be bringing out similar recommendations. Essentially, their Amity product is the same thing as Solo, and they also have Ares, which is also in that same chemical family, and they have clopyralid which is in Curtail M and Lontrel l that will have the same concerns,” Brenzil said.

“I’m not sure what Bayer’s response to this is going to be as far as things like their pyrasulfotole compound that’s in Infinity and a bunch of other product mixes that they have, that we’ve seen show up from time to time under dry conditions as well.”

Sask. Ag produces an herbicide carryover map that will be available by the beginning of November.

Notice to growers

BASF will not support canola, durum wheat, and canary seed as follow crops in the 2022 season if the following crop rotational restrictions for BASF imidazoline-based herbicides are not followed:

Growers in the dark brown, black, grey or grey-wooded soil zones who had less than 125 mm of accumulated rainfall from June 1 to Sept. 1:

  • If you applied Solo ADV, Solo Ultra or Viper ADV in 2021, do not plant canola, durum wheat or canaryseed in 2022.
  • If you applied Odyssey NXT, Odyssey Ultra or Odyssey Ultra NXT in 2021, do not plant durum wheat or canary seed in 2022.
  • If you applied Odyssey NXT, Odyssey Ultra or Odyssey Ultra NXT in 2020, do not plant canola in 2022.

Growers in the brown soil zone who had less than 125 mm of accumulated rainfall from June 1 to Sept. 1, and those who had less than 15 mm of rainfall in any of the months of June, July or August (regardless of total accumulated rainfall):

  • If you applied Solo ADV, Solo Ultra or Viper ADV in 2021, do not plant canola, durum wheat or canary seed in 2022.
  • If you applied Odyssey NXT, Odyssey Ultra or Odyssey Ultra NXT, do not plant durum wheat or canary seed in 2022,
  • If you applied Odyssey NXT, Odyssey Ultra or Odyssey Ultra NXT in 2020, do not plant canola in 2022.

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