Label Issue For Metaldehyde Clouds Slug Control Picture

Corn and soybean uses may soon be removed from Deadline labels, but farm experts — fearing a blow to no-till adoption — are lobbying the U.S. EPA to maintain the uses.

No-tillers could lose the availability of a popular product for slug control if a registration issue with the U.S. EPA isn’t straightened out.

Lonza Inc., a Swiss manufacturer that produces metaldehyde — the active ingredient in many popular slug-control products — submitted a request to the U.S. EPA in February to amend its product registration and delete corn and soybeans from the label.

The EPA ruled in 2006 that some uses of metaldehyde were not eligible for reregistration. Metaldehyde products currently bear labeling for a large number of uses that were allowed because the agency had determined the active ingredient wasn’t taken up into plants. As a result, tolerances weren’t needed.

However, the EPA now says metaldehyde residues are present in plants, and tolerances are needed to account for residues in food and feed crops. The EPA says it plans to grant Lonza’s re-registration unless it receives information warranting further review.

An independent research group, The IR-4 Project, which facilitates registration of pest-management products, has petitioned the EPA to allow corn and soybeans uses to remain registered. But a lengthy review by the EPA could cause a gap in inventory or a period of a year or two where it would be illegal for farmers to apply metaldehyde products on corn and soybean ground.

Lobbying For Use. Besides IR-4, Amvac (the producer of Deadline products) and university-based and NRCS personnel are lobbying the EPA to maintain metaldehyde use in corn and soybeans.

Losing a popular metaldehyde treatment could have dire…

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John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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