Crop Protection

Conversion to Organics Could Increase Food Prices, Shrink Farm Profits

By Peter Hecht, California Farm Bureau

A European Union policy goal to exponentially increase organic farming to 30% of all agricultural production by 2030 is expected to be considered by Gov. Gavin Newsom for next year’s budget. However, a new economic analysis says such a plan would dramatically increase the price of food for many consumers and jeopardize the solvency of organic farms.

California currently has an estimated 7.35 million acres of irrigated cropland, of which 460,000 acres—or 6%—is certified as organic and not all of that is farmed in any given year.

A preliminary analysis by ERA Economics, a Davis-based consultancy specializing in the economics of agriculture and water resources in California, focused on the potential challenges of applying the EU standards to one California crop: tomatoes. The state produces 95% of America’s processing tomatoes and the total annual tomato crop is valued at $1.2 billion.

Only 5% of California’s 228,000 processing tomato acreage is currently needed to meet consumer demand for organic. The study found that reaching 30% organic production by 2030 would cause substantial disruptions to the market. The farmgate price of conventional tomatoes was estimated to rise by more than 11%. And, importantly, the price for organic tomatoes was estimated to fall by 28% at the farmgate level—potentially putting the market price below the cost of production.

That could mean organic farmers would be forced to cease production, sell, or farm something else—a result that could potentially crash the organic market and ultimately drive-up consumer prices. Mandating an increase in organic acreage without a clear connection to consumer demand could result in market disruptions that would hurt farmers, farm employees and consumers alike, the study noted.

Any initial organic price drop would mostly benefit wealthier consumers who purchase organically grown products, with lower-income customers paying more for traditionally grown products. All tomato farmers, organic or not, could see reduced profits, according to the analysis.

“Farming works when we are able to grow what the consumer actually wants and not what government mandates. California consumers are already struggling to afford higher prices for food than other states because of government mandates and these types of proposals just make things worse,” said Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau. “When the government increases the price of food, it acts like a regressive tax, hurting lower- and middle-income families the hardest. At the end of the day, the government needs to let organic markets grow organically.”

The study was funded by Californians for Smart Pesticide Policy, a coalition of farmers and businesses the rely on farmers, focused on educating policymakers on the benefits of modern scientific agricultural tools. It was undertaken on behalf of the California Bountiful Foundation, the 501(c)(3) science and research arm of the California Farm Bureau. The full report may be found at https://www.californiabountifulfoundation.com/research/.

A recently released report (https://www.fb.org/newsroom/farm-bureau-survey-shows-thanksgiving-dinner-cost-up-20) by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows that the average cost of a family’s Thanksgiving dinner—now $64.05—is up 20% from 2021 and nearly 36% from 2020.

The findings by ERA Economics include the following:

• To increase organic acreage for processing tomatoes from an average of 4% to 30% would represent a five- to six-fold increase in current acreage. Tomato growers and processors interviewed for the analysis confirmed industry data regarding consumers’ finite desire to purchase organic tomato products.

• Tomato growers may specialize in organic, non-organic or both, depending on market demands and conditions. By mandating a specific growing method, it could greatly impact the ability of farmers to keep their operation sustainable, both financially and as they encounter other challenges, such as climate change and pests and disease.

• Both conventional and organic farmers of processing tomatoes face risks of economic losses. Conventional growers, with likely reduced acreage, could see a 17% potential downside cost from expected earnings.

• Organic production presents greater risk of crop failure, higher production costs and lower crop yields. As a result, organic farmers are likely to see less stability. They face a potential downside cost of 36% of anticipated net returns, making it potentially unprofitable to grow organic processing tomatoes.

2022-11-23T09:00:36-08:00November 23rd, 2022|

Nitricity Selected for Elemental Excelerator Cohort of Climate Tech Startups

Leading climate tech investor, Elemental Excelerator, announced today their 11th cohort of investments, comprising 17 companies focused on climate technology and decarbonization. Renewable fertilizer pioneer, Nitricity, has been included in the cohort as part of Elemental Excelerator’s focus on climate resilience.

“Nitricity solves two crucial components of the food system’s emissions: removing fossil fuels from the production of fertilizer, and preventing the need to transport that fertilizer from across the world,” said Mitch Rubin, Director of Innovation, Elemental Excelerator. “We need local, renewable production of fertilizer to enhance our resilience to global fertilizer markets, given massive price increases this year. Nico and his team are extremely committed to improving how we grow food and providing better alternatives to farmers, and we’re very excited to be working with them.”

The investment and guidance from Elemental Excelerator will bolster Nitricity’s plans for growth, including operating its renewable fertilizer technology at scale in agricultural applications. The funding will support Nitricity’s ability to produce agriculture-grade climate-smart nitrogen fertilizers such as calcium nitrate to be tested in the field, with one such trial to be conducted in almond orchards in partnership with Olam Food Ingredients (ofi), a global leader in natural food ingredients and raw materials.

“The support from Elemental Excelerator and membership in this esteemed cohort will be an important catalyst for Nitricity’s next phase of growth,” said Nicolas Pinkowski, CEO and Co-Founder of Nitricity. “Our focus is now on scaling our technology to establish regionalized fertilizer production for farmers.”

Read the complete press release from Elemental Excelerator and learn more about Elemental Excelerator Cohort 11.

About Nitricity
Nitricity produces nitrogen fertilizer with only air, water and renewable electricity. Founded by a team of graduate students from Stanford University in 2018 – Nicolas Pinkowski serving as CEO, Joshua McEnaney serving as president and CTO, and Jay Schwalbe serving as CSO – the company is scaling its technology to provide cost-effective, regional, and decarbonized fertilizer production. For more information, please visit www.nitricity.co.

About Elemental Excelerator
Elemental Excelerator is a leading non-profit investor focused on scaling climate solutions and
social impact for all communities. Elemental fills two gaps that are fundamental to tackling
climate change: funding first-of-a-kind projects for climate technologies in real communities, and
embedding equity and access into climate solutions.

2022-11-02T12:51:42-07:00November 2nd, 2022|

Renewable nitrogen fertilizer pioneer Nitricity raises $20 million in Series A funding

Fertilizer startup takes aim at key global challenge

Nitricity, the agtech startup revolutionizing nitrogen fertilizer production, announced today the close of its Series A investment capital raise at $20 million. This fundraising round was led by Khosla Ventures and Fine Structure Ventures with additional participation from Energy Impact Partners, Lowercarbon Capital, and MCJ Collective.

Nitricity electrifies and distributes the production of nitrogen fertilizer. The Nitricity approach uses a new technology for regionalized nutrient production using low-cost solar or wind. This marks a major difference from the existing nitrogen supply chain, which is highly centralized and uses fossil fuels and costly transportation.

“This fundraising round brings us one step closer toward sustainable and locally produced fertilizer,” said Nicolas Pinkowski, CEO and co-founder of Nitricity. “It’s time to bring this to market. We have aggressive growth plans in motion.”

With this financing, Nitricity has raised $27 million in total funding to date. This will accelerate its ability to bring climate-smart fertilizer to a market experiencing ongoing and historic fertilizer price volatility and supply challenges.

“This electrified technology provides fertilizer in a climate-smart nitrate form, designed for efficient application, allowing it to address greenhouse gas emissions beyond ammonia-based technologies,” said Joshua McEnaney, president, CTO and co-founder at Nitricity. “This is an opportunity to attack not just the 1-2% of global GHG emissions in the production, but the additional 5% of GHG emissions in the application by mitigating nitrous oxide formation. We are pushing hard to scale up and implement this solution.”

Nitricity’s technology has been proven in commercial-scale farming operations through multiple functional pilots, including sub-surface fertigation of tomatoes in a collaboration with California State University Fresno’s Center for Irrigation Technology and the Water, Energy and Technology Center. Through solar-fertilizer technology, Nitricity has demonstrated the power of its system to produce and apply nitrogen fertilizer closer to the end-user – unlike any other fertilizer system today.

“Today’s fertilizer industry is facing the perfect storm of high GHG emissions, high fossil fuel consumption, rising costs and geopolitical disruptions,” said Rajesh Swaminathan, partner at Khosla Ventures. “Nitricity’s decentralized approach to manufacturing fertilizers using just air, water and renewables-based electricity was born out of a vision to completely transform a 100-year-old industry, and we are excited to be partnering with them.”

“Nitricity has made rapid progress since our initial investment in their Seed round,” said Allison Hinckley, senior associate at Fine Structure Ventures, a venture capital fund affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments. “In response, we are increasing our support of the company to aid in bringing their differentiated, decarbonized fertilizer products to market in the near term.”

Nitricity aims for its renewable technology to be available in the market and benefitting the entire value chain within a two-year period.

2022-10-19T09:17:30-07:00October 19th, 2022|

FDA 2020 Residue Monitoring Report Results

Consumers Can Choose Organic and Conventional Produce With Confidence

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Report for Fiscal Year 2020. Since 1987, the report has summarized findings from the program’s annual monitoring of human and animal foods in the U.S.

The FDA found that 96.8% of domestic foods were compliant with the pesticide tolerances set by the EPA. No pesticides were found in 40.8% of the domestic samples.

The industry’s historical high compliance rate demonstrates its commitment to consumers’ health and safety. It is clear from this report that consumers can choose fresh fruits and vegetables with confidence. It also underscores that no one and no group should promote false rhetoric in an effort to discourage consumers from eating healthy and safe produce.

According to the FDA, “The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the FDA’s sample collection and analysis for this year’s report. Both human food and animal food samples collected in FY2020 were smaller than FY2019. Despite the obstacles, results from samples collected and analyzed demonstrated compliance rates similar to what has been shown in previous years.”

Through its Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program, the agency ensures that FDA-regulated foods comply with pesticides safety levels or tolerances set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health. The EPA is responsible for establishing and enforcing those tolerances for domestic foods shipped in interstate commerce and foods imported into the United States.

The Alliance for Food and Farming recommends consumers who still have concerns about residues to just wash your fruits and veggies. FDA states that washing produce often removes or eliminates any minute residues that may be present.

Read, learn, choose – but eat more organic and conventional fruits and vegetables for a longer life!

2022-08-15T14:19:12-07:00August 15th, 2022|

Help for Young Almond Trees Regarding Band Canker

Protecting Young Almond Trees from Botryosphaeria

By Patrick Cavanaugh, With the Ag Information Network

Protecting young almond trees from the sleeping giant, known as Botryosphaeria Fungus. Themis Michailides is a UC Davis Plant Pathologist who has focused on Botryosphaeria for decades.

Band Canker Symptoms on Young Almond Tree

“For years, we didn’t have any control of the Botryosphaeria band canker of almond trees. But now we have new information that very young trees have latent infections, which is the actual Botryosphaeria, the sleeping giant fungus,” noted Michailides.  “And these latent infections are from when growers planted the trees in the orchard it created stress, and then disease eventually develop.”

Michailides and his colleagues got the idea of treating the trees with Topsin fungicide before there are any symptoms. So they can prevent the disease from even developing. “We did the first spray in early March. And, in orchards with no symptoms, 18 months later, we saw a big difference between the untreated and the treated,” noted Michailides.

“And then we went back 16 months later and observed the untreated  trees still had  very high levels of band canker, but the treated tree still maintained much lower levels of infection,” explained Michailides.

Michailides said that the sprays were in 2019 and then again in the spring of 2021. “After 33 months, we found the untreated control trees with very severe disease and ready to be removed by the grower, while the treated trees did not have any severely infected trees so the grower did not have to remove any of those,” he said.

2022-01-28T08:40:26-08:00January 28th, 2022|

Big Research Funds Continue to Fight Huanglongbing Disease

 $7 Million Multi-State Research Project Targets Citrus Threat HLB

UC ANR part of team led by Texas A&M AgriLife combating Huanglongbing disease

By Mike  Hsu UCANR Senior Public Information Representative

Citrus greening, or huanglongbing disease (HLB), is the most devastating disease for orange and grapefruit trees in the U.S. Prevention and treatment methods have proven elusive, and a definitive cure does not exist.

Since HLB was detected in Florida in 2005, Florida’s citrus production has fallen by 80%. Although there have been no HLB positive trees detected in commercial groves in California, more than 2,700 HLB positive trees have been detected on residential properties in the greater Los Angeles region.

“It is likely only a matter of time when the disease will spread to commercial fields, so our strategy in California is to try to eradicate the insect vector of the disease, Asian citrus psyllid,” said Greg Douhan, University of California Cooperative Extension citrus advisor for Tulare, Fresno and Madera counties.

Now, a public-private collaborative effort across Texas, California, Florida and Indiana will draw on prior successes in research and innovation to advance new, environmentally friendly and commercially viable control strategies for huanglongbing.

Led by scientists from Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the team includes three UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts: Douhan; Sonia Rios, UCCE subtropical horticulture advisor for Riverside and San Diego counties; and Ben Faber, UCCE advisor for Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

$7 million USDA project

The $7 million, four-year AgriLife Research project is part of an $11 million suite of grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, NIFA, to combat HLB. The coordinated agricultural project is also a NIFA Center of Excellence.

“Through multistate, interdisciplinary collaborations among universities, regulatory affairs consultants, state and federal agencies, and the citrus industry, we will pursue advanced testing and commercialization of promising therapies and extend outcomes to stakeholders,” said lead investigator Kranthi Mandadi, an AgriLife Research scientist at Weslaco and associate professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The UC ANR members of this collaboration will be responsible for sharing findings from the research with local citrus growers across Southern California, the desert region, the coastal region and the San Joaquin Valley.

“In addition to the ground-breaking research that will be taking place, this project will also help us continue to generate awareness and outreach and share the advancements taking place in the research that is currently being done to help protect California’s citrus industry,” said Rios, the project’s lead principal investigator in California.

Citrus trees in Florida suffer from HLB infection

Other institutions on the team include Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus CenterUniversity of FloridaSouthern Gardens CitrusPurdue University and USDA Agricultural Research Service.

“This collaboration is an inspiring example of how research, industry, extension and outreach can create solutions that benefit everyone,” said Patrick J. Stover, vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

HLB solutions must overcome known challenges

An effective HLB treatment must avoid numerous pitfalls, Mandadi explained.

One major problem is getting a treatment to the infected inner parts of the tree. The disease-causing bacteria only infect a network of cells called the phloem, which distributes nutrients throughout a tree. Starved of nutrients, infected trees bear low-quality fruits and have shortened lifespans.

Treatments must reach the phloem to kill the bacteria. So, spraying treatments on leaves has little chance of success because citrus leaves’ waxy coating usually prevents the treatments from penetrating.

Second, while the bacteria thrive in phloem, they do not grow in a petri dish. Until recently, scientists wishing to test treatments could only do so in living trees, in a slow and laborious process.

Third, orange and grapefruit trees are quite susceptible to the disease-causing bacteria and do not build immunity on their own. Strict quarantines are in place. Treatments must be tested in groves that are already infected.

Two types of potential HLB therapies will be tested using novel technologies

The teams will be working to advance two main types of treatment, employing technologies they’ve developed in the past to overcome the problems mentioned above.

First, a few years ago, Mandadi and his colleagues discovered a way to propagate the HLB-causing bacteria in the lab. This method involves growing the bacteria in tiny, root-like structures developed from infected trees. The team will use this so-called “hairy roots” method to screen treatments much faster than would be possible in citrus trees.

In these hairy roots, the team will test short chains of amino acids – peptides – that make spinach naturally resistant to HLB. After initial testing, the most promising spinach peptides will undergo testing in field trees. To get these peptides to the phloem of a tree, their gene sequences will be engineered into a special, benign citrus tristeza virus vector developed at the University of Florida. The citrus tristeza virus naturally resides in the phloem and can deliver the peptides where they can be effective.

“Even though a particular peptide may have efficacy in the lab, we won’t know if it will be expressed in sufficient levels in a tree and for enough time to kill the bacteria,” Mandadi said. “Viruses are smart, and sometimes they throw the peptide out. Field trials are crucial.”

The second type of treatment to undergo testing is synthetic or naturally occurring small molecules that may kill HLB-causing bacteria. Again, Mandadi’s team will screen the molecules in hairy roots. A multistate team will further test the efficacy of the most promising molecules by injecting them into trunks of infected trees in the field.

A feasible HLB treatment is effective and profitable

Another hurdle to overcome is ensuring that growers and consumers accept the products the team develops.

“We have to convince producers that the use of therapies is profitable and consumers that the fruit from treated trees would be safe to eat,” Mandadi said.

Therefore, a multistate economics and marketing team will conduct studies to determine the extent of economic benefits to citrus growers. In addition, a multistate extension and outreach team will use diverse outlets to disseminate project information to stakeholders. This team will also survey growers to gauge how likely they are to try the treatments.

“The research team will be informed by those surveys,” Mandadi said. “We will also engage a project advisory board of representatives from academia, universities, state and federal agencies, industry, and growers. While we are doing the science, the advisory board will provide guidance on both the technical and practical aspects of the project.”

Project team members:

—Kranthi Mandadi, Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

—Mike Irey, Southern Gardens Citrus, Florida.

—Choaa El-Mohtar, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Citrus Research and Education Center.

—Ray Yokomi, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Parlier, California.

—Ute Albrecht, University of Florida IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.

—Veronica Ancona, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center.

—Freddy Ibanez-Carrasco, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Department of Entomology, Weslaco.

—Sonia Irigoyen, AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco.

—Ariel Singerman, University of Florida IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center.

—Jinha Jung, Purdue University, Indiana.

—Juan Enciso, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Weslaco.

—Samuel Zapata, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Department of Agricultural Economics, Weslaco.

—Olufemi Alabi, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Weslaco.

—Sonia Rios, University of California Cooperative Extension, Riverside and San Diego counties.

—Ben Faber, University of California Cooperative Extension, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

—Greg Douhan, University of California Cooperative Extension, Tulare, Fresno and Madera counties.

2021-12-06T13:51:10-08:00December 6th, 2021|

The Impact of Regulations For Farmers

Regulations Affect California Farmers in a Big Way

By Tim Hammerich, with The Ag Information Network of The West

Most Californians will tell you they enjoy the local and diverse amounts of produce available in this state. High labor costs and other heavy regulations are encouraging some farmers to shift more focus on crops that are less labor intensive.

“So with a minimum wage going up, with the overtime rules ratcheting down, we’re kind of caught in a vice,” said Cannon Michael, President of Bowles Farming Co and the 6th generation of his family to farm the land near Los Banos.  “And to put one wage across an entire state where you really have different costs of living in different counties, it’s pretty drastic differences, really makes it difficult,” he added.

“And then when you couple that with the fact that the Federal minimum wage is much lower in a lot of other producing areas of the country that compete with us, don’t have even close to what the minimum wage that we have,” said Michael. “And they don’t have the overtime because they have the federal exemption for overtime.”

And then so not only that, but you look outside of the U S and there’s  Mexico and some of our close competitors there, which have no regulatory standards. “They do not have the standards that push up our fuel prices, chemical costs, really every single input that we have is a higher cost here.”

We are always looking for the right mix of crops that we can grow, that deliver the highest value while again, just not stretching our folks too hard, and too far. “Because it is hard as you diversify into a lot of different things, it gets to be challenging,” he said.

Even though the regulatory pressure is there, Michael said he is very committed to making it work, but the regulatory environment is certainly a challenge.

2020-02-04T17:19:41-08:00February 6th, 2020|

Chlorpyrifos Sales Will End in Feb.

Agreement Reached to End Sale of Chlorpyrifos in California by February 2020

The California Environmental Protection Agency announced today that virtually all use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in California will end next year following an agreement between the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and pesticide manufacturers to withdraw their products.

“For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now occur faster than originally envisioned. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California.”

“The swift end to the sale of chlorpyrifos protects vulnerable communities by taking a harmful pesticide off the market,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld. “This agreement avoids a protracted legal process while providing a clear timeline for California farmers as we look toward developing alternative pest management practices.”

Earlier this year, DPR announced it was acting to ban use of chlorpyrifos by canceling the pesticide’s product registrations. The decision follows mounting evidence, PDF that chlorpyrifos is associated with serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood, including impaired brain and neurological development.

At the same time, DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have established a cross-sector working group to identify, evaluate and recommend safer, more sustainable pest management alternatives to chlorpyrifos. It will hold its first meeting this month and will hold three public workshops beginning in January.

The agreement with Dow AgroSciences and other companies means that use of chlorpyrifos will end sooner than anticipated had the companies pursued administrative hearings and potential appeals process, which could have taken up to two years. Under the settlement, the companies agreed that:

  • All sales of chlorpyrifos products to growers in California will end on Feb. 6, 2020.
  • Growers will no longer be allowed to possess or use chlorpyrifos products in California after Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Until then, all uses must comply with existing restrictions, including a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives. DPR will support aggressive enforcement of these restrictions.

To ensure consistency for growers and for enforcement purposes, DPR is applying the terms and deadlines in the settlements to seven other companies that are not part of the settlement agreement but are subject to DPR’s cancellation orders.

A few products that apply chlorpyrifos in granular form, representing less than one percent of agricultural use of chlorpyrifos, will be allowed to remain on the market. These products are not associated with detrimental health effects. DPR will continue to monitor for any exposures associated with these products.

The development of safe, more sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos is being supported through the current state budget, which appropriates more than $5 million in grant funding for the purpose.

  • DPR will award more than $2.1 million in grants to fund projects that identify, develop, and implement safer, practical, and sustainable pest management alternatives to chlorpyrifos.
  • CDFA will award approximately $2 million in grants to expand outreach about innovative, biologically integrated farming systems that reduce chemical insecticide inputs. Crops that have used chlorpyrifos will be a priority.
  • CDFA will also fund approximately $1.5 million in research to develop alternatives to chlorpyrifos that provide safer, more sustainable pest management solutions.

Quick facts:

  • Chlorpyrifos is used to control pests on a variety of crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts. It has declined in use over the past decade as California growers have shifted to safer alternatives.
  • Use of the pesticide dropped more than 50 percent from two million pounds in 2005 to just over 900,000 pounds in 2017.
  • In 2015, DPR designated chlorpyrifos as a “restricted material” that requires a permit from the county agricultural commissioner for its application. In addition, application of chlorpyrifos must be recommended by a licensed pest control advisor and supervised by a licensed certified applicator.
  • Following DPR’s designation of chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant in 2018, DPR recommended that county agricultural commissioners apply additional permit restrictions, including a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives.

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2020-01-02T17:41:57-08:00January 3rd, 2020|

Field Bindweed is A Struggle to Control

Field Bindweed Difficult to Manage

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Field Bindweed is a struggle in the summer months. Scott Stoddard, UCANR Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, Merced County, discussed with California Ag Today how to manage the weed during the summer in annual crops.

“Field Bindweed is predominantly a summer weed, so we are trying to manage it more in our summer annual crops such as cotton, corn, melons, and tomatoes,” Stoddard said.

This weed has been documented back 100 years but only recently has become more of a problem for farmers.

“It did not seem to be as universally impacting people as much as it does now,” Stoddard said.

Farmers are asking themselves what they are doing irrigation-wise that impacts the weeds.

“Does drip irrigation favor this weed? Does conservation tillage favor this weed? There are all kinds of unknowns,” Stoddard explained.

Stacking herbicides can help and control the Field Bindweed.

“Herbicides in the annual crop systems are marginal and you have to stack them. You have to combine the Roundup with something like a Treflan and then combine that maybe with some applications of other herbicides,” Stoddard said.

Even with stacking the herbicides, they are still marginal. On the herbicide angle, this is one of the things that makes weeds so challenging.

2021-05-12T11:01:46-07:00July 26th, 2019|

Pesticide Air Monitoring Shows Low Numbers

2018 Air Monitoring Shows Most Pesticides Below Health Screening Levels

News Release

 The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released air monitoring results indicating that most of the pesticides monitored in the DPR air monitoring network in 2018 were found below levels that indicate a health concern.

However, data from a separate two-year study of the pesticide 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D), a known carcinogen, shows air concentrations in Parlier (Fresno County) will require further action.  1,3-D is used to fight pests that attack a wide range of crops, including almonds, grapes, strawberries, and sweet potatoes.

“Air quality is fundamental for all Californians, and the latest data from DPR’ s air monitoring network shows levels of agricultural pesticides in most communities that are well within our public health standards,” said Val Dolcini, DPR acting director. “In many cases, the amount of pesticide in the air was negligible, but our scientists will continue to use this data to help DPR develop plans to reduce the presence of 1,3-D in the future.”

In 2018, DPR, with assistance from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, monitored air concentrations of 31 pesticides and 5 pesticide breakdown products in eight agricultural communities. The monitoring stations are in Shafter (Kern County), Santa Maria, Cuyama (Santa Barbara County), Watsonville (Santa Cruz County) and Chualar (Monterey County), Lindsay (Tulare County), Oxnard (Ventura County) and San Joaquin (Fresno County).

The air-monitoring network, which began in 2011, was established to help expand DPR’s knowledge of the potential long-term exposure and health risks from pesticides in the air. California is the only state that monitors air as part of its continuous evaluation of pesticides to ensure the protection of workers, public health, and the environment.

The 2018 air monitoring report shows that of the 36 pesticides and breakdown products measured at the monitoring sites, most did not exceed screening levels or regulatory targets.

Other highlights include:
  • 8 pesticides were not detected at all and
  • 17 pesticides were only detected at trace level.

In January 2018, however, the air monitoring results showed that the pesticide 1, 3-D had a 13-week average concentration in Shafter of 5.6 parts per billion (ppb), which is significantly above the short-term (13-week) screening level of 3.0 ppb. A screening level is a level set by DPR to determine if a more detailed evaluation is warranted to assess a potential health risk.

DPR, along with the Kern County ag commissioner, investigated this detection and determined that it largely arose from a single application of 1,3-D made during this 13-week period. While this reading was not high enough to indicate an immediate health threat, DPR is consulting with other state agencies on next steps to reduce the exposures to 1,3-dichloropropene.

 

List of communities in the Air Monitoring Network

communities in air monitoring 2018 table.JPG

 

In addition to the 2018 annual air monitoring results mentioned above, DPR conducted a two-year air monitoring study of 1,3-D in Parlier (Fresno County) and Delhi (Merced County) from 2016 to 2018. The measured air concentrations in Parlier also exceed DPR’s screening levels and indicate that more mitigation is needed to reduce the exposures of this pesticide.

 These findings will be discussed at the next Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee (PREC) on July 19. The meeting will be live webcast.

Read the full 2018 air monitoring report here 

2021-05-12T11:01:47-07:00July 18th, 2019|
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