WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016 - Texas sorghum growers will be allowed to use Dow AgroSciences’ Transform WG to control sugarcane aphid on up to 3 million acres under an emergency exemption granted by EPA.

In November, EPA canceled the registration of sulfoxaflor, the active ingredient in the insecticide, after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency had not adequately studied the impact of the chemical on honeybees. The next month, the Texas Department of Agriculture requested use of Transform WG under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

In authorizing the emergency use, EPA imposed new restrictions designed to prevent exposure to bees. For example, growers will not be allowed to apply Transform WG from three days prior to bloom to seed set.

In addition, in order to minimize spray drift and potential exposure of bees when foraging on plants that are next to treated fields, “applications are prohibited above wind speeds of 10 miles per hour and … must be made with medium to course spray nozzles,” EPA’s letter to TDA said.

The label must contain the following Environmental Hazards Statement:

This product is highly toxic to bees exposed through contact during spraying and while spray droplets are still wet. This product may be toxic to bees exposed to treated foliage for up to 3 hours following application. Toxicity is reduced when spray droplets are dry. Risks to pollinators from contact with pesticide spray or residues can be minimized when applications are made before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. local time or when the temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit at the site of application.”

The authorization is valid for one year. EPA said that because this marks the third year TDA has received a Section 18 exemption, “this use is eligible for … streamlined review.”

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The National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and the Texas Grain Sorghum Association applauded the decision.

“The availability of Transform WG is crucial to helping sorghum farmers combat the sugarcane aphid,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “We thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their approval of this important crop protection tool, which augments industry efforts to develop better management practices and resources to meet this unprecedented challenge.”

“Texas sorghum farmers are now better equipped to control the sugarcane aphid and prevent yield loss while making a profit,” Wayne Cleveland, executive director of the Texas Grain Sorghum Association, said. “Thank you to all the Texas sorghum producers who commented during the application process and the Texas Department of Agriculture for their work to make this announcement possible.”



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