NDSU Crop and Pest Report

ISSUE 9  June 26, 2003


EPA has denied the ND request for a Section 18 exemption for Spartan (sulfentrazone) on potatoes. In their letter, the EPA concluded that the data included with the request were insufficient to justify an emergency. Staff from the ND Department of Ag and NDSU scientists that wrote and submitted the request made the strongest case possible with the available data. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any data that directly tracked nightshade infestations in potato, so dry bean grower survey data was used. Also, there was not data that assessed the effect of nightshade on potato yield, so potato yield losses were estimated.

The EPA, ND DOA, and NDSU would encourage the potato growers and potato grower association to think about whether this exemption will be needed in the future. If it will, the potato growers and grower association should support NDSU weed scientists in conducting research to gather additional data to make a stronger case with a request next year. Specifically, data on the effect of nightshade on potato yield losses and survey data on the prevalence of nightshade infestations in potatoes would is necessary.



Producers should purchase pesticides ONLY from dealers they know and trust. Early morning and late evening calls from telemarketers selling weed and insect control products are normal this time of the year. These products contain very little active ingredient that they are completely worthless for pest control in agricultural operations.

Telemarketers make exaggerated claims for the products, such as Triple Threat, Misty C-Lex Concentrate and Combat. The promise the moon and proclaim their product is 'a miracle cure for leafy spurge' or that a single application will last for years. These products are nothing more than highly diluted solutions of 2,4-D, containing less than 15 percent active ingredient. The ND Dept of Ag (NDDA) has recorded several cases of producers paying about $100 per gallon to telemarketers for these products.

A typical 2,4-D formulation, available from your local dealers, contains 45 percent active ingredient and costs between $10 and $15 per gallon. Two telemarketing firms - Central State Supply, Lindenhurst, NY, and Heartland Marketing, Daytona Beach Shores, FL are currently the target of lawsuits filed by the state of Iowa, alleging deceptive and fraudulent practices in telemarketing sales of farm chemicals. NDDA has also received complaints about Central State, as well as other companies, including Environmental Septic Inc. (ESI), Bohemia, NY, and Earthchem, Inc., Tamarac, FL.

Signs of questionable solicitations for pesticides include:

Producers should also be very careful about returning promotional cards requesting information about products such as concrete sealer, diesel fuel conditioner and septic tank additives. These products are also sold by the same telemarketers who will then call with offers on pesticides." By your pesticides from reputable, local dealers. We can't say it often enough: if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn't true.



The costs of discovery and bringing to market a new crop protection product has increased to $184 million (U.S.) in the year 2000. The time taken to put a new product on the market following discovery has also increased and is now more than 9 years. Those are the main result of a newly released study commissioned jointly by ECPA and CropLife America.

Detailed findings are as follows:

  • On average, it cost $184 million in 2000 to discover, develop and register each new crop protection product. This cost is eight times higher than what it was 20 years ago.
  • In 2000, nearly 140,000 molecules were screened in order to discover and bring to market one new crop protection product. This number has increased from 52,500 in 1995.
  • The development period – from first synthesis (discovery) to commercialization – for a new product has increased from 8.3 years in 1995 to 9.1 years in 2000.
  • These increases can be attributed to more rigorous regulatory standards as well as stricter criteria applied by companies during the development stage to ensure protection of the environment and the consumer. Global expenditure on crop protection R&D currently exceeds 1.84 billion per annum; to ensure that this investment continues in the long term, we must have a regulatory environment that is conducive to investment in new and innovative products.



    A web site contains a comprehensive article listing every biotech agricultural product approved in Canada, Mexico and the United States. A total of 73 biotech products have received commercial approval so farmers can grow them in these three countries: 56 in the United States, 54 in Canada and three in Mexico. The vast majority are different varieties of four major crops: soybeans, cotton, corn and canola. Read on at:


    Richard Zollinger
    NDSU Extension Weed Specialist

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