Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Pesticide Record Keeping- An Essential Task!

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

In a world where everything is white with snow right now, thoughts of spring planting and spraying aren’t necessarily at the front of the to-do list.  However, just last week Extension offices received a black and white, spiral-bound 48-page booklet.  This booklet fulfills the legal requirements in that certified private pesticide applicators are required to keep records of all applications of restricted use pesticides.  This is referred to as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Record Keeping Requirements.  When I first came on as an Extension agent we had these booklets that we used to give out at grower meetings and they were very useful to have and to distribute.  Then, for some strange reason, they went out of print.  With the booklets being back in print, I wanted to talk about the advantages of having them be a part of your recordkeeping portfolio.

The objective of this booklet is to provide a simple method to manage each federal record keeping requirement for private pesticide applicators.  Keeping complete records can save money and improve farm management.  This booklet provides tables to fulfill each requirement, maps to sketch pesticide applications if needed, and instructions on calibrating sprayers.  This could include information regarding when you started and finished each application, the active ingredients you used, the brand name of the product, the site and crop description, the rate at which you applied the pesticide, the size of the treated area and the total amount applied.  All of this information is important to have on hand if you as a private pesticide applicator ever have your records inspected by the Montana Department of Agriculture.
Guidelines in this booklet are not intended to meet the pesticide record keeping requirements for Montana Commercial and Governmental applicators.  These professional applicators must record additional information.  For a copy of the Pesticide Record Keeping Handbook and Calibration Guide for Private Applicators, I would encourage you to contact your local county Extension office.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rancher Roundtable scheduled for February 20, 2019 at Cut Bank Voting Center

 Ranchers are invited to attend the Rancher Roundtable on Wednesday, February 20 at the   The event is free to the public, refreshments will be provided, and the program will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Cut Bank Voting Center 
 (913 E. Railroad, Cut Bank, MT).

Dr. Jeff Mosley, Montana State University Extension range specialist, will cover proper spring grazing management to manage plant health and livestock performance, and opportunities for early spring grazing.  Dr. Mosley has degrees in Range Science from Montana State University, University of Idaho, and Texas Tech University and has completed extensive research regarding grazing management of livestock and wildlife and using targeted livestock grazing to suppress invasive plants such as spotted knapweed and sulfur cinquefoil.

Kari Lewis, Montana State University Extension Agent for Glacier county, will share cowherd nutrition for the late gestation and early lactation periods to meet the cow’s needs for breed back and to support a growing calf.  Calf care management to increase calf viability and health will be covered as well.
A rancher roundtable is scheduled for February 20 in Cut Bank
at the Cut Bank Voting Center, beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Photo by Kari Lewis.

John Steuber, State Director of USDA Wildlife Services will wrap up the day with a presentation on Predatory Animal Damage Management.  Steuber will explain the process of petitioning for a per capita fee for predatory animal control within Glacier county, if producers desire.  Currently, 29 Montana counties have cattle petitions in place, and 49 Montana counties (including Glacier County) have sheep petitions in effect.   A cattle petition would be a $1/head fee used to provide predator damage management through the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Wildlife Services to Glacier County producers via hunting and trapping of livestock depredating coyotes, bears, mountain lions, wolves, etc.  With declining federal funding, cattle petitions allow Wildlife Services to support employees (hunter/trapper), equipment, helicopter flying time, etc. and provide a significant presence within the county.  If Glacier county producers desired the program, producer signatures representing 51% of the cattle on the county tax rolls (approximately 13,500 head) would be needed for the petition will go into effect.  Producers are strongly encouraged to attend to learn more about the predatory animal control program. 

Please contact Kari Lewis, Glacier county agent, with any questions regarding the program at (406) 873-2239 or 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Paraquat Mitigation Measures

Today’s material comes from an MSU Ag Alert regarding Paraquat Mitigation Measures, put out by Dr. Cecil Tharp, MSU Pesticide Education specialist. 
Photo by Kari Lewis

The EPA has approved several paraquat mitigation measures due to increased human health concerns.  Paraquat was first registered in 1964 in the US for weed control and crop desiccation; however, it is categorized as highly toxic through all routes of exposure by EPA where as little as one sip can be lethal with no known antidote. Many human poisonings through the ingestion of paraquat, either accidental or intentional, have been reported to EPA from poison control centers, product registrants, health agencies, environmental agencies and individual consumers. 

EPA has ordered the following measures to adequately protect applicators and the public.
1. Label changes emphasizing paraquat toxicity and supplemental warning materials.
2. Targeted training materials for paraquat users.
3. Closed-system packaging for all non-bulk (< 120 gallon) end use containers of paraquat.
4. Restricting the use of all paraquat products to certified applicators only.

In regard to the Targeted Paraquat Trainings, EPA is requiring all applicators who handle paraquat to take an EPA-approved paraquat training program when indicated on the new product label. EPA-approved paraquat training programs must provide information on: (1) paraquat toxicity; (2) a summary of the new label requirements; (3) consequences and examples of misuse of paraquat; (4) how to apply paraquat; (5) what to do in case of accidental exposure, and (6) appropriate handling, storage, disposal, and personal protective equipment requirements and instructions. The paraquat training program will be available via an internet link included on all paraquat end-use labels. All persons handling paraquat are expected to take the training every three years and retain documentation of successful completion.

At this point, we have not yet received specifics on the Targeted Paraquat Trainings, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated as we have more information.  The MSU Extension Pesticide Education program will continue to provide updates on that platform as we receive more information.   In the meantime, be sure to keep this on your radar.  For anyone needing a restricted use pesticide license or who would like one of their employees to become certified, you may test in your local Extension Office, or attend the training that will be held on April 17 in Conrad, watch for details on that.  Registration deadline is April 12, so register now to be sure to get on the list!