Beekeepers and farmers in Mississippi work together to protect each other’s interests

In Delta Farm Press

by Hembree Brandon, Delta Farm Press

Cooperation between Mississippi beekeepers and farmers has been an important factor in obtaining Section 18 approval for sulfloxaflor (Transform), a key pesticide for cotton and grain sorghum.

The EPA approval was “really good news,” says Angus Catchot, coming on the heels of a California Ninth Circuit Court decision last year that resulted in the EPA cancelling sufloxaflor registrations in all crops as a result of allegations by the Pollinator Stewardship Council and other non-governmental organizations that there was not sufficient research on its potential impact on pollinators to support registration of the compound.

However, Catchot, who is a Mississippi State University Extension professor of entomology, said at the annual joint meeting of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Cotton Policy Committee that the EPA cancellation applied only to Section 3 labels for sulfloxaflor, not Section 18.

“So, all Mid-South states wrote Section 18 applications for use of sulfloxaflor in cotton and grain sorghum. We received the Section 18 for cotton, exactly as we had requested: up to four applications of 1.5 to 2.25 ounces. In the same process, we also qualified for a fast track Section 18 next year, which we hope will make things easier.”

The March 31 USDA report showed Mississippi with 50,000 acres of grain sorghum this year, but Catchot says, “I don’t think we’re even remotely close to that number. We were granted a Section 18 for sulfloxaflor in that crop, but with some restrictions. In the past, we could make three applications, but this year we can make only two applications, with a season maximum of 3 ounces. Also, the EPA said no applications are permitted from three days before bloom through grain set. The Bureau of Plant industry has requested an exception for that, but we’ve not heard back from the EPA.”

Not many people realize how much time, effort, and paperwork are required to submit a Section 18 application, Catchot says. “We have to prove that there are no products labeled for a crop that will control the pest, we have to show a 20 percent loss in gross revenue due to the pest, and provide other data. It takes a tremendous amount time and resources.

For the rest of the story, read Delta Farm Press.

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