No Change to Manipulator’s Status for 2016

As the time for applying a plant growth regulator (PGR) to wheat approaches, there have been many questions about whether Manipulator, a PGR introduced in Canada by Engage Agro in 2015, has been approved for exports into the US.

The answer is no.

“Engage Agro does not anticipate the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the US will establish import tolerances prior to the 2016 season,” said Engage’s Tom Tregunno in an update sent to RealAg last week.

The major grain companies in Western Canada have also said they will not accept wheat that’s been treated with chlormequat, the active ingredient in Manipulator, in 2016-17. As with quinclorac on canola, growers will be expected to sign a declaration saying they haven’t used the product.

“There are two chemicals that fall into what we call the red bucket: quinclorac and chlormequat on wheat, because the United States doesn’t have an MRL (maximum residue limit) in place for chlormequat,” explained Wade Sobkowich of the Western Grain Elevator Association.

Tregunno notes they’re “encouraging growers to talk to their grain buyers before applying Manipulator to make sure they have a market. It’s important that Manipulator-treated grain does not enter the US.”

Engage is hopeful the MRL issue with the US will be resolved for 2017. “Once an MRL is established for the US, we look forward to building additional awareness of this technology with growers across Canada,” says Tregunno.

There are currently two registered plant growth regulator chemistries for spring wheat in Canada; they’re marketed as Ethrel (ethephon) from Bayer and Manipulator (chlormequat) from Engage Agro. BASF also has a chlormequat product called Cycocel Extra, which is used in greenhouses and is registered for winter wheat. Work is underway on registering a third PGR formulation — one that is already registered in the US (Alberta Agriculture’s Sheri Strydhorst mentions it in this Wheat School on PGRs).

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