Pesticide risk reduction strategy development for floriculture in Canada

Project Code PRR09-060

Objective

To consult with Canadian floriculture growers, other stakeholders and experts to:

  1. establish priorities for pesticide risk reduction within the industry and
  2. formulate strategies to direct activities for identified priorities over the next 3-5 years to reduce risks to human health and the environment associated with pesticide use in Canadian floriculture.

Summary of Results

Background

The floriculture industry in Canada includes thousands of different species of plants, many with their own significant pest issues. Developing pest management techniques to deal with these multiple threats to the the many different kinds of crops while reducing pesticide risk remains a significant challenge. This project aimed to develop a nationwide strategy to address key pest and pesticide risk reduction issues in floriculture.

Approaches

Flowers Canada Growers communicated with stakeholders through a variety of mediums. Group meetings were held with growers in the Maritimes, Ontario and B.C. At these meetings a PowerPoint presentation was presented to help introduce the federal government’s current reduced risk initiatives and provide examples of how the floriculture industry might consider reducing its reliance on traditional pesticides. An extensive survey was designed and distributed at meetings as well as sent to other flower producers across Canada to determine needs of the industry. Teleconferences and private meeting were also used as opportunities to determine the current state and future needs of the industry. Finally provincial extension specialists and minor use coordinators were also consulted.

An oversight committee of industry professionals evaluated the results of all these methods of consultation and identified three main strategic goals to move forward with to promote sustainable pest management in the floriculture industry.

Results

The end product of these extensive consultations is the framework for future risk reduction work by the Pest Management Centre in support of the floriculture industry.

The three main strategy goals identified were:

1) Reduce Pesticide Application Risks through the Promotion of Biological Control and Integrated Pest Management Approaches

Biological control in ornamental greenhouses was found to be utilized to varying degrees as a means to manage pests by 90% of survey respondents. Given the present widespread use of biocontrols, the desire to rely more heavily on biologicals as opposed to conventional pesticides, the limited number of effective pesticide options and the strong desire to reduce pesticide risks to applicators and the public, rigorous investigation with regard to increasing availability of biological pest control tools was identified as a primary strategy goal.

2) Study Post Application Worker Exposure through Dislodgeable Foliar Residue Studies

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Canada requires all pesticides in Canada meet stringent requirements for both human and environmental safety before being registered for use in Canada. Chemical specific dislodgeable foliar residue studies determine the dissipation rate of a chemical and are used to refine post application worker exposure in greenhouse and field scenarios for agricultural and ornamental crops. Further investigation is needed into dissipation rates for pesticides used in the greenhouse, which will ultimately facilitate pesticide registrations in Canada.

3) Reducing Risks Through New Technologies and Physical Pest Prevention.

New technologies offer promising integrative approaches to pest management issues in the industry. A number of potential directions for future research and extension activities were identified including: research into pest prevention and elimination using mechanical and technological approaches to eliminate pests from propagative stock; the use of specially generated scouting and pest identification software applications on new portable technologies and further investigation into new application technologies such as low volume and ultra low volume foggers, cold foggers and injectors.

A detailed version of the floriculture reduced risk strategy will be made available on the Pesticide Risk Reduction Strategies section of the website.

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