As we enter into year 2 of the transition period for the new Ontario Neonicotinoid (Neonic) Regulations, a new series of stricter requirements comes into effect. Gone are the Seed Amount Declarations, which allowed farmers to plant 50 per cent or less of their crop area with neonicotinoid-treated corn or soybean seed. Although growers must retain these declarations and any other paperwork related to purchase and planting of neonic-treated seed for two years, these Seed Amount Declarations were valid only for seed planted in the 2016 growing season; that is, for seed planted up to and including Aug. 30, 2016.

So, for the 2017 growing season, what do you need to know? We’ve done our best to summarize this year’s requirements for growers below.

From August 31, 2016 until August, 30, 2017:

Beginning August 31, 2016, when preparing for the 2017 growing season, if growers want to purchase or plant any amount of neonic-treated soybean or corn seeds, the regulations require them to:

  1. Complete the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training course, which was introduced in 2015.
  2. Complete a pest assessment report.
  3. Sign a declaration called an IPM Written Declaration Form stating that they have considered IPM principles.

Specifically, farmers will be able to perform a soil inspection type pest assessment and prepare a report themselves if they have a certificate number from completion of the IPM training. This training was available free of charge until September 2016 in various locations, or online through the University of Guelph, and continues to be available for a fee from Sept. 2016 onward.

Soil Scouting Pest Assessment for Neonic regulation compliance - GettyImages-472666682

Image credit: stevanovicigor /Getty Images 472666682

Farmers will be responsible for complying with the regulations, and will need to submit these pieces of information:

  • The completed, signed pest assessment report,
  • The signed IPM declaration that IPM principles have been considered, and
  • Their IPM training certificate number

to the sales representative or seed vendor. This includes seed vendors such as PROSeeds, our Dealers, and other direct-to-farm seed vendors from whom growers purchase the seeds, or to the custom seed treater used for treating seeds with neonicotinoids.

Growers can then plant neonic-treated seed only on acreage on their farm property that was identified in their Pest Assessment Report. 

There are no reporting requirements or paperwork for using non-treated seed or fungicide-only treated seed.

When preparing for a pest assessment, growers need to be aware that there are two kinds of pest assessments:

  • Soil Pest Scouting, and
  • Crop Damage Assessment.

The first, Soil Pest Scouting, is the kind of pest assessment that a farmer with an IPM certificate can conduct themselves for the 2017 growing season. It is a method that confirms the presence of pests, such as grubs or wireworms, above the threshold amount in soil at a farm property. (The Government of Ontario website offers a document “Conducting A Pest Assessment for Use of Class 12 Pesticides” that provides more information on pest thresholds). A soil scouting pest assessment report must verify that pest thresholds have been met or exceeded.

A farmer can choose when to do soil pest scouting. This is often done in the spring or fall. Last year, any farmer could do soil pest scouting, assessment and reporting. However, as we mentioned above, beginning on August 31, 2016 until August, 30, 2017, farmers will be able to perform a pest assessment and prepare a report only if they if they have a certificate number from successful completion of the new integrated pest management (IPM) training.

It is important to know that the second type of pest assessment, Crop Damage Assessment, must always be done by a professional pest advisor, as this form of assessment requires specialized knowledge of pests and crop damage.

A bit more about IPM Training

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to managing pests that encourages the use of environmentally friendly and economically sustainable methods to prevent and reduce the risk of pests and to nurture beneficial insects. “Under IPM, pesticides are used as a last resort to control pest problems.”

Pest Assessment, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - GettyImages-503705261                    Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Training - GettyImages-186930690

Image credits: LCOSMO / iStock / Getty Images 503705261 and IvelinRadkov / Getty Images 186930690

 

Under Ontario neonic regulations, proof of successful completion of the IPM training course, in the form of a certificate number, is required in order to purchase and plant neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed for the 2017 growing season (Aug. 31, 2016 to Aug. 30, 2017). Certification is valid for five years – in other words, farmers will need to re-take the course once every five years.

For farm owners who hire people to purchase and plant seed for them, it is the person they hire (e.g. the farm manager or supervisor), not the farm owner, who needs to take IPM training. Note that an IPM trained person can supervise up to seven people who are planting seeds on the farm.

It is also worth noting that growers who do not intend to buy and plant neonicotinoid-treated seeds are not required to take IPM training or file any pest assessment reports. For example, non-treated or fungicide-only treated corn and soybean seed do not contain Class 12 pesticides, and are thus not subject to the regulations

A preview for next year (starting on August 31, 2017):

  • A requirement that a professional pest advisor conduct a soil pest assessment and prepare a report will begin to be phased in over time on a geographic basis. More simply put, beginning on Aug. 31, 2017, in a phased in approach depending on the location of your farm, growers will require a professional pest advisor for either type of pest assessment (Soil Scouting or Crop Damage) report – farmers will no longer be allowed to conduct their own soil inspection or to  the pest assessment form themselves.

 

Stay tuned for our next post on What Vendors Need to Know for Year 2 of the Neonic Regulations

 

Feature image credit: fotokostic / iStock / Getty Images 483436568

 

For more informationcontact your PROSeeds representative, or refer to the following websites for guidelines and forms: www.ontario.ca/neonics

Info for growers:

Neonic regulations for growers: https://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/neonicotinoid-regulations-growers

IPM Written Declaration Form: http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/FormDetail?OpenForm&ACT=RDR&TAB=PROFILE&SRCH=&ENV=WWE&TIT=2122&NO=012-2122E

Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) Resources:

Neonicotinoid Regulations Update: http://www.gfo.ca/GovernmentRelations/ProtectingPollinators.aspx

 

See also our other related blog posts:

New Ontario Neonic Regs – What You Need to Know (the 1st Year): http://proseeds.ca/new-ontario-neonic-regs-what-you-need-to-know/

Canadian bees in crisis? Latest data says no: http://proseeds.ca/canadian-bees-in-crisis-latest-data-says-no

Neonic Reg Compliance – Two Methods of Pest Assessment: http://proseeds.ca/neonic-reg-compliance-two-methods-of-pest-assessment

Neonic Reg Compliance – When is a Professional Pest Advisor Required?: http://proseeds.ca/neonic-reg-compliance-when-is-a-professional-pest-advisor-required