It has been a busy year for the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) – Canada’s national regulator of crop protection products. While much attention in 2023 has been focused on policy development and the PMRA’s ongoing Transformation Program, the agency’s core work, the evaluation and review of products must continue.
It is up to the PMRA to review products to ensure they do not pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment and have value when used according to label instructions. These assessments are required before a product can be sold or used in Canada. These activities center around specific active ingredients, including new registrations, cyclical re-evaluations based on a 15-year timeline, and special reviews. These decisions ultimately decide which products are allowed to be in the grower’s crop protection toolbox. The following summary outlines the major activities taking place so far in 2023.
Several final decisions have been made for conventional and biological active ingredients used in crop protection. Fortunately, no re-evaluation decisions have been made to date this year resulting in cancellations or major changes to product labels.
Proposed re-evaluation decisions have also been made for abamectin and azoxystrobin, both of importance to fruit and vegetables. Abamectin (Avid, Agri-Mek, Minecto Pro) is a Group 6 insecticide, the only member from its mode of action registered in Canada. It is particularly useful for mites, thrips and psyllid control. Azoxystrobin (Quadris, Quadris Top, Elatus, Asoshy) is a Group 11 fungicide, and a widely used seed treatment, in-furrow, and foliar product in outdoor fruit and vegetables. Proposed decisions for both products were favourable for continued uses.
Notable upcoming re-evaluation/special review decisions are chlorothalonil fungicide (Bravo, Echo) and S-metolachlor herbicide (Dual, Boundary, Komodo), both expected in early 2024.
Novel product registrations
Several new products and label expansions have been registered by PMRA in 2023, all helping to provide an expanded toolbox for growers. Of note, multiple new novel modes of action have been registered, including two fungicides, one insecticide, and a plant growth regulator. Additional novel modes of action are particularly valuable when registered on a crop.
1-ACC or Accede – This plant growth regulator is found naturally in plants as 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid. It is a biological precursor to ethylene synthesis in the plant, and once 1-ACC is applied to the crop it is converted to ethylene, a well-known plant hormone. It is registered for fruit thinning of apples, and in particular has peak activity when fruit diameters are 15-20 mm, beyond the range of current fruitlet thinners, providing thinning when otherwise hand removal would be needed. Unlike any previous commercial thinners, 1-ACC also has activity on stone fruit, and is registered for this purpose in the U.S. This will be of great interest to Canada’s stone fruit producers, who currently have no thinning products. This product is also MRL exempt as there are no residues expected at harvest.
Ipflufenoquin or Kinoprol – This product represents a new mode of action classification as a Group 52 fungicide. Now registered for scab and powdery mildew in pome fruit, ipflufenoquin has broad-spectrum activity against several important pathogenic fungi, including: Alternaria, Botryosphaeria, Botrytis, Sclerotinia, Cladosporium, Colletotrichum, Fusicladium, Fusarium, Monilinia, Podosphaera, Venturia, and Phomopsis. The registrant is already looking at stone fruit, grape, and tree nuts and a minor use project through the Pest Management Centre (PMC) will be starting next year on greenhouse cucumber. This will be an alternative mode of action and potential rotational partner to commonly use products in Groups 3, 7, 9, and 11.
Florylpicoxamid or GF-3840 – This product also represents a new mode of action classification as a Group 21 fungicide. While a Group 21 fungicide is registered in Canada, the existing product is specific to oomycete diseases such as downy mildew and late blight, whereas florylpicoxamid targets true fungi. Now registered for several field crops and Cercospora control in sugarbeet, florylpicoxamid also has broad spectrum activity against several important pathogenic fungi. Almost 15 minor use projects are already complete by PMC for future label expansions into a range of field and greenhouse crops covering several different diseases. This will also be an alternative mode of action and potential rotational partner to commonly use products in Groups 3, 7, 9, and 11.
GS-omega/kappa-Hxtx-Hv1a or Spear – This product is a new mode of action classification as a Group 32 insecticide. The product is a peptide (short protein), derived from the venom of the Blue Mountain funnel-web spider, native to Australia. Now registered on a range of greenhouse and outdoor vegetable, berry, and tree fruit crops, Spear targets soft-bodied insects such as mites, thrips, whiteflies, and spotted-wing drosophila. It was also found that Spear is synergistic with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) based products, and the combination can be used to control Lepidopteran caterpillars under the Spear-Lep label.