Grain producers will need an agronomist’s recommendation to use some insect control products this year
By Diego Flammini
Government regulations in Quebec will make it more challenging for grain producers to control pests this growing season.
Farmers may only purchase and apply the pesticides atrazine, chlorpyrifos and three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) if a certified agronomist deems it necessary, Isabelle Melançon, Quebec’s environment minister, announced yesterday at a honey factory in Chateau Richer, near Quebec City.
“A controlled, rigorous and responsible use of pesticides is the key to limiting the risks they entail,” Melançon said yesterday, according to CTV News.
Insecticide-treated seeds are also banned and growers will need to keep a pesticide registry. Lawmakers will begin to phase the regulations in beginning next month and continue to do so until spring 2019,
The ban is part of Quebec’s Pesticide Strategy. One of its goals is to protect pollinators by reducing their exposure to neonics.
But farmers feel these measures are a sign of government overreach.
Growers know what they need to do to control pests and should be left to practise their craft, according to William Van Tassel, a wheat, canola and soy producer and first vice-president of Quebec Grain Producers.
“We have enough the way it is and we’re able to regulate ourselves I believe,” he told CTV News.
These regulations could also force farmers to use products that are not environmentally friendly, he added.
“Like it or not, when there's an insect, you have to use something. If the insect is killing or eating your plants, you need to have something,” he told CTV News. “So we'll be using different products which don't necessarily work as well and can be even harder on the environment,” he said.
And treated seeds should not be part of the ban because they help farmers reduce their pesticide use.
“Some years I don’t use treated seeds in canola and then I have to spray three or four times,” Van Tassel told Global News.