Monday, September 10, 2012

U.S. EPA Pesticide Program Update

September 10, 2012


In This Update:

Scotts Miracle-Gro Will Pay $12.5 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties for Violations of Federal Pesticide Laws


WASHINGTON – The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, a producer of pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses, was sentenced today in federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, to pay a $4 million fine and perform community service for eleven criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the manufacture, distribution, and sale of pesticides. Scotts pleaded guilty in February 2012 to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides. This is the largest criminal penalty under FIFRA to date. 

In a separate civil agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scotts agreed to pay more than $6 million in penalties and spend $2 million on environmental projects to resolves additional civil pesticide violations. The violations include distributing or selling unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. This is the largest civil settlement under FIFRA to date.

“The misuse or mislabeling of pesticide products can cause serious illness in humans and be toxic to wildlife,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s sentence and unprecedented civil settlement hold Scotts accountable for widespread company noncompliance with pesticide laws, which put products into the hands of consumers without the proper authorization or warning labels.”

“As the world’s largest marketer of residential use pesticides, Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws governing the sale and use of its products. For having failed to do so, Scotts has been sentenced to pay the largest fine in the history of FIFRA enforcement," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with EPA to assure that pesticides applied in homes and on lawns and food are sold and used in compliance with the laws intended to assure their safety.”

In the plea agreement, Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use. Scotts had done so to protect its bird foods from insect infestation during storage. Scotts admitted that it used these pesticides contrary to EPA directives and in spite of the warning label appearing on all Storicide II containers stating, “Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.” Scotts sold this illegally treated bird food for two years after it began marketing its bird food line and for six months after employees specifically warned Scotts management of the dangers of these pesticides. By the time it voluntarily recalled these products in March 2008, Scotts had sold more than 70 million units of bird food illegally treated with pesticide that is toxic to birds.

Scotts also pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to EPA and to state regulatory agencies in an effort to deceive them into believing that numerous pesticides were registered with EPA when in fact they were not. The company also pleaded guilty to having illegally sold the unregistered pesticides and to marketing pesticides bearing labels containing false and misleading claims not approved by EPA. The falsified documents submitted to EPA and states were attributed to a federal product manager at Scotts.

In addition to the $4 million criminal fine, Scotts will contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitat, including $100,000 each to the Ohio Audubon’s Important Bird Area Program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Urban Forestry Program, the Columbus Metro-Parks Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, and The Nature Conservancy of Ohio to support the protection of bird populations and habitats through conservation, research, and education.

At the time the criminal violations were discovered, EPA also began a civil investigation that uncovered numerous civil violations spanning five years. Scotts’ FIFRA civil violations included the nationwide distribution or sale of unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. As a result, EPA issued more than 40 Stop Sale, Use or Removal Orders to Scotts to address more than 100 pesticide products.

In addition to the $6 million civil penalty, Scotts will complete environmental projects, valued at $2 million, to acquire, restore and protect 300 acres of land to prevent runoff of agricultural chemicals into nearby waterways.

The criminal case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Environmental Enforcement Unit of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation. It was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Jeremy F. Korzenik of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, by Michael J. McClary, EPA Criminal Enforcement Counsel and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous.

The civil case was investigated by U.S. EPA Region 5’s Land and Chemicals Division and Office of Regional Counsel, and the U.S. EPA Headquarters Office of Civil Enforcement, assisted by the Office of Pesticides Program.

More information about the civil settlement and recalled products:

More information about EPA’s criminal enforcement program:

More information about EPA’s pesticide program:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Green and Growing


D. Bruce Bosley
Extension Agent/Cropping Systems
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
508 S 10th Ave., Ste 1, Sterling Co 80751
(970) 522-3200 Ext. 285

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 13th, 2012

Growers looking to increase yield and decrease risk will want to plant the best possible wheat varieties this fall for top yields next summer. The annual Wheat Planting Decision Meetings held on August 15, 16 and 17 will offer growers insight into the highest-yielding varieties in the Colorado State University (CSU) Uniform Variety Performance Trials and Collaborative On-Farm Tests (COFT).

The Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC) and Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF) host the annual meetings. Speakers will discuss the variety and COFT trial results, the qualities of new varieties, new developments in wheat breeding, the availability and value of certified wheat seed and the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA), and other topics.

Plan to attend the meeting nearest you. A complimentary meal will be served at each meeting and each grower who attends the meeting will receive a 1-gigabyte flash drive containing the Wheat Variety Database, which allows growers to make comparisons between varieties and look at data from the CSU trials going back to 1990.

Meeting Dates and Locations

Wednesday, August 15:

Burlington:  6:30 p.m.  Dinner meeting, Community Center

Thursday, August 16:

Genoa: 7:30 a.m.  Breakfast meeting, Dry Creek Seed Company

Akron: 12:00 p.m.  Lunch meeting, Central Great Plains Research Station

Haxtun/Dailey: 6:30 p.m.  Dinner meeting, Anderson Wheat Farms

Friday, August 18:

Wiggins/Hoyt: 7:30 a.m.  Breakfast meeting at Midcap Farms

Dry Bean Field days

Colorado State University and the Colorado Dry Bean Administrative Committee invite you to join them at one of the two 2012 Dry Bean Field Days. Participants will see the newest dry bean varieties, tour research plots and hear the most up-to date information on agronomic, disease and pest control practices for dry bean production in Colorado.

The Yuma Field Day will be held on August 22nd on the Richard Wacker farm at 1:30 p.m. Travel north from Yuma on Hwy 59 to Road 50, west 1 mile to road E, north ¼ mile, the plot is on the west side. GPS coordinates: 40.3030 N and -102°7371 W. Refreshments are provided courtesy of Trinidad Benham- Sterling, CO.

The Greeley Field Day will be held on August 24th on Brian Lefgren’s farm at 10:00 a.m.

From Greeley on Weld County road 47, 2 miles north to road 66, west to road 45, south to the intersection of road 64/45, and the plots are on the southeast corner.

Please contact me, Bruce Bosley about these field days or other cropping systems or natural resource topics at (970)768-6449 or

Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.  If you have a disability for which you seek an accommodation, please notify Bruce Bosley 7 days before the event. Colorado State University Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado Counties Cooperating.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Managing MPB After a Wildfire -Sky Stephens, CSFS

Managing Mountain Pine Beetle After a Wildfire


S. Sky Stephens

970-491-7282 or

Recent wildfires throughout Colorado have raised a number of questions about managing post-fire forests. In this document I hope to address a number of issues that have come up concerning mountain pine beetle (MPB), including the impacts of wildfire on the beetles and which management activities may be appropriate post-fire. Given the diversity of burn severity and the range of impacts on individual trees throughout a burn area, all information provided will be general. Please contact me with specific questions and we at the CSFS will do our very best to assist you in making post-fire management decisions.

Direct Impacts of Recent Fires on Beetles:

• Recent fires have impacted large areas of our forests; however, the area impacted by MPB is much larger.
• Depending on the level of burn severity in an area, the direct impacts on beetle populations are highly varied within the fire area and along its boundaries.
• Some fires (High Park, Hewlett and others) have destroyed numerous trees that harbored this season’s MPB population.
• There are also many unaffected trees within the burn areas which still harbor beetles.
• The increased stress on trees scorched by the fire will increase their susceptibility to MPB.
• Recent fires haven't stopped the MPB outbreak.
Other Beetle Issues:

• Douglas-fir beetle and Ips beetles typically show an increase in activity after a fire.

• Trees with scorched bark have an increased susceptibility to Ips and Douglas-fir beetle.

• We will likely see an increase in these beetles’ activity in and around fire areas.

Impacts on Previously Applied Preventive Products:

• Chemical sprays exposed to high heat or directly to fire will have lost some, if not all, of their effectiveness. - We are not aware of any studies that have looked at the impacts of heat, smoke or fire on chemical preventive products for MPB.

- Most chemicals degrade faster when exposed to heat; depending on levels of heat exposure, some preventive products may have a reduced efficacy after a fire.

- Products applied directly to bark that has now burned have also been burned and are not likely to have any remaining efficacy.


• Pheromones exposed to high heat or directly to fire also will have lost some, if not all, of their effectiveness. - We are not aware of any studies that have looked at the impacts of heat, smoke or fire on pheromones.

- Direct impacts of fire and extreme heat may have melted pheromone packets, making them ineffective.

- Pheromones are chemicals, and increased rates of degradation would be expected with exposure to heat; depending on levels of heat exposure, pheromones may have a reduced efficacy after a fire.



• Considerations for Reapplication of Preventive Products: - Proper application of preventive products will remain key to their effectiveness.

- Some trees impacted by the fire will survive, others will not. This is very difficult to predict and tree loss will not be apparent in many trees until next spring.

- Trees that do not currently show any signs of beetle activity may be suitable for reapplication of a preventive product this year.

- Preventive chemical sprays may adhere less effectively to scorched bark, due to presence of soot/ash/charred bark.

- Pheromone packets can be reapplied without concern other than monetary costs.

- With increased stress on trees in fire areas and fewer host trees available, all preventive products may have a reduced effectiveness.


• Future Seasons After a Fire - Post-fire bark beetle impacts will occur and change over several seasons.

- Post-fire survival of trees will be dependent on each tree’s adaptability to fire; for example, ponderosa pine is more fire resilient than lodgepole pine, and the conditions of the seasons following a fire event, including levels of precipitation and changes in soil condition, will vary for each location.

- Management of MPB in forests and on individual trees in post-fire areas will remain important while MPB remains active on those landscapes.

- Management of MPB will be dictated by each landowner’s management objectives.


Final Thoughts - Preventive treatment of remaining trees may be more important than ever over the next few seasons because in fire-impacted areas, the trees remaining represent a smaller selection of hosts and those remaining trees will likely have experienced additional stressors (and may be less success at defending themselves against MPB).

- For 2012, the window of opportunity to reapply preventive products is rapidly closing. No products are currently proven effective in trees already impacted by MPB.

- Efficacy of any preventive product will remain dependent on proper application, adequate coverage, correct dosage and good timing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weather Update for the Week From Planalytics

From Agri Business Weather Brief at 

An end to record breaking temperatures this week as a more progressive temperature pattern evolves. First, a slow
moving upper low pressure will move into the Plains early in the week and gradually push eastward. A second low pressure moves out into the Plains on Easter Weekend. Look for a slight warming trend ahead of each of these two systems. Timing favors the East with a warming trend for eastern portions of Canada and the Northeast U.S. for the Holiday weekend.

There will be two cooling trends for the central portions of the U.S. and Canada. The first occurs on Tuesday into Wednesday. The second begins on Easter Sunday. Temperatures will warm in these areas between systems. Both of these cool downs will be accompanied by freeze-frost scenarios for the western portions of the Dakotas to southwest KS, including eastern CO and western NE.

For WA, OR, NV, and CA look for a warming trend by the weekend. Meanwhile, slight cooling occurs over the Southeast for the weekend, but temperatures will be at or slightly above normal.

A slow moving upper low pressure system will spawn a series of surface lows this week that will result in moderate to heavy rain being focused on the eastern Plains and Mississippi Valley. One of the northern lows will trigger moderate to heavy rain as well as a swath of moderate to heavy snow for portions of MT, ND, and the eastern Canadian Prairies.

Some light to moderate rain will occur across the Deep South and southern New England later in the week, but mainly as debris. Rain and mountain snow shifts north of CA by late week and drier conditions even make it to the Pac Northwest for the weekend.

Wheat Disease Update from Oklahoma

I know that we are in Colorado, but wheat diseases have a history of tracking north as the weather warms.  This is from Dr. Bob Hunger, OK State Wheat Pathologist:

Oklahoma:  Wheat continued rapid development across Oklahoma this past week with yield potentials still looking outstanding. Yesterday I sprayed my foliar fungicide trial (Jagger), which rangedfrom boot (GS 10) to heads nearly fully emerged (GS 10.5).  Overall I would place that trial at GS 10.2 (heads about 1Ž4 emerged).  This is 2-3 weeks earlier than I typically make this application.  It strikes me from calls over this past week, that this is representative of where wheat is at across much of Oklahoma.

                Stripe rust continues to be reported from across southwestern, central, and west central Oklahoma, but not as many reports from the north central and northwestern parts of the state.  However, these reports indicate only scattered/light infections.  With daytime temperatures into the 90s over the weekend (and 80s last week) and night temperatures in the 60s, stripe rust should be “shutting down.”  It could be revived with strikingly cool temperatures and moisture, but I don’t see it being a major factor in most parts of Oklahoma this year.

                Leaf rust also is being reported more frequently, but still in fairly low incidence and at a low severity.  Around Stillwater, I can find pustules on susceptible varieties but mostly in the 10-15% severity range.

                Powdery mildew is still a factor, at least on highly susceptible varieties.  Jagger, which is in my foliar fungicide trial, has a severity of around 40-65% on leaves beneath the flag leaf.  Some scattered powdery mildew pustules were visible on flag leaves.

                Tan spot and Septoria/Stagonospora also can still be found on lower leaves, but are not moving up the canopy.  A couple of wheat samples were received from northeastern (Rogers County) andnorth central OK (Noble County) with symptoms indicative of these leaf spotting diseases, and currently isolations are being made to confirm this diagnosis.

                Over the last week, the Diagnostic Lab also had a sample from Kingfisher County that tested positive for wheat streak mosaic virus and High plains virus (Kingfisher County).  As temperatures warm and wheat develops, these mite-transmitted virus diseaseslikely will become more prevalent.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Update on Wheat Pests

From Dr. Tisserat:

More information on some potential insect/mite problems on wheat. 

Dr. Frank Peairs  indicates that ‘ Brown wheat mite is fairly widespread where it was not limited by extended snow cover.’   Chris Stallman reports that the mite infestations in certain parts of Cheyenne and Kiowa counties are severe.

Frank also mentioned that  ‘ Reports of some army cutworm activity are more frequent than they have been for the past few years.  Russian wheat aphid has been reported from the west slope, but so far does not seem abundant in the east.’ 

Bob Hammon from the Western Slope has also indicated that he is seeing a lot of wheat curl mites now.  And just a reminder that the Diagnostic Clinic is performing wheat virus tests to growers again this year.  If you see mites or aphids, and notice symptoms on your wheat, please send them in to the Clinic for screening. 

Wheat Disease Update

From Dr. Ned Tisserat:

The very warm weather will be speeding up the development of the wheat crop in the state.   Because of the dry March, I don’t expect that there is much disease activity, at least not in dryland wheat.   Some of you may be thinking of applying a fungicide along with the herbicide application at tillering as ‘insurance’ or for other reasons (plant health).   In my opinion, unless you know there is active disease (rust, Septoria, powdery mildew) in the field, a fungicide application at this stage is NOT warranted .  Our research trials have not shown any benefit of these early treatments in the absence of disease.   Remember, every time you make a fungicide application, you are potentially selecting for pathogens that are insensitive to that fungicide, whether the chemical is a strobiluron or triazole.   The risk of shifting the pathogen population to one that is insensitive to the fungicide is small, but real.   For example, we now have fungal pathogens resistant to strobilurons in many crops (sugar beet, apples, soybeans, even wheat in the UK). And once that shift occurs, it appears to be permanent (i.e. there is little or no cost to the pathogen).  Let’s save these fungicides for when we really need them. 

Stripe rust has been reported in Kansas ( Manhattan and Wichita) and Oklahoma, but not in any regions closer to Colorado (see Kansas report below).   It is still advisable to keep a close watch on the developing crop for stripe rust.

The following is from Erick DeWolf, Extension Specialist, Kansas State University.

The wheat crop in Kansas ranges between the jointing to boot stage of growth.  I suspect some wheat in Southeast Kansas is already be heading.  This is 2 or 3 weeks ahead of normal crop development.  Weather forecast for the next 3 days indicates that temperatures will remain warmer than normal with high temperatures consistently in the 80's and low temperatures in the 50's for much of KS. Weather forecast for the next 3 days indicates that temperatures will remain warmer than normal with high temperatures consistently in the 80's and low temperatures in the 50's for much of KS.

Stripe rust was observed in Sedgwick County (South Central, KS) yesterday (March 28).  Gary Cramer, Extension Agent for Kansas State University, reported the find.  Gary indicates that low levels of stripe rust in the mid canopy of a production field west of Wichita.  The wheat in this field was near flag leaf emergence at the time stripe rust was detected.  The grower indicated that this field was planted with the variety "Everest".  Everest was considered moderately resistant to stripe rust in 2010 when KS experienced a severe epidemic.   My discussion with Bob Bowden, USDA wheat rust specialist here in Manhattan, suggests that Everest often develops some symptoms of stripe rust but the reaction type has been moderately resistant in previous years.  I will do additional scouting and checking for infections this next week.

Leaf rust was  detected in research plots near Manhattan (Northeast, KS) today (March 29th).  The incidence of leaf rust was very low (<1%) in these plots. The wheat in this field was at flag leaf emergence and leaf rust was found in the mid-canopy.  The infection was on an older variety "2137" that is known to be susceptible to leaf rust. 

 No reports of stem rust to date in Kansas.

 Severe tan spot was reported in Riley county( Northeast, KS), and powdery mildew continues to increase in many areas.

Aphids are present at considerable numbers in Southeast Kansas and have also been observed near Manhattan.