Specialty crop and minor use pesticide prioritization in the 2011 IR-4 Food Use Workshop

Six fruit projects important for Michigan were assigned “A” priorities during the 2011 IR-4 Food Use Workshop.

The IR-4 Project (Interregional Research Project No.4), established by Congress in 1963, has been the major resource for providing pest management tools with growers of specialty crops, and sometimes minor uses on major crops, by developing registration data to support new EPA tolerances and labeled product uses. Due to the current crop protection tools under the PRIA and the high cost to industry of product registration, specialty crops are at risk of having few available pest management products or being lost for pest management. To alleviate this problem, IR-4, primarily funded by USDA-NIFA, facilitates pesticide registration for specialty crops by conducting field residue trials and often efficacy and crop safety trials. Specialty crop research needs are prioritized each year during a national workshop since resources are limited. The primary objective of this workshop was to have the participants identify the most important research projects for the 2012 IR-4 food-use research program.

Research priority A’s for the year 2012 field residue program for fruits, vegetables, field and oil crops and herbs grown in the United States and Canada were selected at the Food Use Workshop held September 14-15 in Cary, N.C. More than 160 people attended the two-day meeting, including specialty crop and use researchers, Extension specialists, representatives of commodity and industry groups across the country, and personnel from EPA, USDA, IR-4, plus the AAFC (Canadian counterpart of minor use program) and PMRA (Canadian counterpart of U.S. EPA) personnel. Australian and New Zealand representatives were also present. For Michigan’s fruit interest, the workshop was attended by Bernard Zandstra, Mary Hausbeck, Satoru Miyazaki, Annemiek Schilder and John Wise of Michigan State University, and representing the Michigan growers’ groups were Phil Korson (Cherry) and Dave Trinka (Blueberry).

This year, the session was conducted by a commodity-driven project prioritization process, focusing on the most critical pest management needs for each commodity, not by the discipline-driven process. Participants were provided with a complete list of all pesticides “nominated” with desired priority (i.e.,  A or B rating) by regions for consideration prior to the meeting. This “nomination” process, introduced in 2006, greatly streamlined project selections and allowed the participants to spend more time reviewing only the worthy projects. As a group, they ranked products based on availability and efficacy of alternative pest management tools (including ongoing projects for the same need), pest damage potential of target pests, performance and crop safety of the chemical tool in managing the target pests, compatibility of the proposed chemical candidate with integrated pest management, uses currently covered by Section 18 emergency exemptions, and harmonization implications due to lack of international MRLs.

Due to projected budget reductions for IR-4, only 45 projects throughout the disciplines were assigned “A.” (Last year the numbers were entomology, 16; weed science, 16; and plant pathology, 18.) An A priority guarantees IR-4 to begin the field residue program immediately the following season, with expectations that a complete data package be submitted to the EPA within 30 months or sooner when IR-4 joins the company’s petition submission schedule.

Six fruit projects important for Michigan were assigned A priorities (see Table 1). Any B priority projects must be upgraded to A priority either by a Priority Upgrade Proposal or by regional upgrade. The following new candidate priority A projects listed are preliminary until affirmed at the IR-4 national planning meeting on October 25-26, 2011. A complete listing can be found on the IR-4 website.

Table 1. Priority A’s for Michigan fruits.




Reasons for need

Cherry, sour



Cherry leaf spot and brown rot. Use is only for fruit entering a water rinse procedure before processing.

Crop group 12. Stone fruits: representative commodities: Sweet or tart cherry, peach, and plum or fresh prune 


Pyrethrins + pbo

Aphids, whiteflies, armyworms, loopers, thrips, leafhoppers, plant bugs and others. EPA supports project for reregistration, but caution related to cumulative;08/11




Two spotted spider mite

Blueberry (high bush)



Mummy berry, Phomopsis, alternaria fruit rot, anthracnose fruit rot




Thrips, aphids




Various rots

Dr. Zandstra’s and Dr. Wise’s work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

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