Sulfoxaflor Update

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — The EPA has issued a preliminary new label for Dow AgroScience’s Transform insecticide with restrictions designed to protect pollinators.

The proposed new label, which is available for public comment through June 17, covers a handful of row crops such as wheat and barley and variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, turfgrass and commercial ornamentals. It does not include cotton or sorghum, where growers will have to rely on Section 18 emergency use exemptions for the insecticide in 2016.

Transform was pulled from the market in 2015 after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it was not adequately vetted for pollinator safety. Dow AgroSciences must now supply the agency with new data on the effect of the active ingredient, sufloxaflor, on pollinators. "Work on generating that data is underway," Dow Media Relations Manager Garry Hamlin told DTN.

Until then, the EPA has included a number of restrictions on the proposed Transform label to protect pollinators such as honeybees.

"For those crops that are included and that are bee-attractive, sulfoxaflor would be prohibited before and during bloom …," the EPA announced in a press release. "Applications are prohibited on crops grown for seed production."

The agency is also seeking public comment on two additional restrictions aimed at protecting pollinators: "One would require a buffer when there is blooming vegetation bordering the field. The second would prohibit tank mixing sulfoxaflor with other pesticides."

The new Transform label also contains spray drift preventative measures, such as speed limits, nozzle recommendations, buffer requirements and a prohibition on tank mixing sulfoxaflor.

Dow does not consider this proposed new label to be a permanent one, Hamlin said.

The company is "committed to registering sulfoxaflor for all of these previous uses," including cotton and sorghum, he said. "EPA’s proposed new federal registration is a step in that direction. It reflects intended direction, not our ultimate goal."

"In the absence of federal registration, state level emergency use and special local need applications provide interim avenues for sulfoxaflor use on threatened crops," Hamlin added.

Sorghum growers in 11 states have received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for Transform, and three cotton-growing states have petitioned the EPA for these exemptions as well.

You can find and comment on the proposed Transform label here: http://1.usa.gov/…. You can find the EPA’s press release on its posting here: http://1.usa.gov/….

Emily Unglesbee can be reached at emily.unglesbee@dtn.com.

Follow Emily Unglesbee on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee.

(PS/CZ)