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Author Topic: Aminopyralid - Persistent Herbicide In Manure Causes Problems with Crops  (Read 40858 times)

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ge0ff

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The license has strict regulations about how/where to use it, and the farmers should not be selling straw grown on fields that have been sprayed.
So it seems to me that it's the farmers who sold the bales of straw to the stables who are fault in this sad chain of events.

Yes, you may be right - but as the manure was well-rotted, the herbicide may have been applied before the regulations were tightened up. Also, it may actually have been applied to the horses' pasture - I don't know yet because I haven't spoken to the owner of the stables yet. Think I'll pluck up the courage to send her a text.

Personally, I still hold the manufacturer responsible. They should never have made a product available that can have this effect when distributed in the time-honoured, standard way of picking up a bit of manure from your local stables.
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ge0ff

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It gives me no pleasure to add to this sad topic. The problem still exists in May 2011 - fresh (well rotted) horse manure on my allotment has wrecked it.  >:(

I'll be writing to my MP.

I've already written to Dow Agrosciences with several questions, via their UK 'hotline', but as it's Bank Holiday they won't have read it yet.

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Even if this hadn't had its license restored, the effects would have continued through 2013. I've repeatedly warned about it in my newsletter, books and diary but sadly it is still a surprise to people.
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realfood

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Having suffered from aminopyralid in manure 2 years ago, and having been involved in the campaign to have the ban continued with the support of my MP, I understand how angry you will be. Yours is the first report that I have heard of this year, but I fear that there will be many more.
Firstly write to your MP asking for their support.
Second, complain to Dow and ask them to take away any manure that has not been dug in.
Third, contact this site http://glallotments.co.uk/ACManure.aspx and get them to add this instance of contamination to to list to warn people that this is still a very real problem.
It is a bit late now for you, but for others who are planning to get in manure, ALWAYS DO THE BEAN TEST FIRST BEFORE YOU SPREAD ANY MANURE ON THE GROUND. You will save yourself so much heartache.
From my experience, you are quite right that courgettes are affected adversely by aminopyralid, as are all the other curcurbits, especially winter squash.
It is not the straw that is the problem, as aminopyralid has never been licensed for use on cereals. It is in the hay or silage that has been fed to the animals.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 19:46 by Aunt Sally »

ge0ff

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I had confirmation today that the manure I used on my allotment was contaminated with a hebicide called 'Forefront'. It had been sprayed onto horses' pasture 3 years ago, to kill nettles etc. Bad news, but at least it's definite.

Update - Dow Agrosciences (the manufacturers of the product) have just offered to do several things to help mitigate the disaster on my allotment - and are therefore taking some responsibility, as they should, but in my opinion they should go a lot further to compensate the many allotment holders who have been devastated by this chemical disaster.

I hope this never happens to you.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 18:41 by Aunt Sally »

Kristen

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You have my sympathy, but I disagree with your statement "but in my opinion they should go a lot further to compensate the many allotment holders who have been devastated by this chemical disaster."

The farmer should never have sold the hay to the stables, and the stables should have become aware from the press (at some time in the last three years) that there was a potential problem that they should be careful about. It was reported in Farmers Weekly in November 2007 (and probably at other times since then too)

As you have found out that the grass was treated with Forefront then someone you have spoken to must know that that product specifically was used, and they must therefore have seen the label when the chemical was used. That label, at that time, was absolutely clear about the side effects and the responsibility of farmers to inform recipients of hay, silage, manure, slurry etc.

I posted the instructions, verbatim, from the label in another forum in 2008.  Here's a copy:

"Manure and Slurry Management

Do not use animal waste (e.g. manure or slurry) from animals fed on grass treated with Forefront, of fodder resulting from grass treated with Forefront, on susceptible crops e.g. peas, beans and other legumes, sugar beet, carrots and umbelliferae, potatoes and tomatoes, lettuce and other compositae, or land intended for growing such crops.

If grass, hay, silage, manure or slurry is exported off your farm, it is your responsibility to inform the recipient of this information
"

(the boldfacing is mine)

The farm has had three years (during which time knowledge of the issue in the farming industry has become increasingly commonplace) to make the stables aware of the potential problem ...

As others have said, Dow has obtained a licence for this product under current regulations, and whilst you may not like the product DOW has done nothing wrong. I'm sure you won't see it this way, but you could take the view that Dow is being generous in offering to take the contaminated manure away; the responsibility for your problem lies solely with the slapdash husbandry of the farmer or contractor who used the chemical in the first place and flagrantly ignored the hazard label on the product.

I'm not pro-Dow or pro Big-Pharma. I think the farming community was remarkably slapdash with their use of chemicals in this instance, and the result was widespread distribution of contaminated manure. That caused the product to be temporarily withdrawn. I am not optimistic about the so-called tighter notification that was introduced when the product was re-licensed, and always seek reassurance from the farmers I get my manure from as to the provenance of the hay used to feed the animals.
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ge0ff

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You have my sympathy, but I disagree with your statement "but in my opinion they should go a lot further to compensate the many allotment holders who have been devastated by this chemical disaster."

The farmer should never have sold the hay to the stables, and the stables should have become aware from the press (at some time in the last three years) that there was a potential problem that they should be careful about. It was reported in Farmers Weekly in November 2007 (and probably at other times since then too)

As you have found out that the grass was treated with Forefront then someone you have spoken to must know that that product specifically was used, and they must therefore have seen the label when the chemical was used. That label, at that time, was absolutely clear about the side effects and the responsibility of farmers to inform recipients of hay, silage, manure, slurry etc.

I posted the instructions, verbatim, from the label in another forum in 2008.  Here's a copy:

"Manure and Slurry Management

Do not use animal waste (e.g. manure or slurry) from animals fed on grass treated with Forefront, of fodder resulting from grass treated with Forefront, on susceptible crops e.g. peas, beans and other legumes, sugar beet, carrots and umbelliferae, potatoes and tomatoes, lettuce and other compositae, or land intended for growing such crops.

If grass, hay, silage, manure or slurry is exported off your farm, it is your responsibility to inform the recipient of this information
"

(the boldfacing is mine)

The farm has had three years (during which time knowledge of the issue in the farming industry has become increasingly commonplace) to make the stables aware of the potential problem ...

As others have said, Dow has obtained a licence for this product under current regulations, and whilst you may not like the product DOW has done nothing wrong. I'm sure you won't see it this way, but you could take the view that Dow is being generous in offering to take the contaminated manure away; the responsibility for your problem lies solely with the slapdash husbandry of the farmer or contractor who used the chemical in the first place and flagrantly ignored the hazard label on the product.

I'm not pro-Dow or pro Big-Pharma. I think the farming community was remarkably slapdash with their use of chemicals in this instance, and the result was widespread distribution of contaminated manure. That caused the product to be temporarily withdrawn. I am not optimistic about the so-called tighter notification that was introduced when the product was re-licensed, and always seek reassurance from the farmers I get my manure from as to the provenance of the hay used to feed the animals.

Thanks for your very informative reply, especially the labelling details. Was the labelling you quote in place before it was withdrawn or after it was relicensed? Maybe you don't know.

I know that Forefront was applied directly to the horses' pasture in my case, so no farmers or hay were involved. The owner of the stables has found out that Forefront was used - as a result of me warning her that her manure had problems - and she has kindly told me. I don't know who applied it - the owner or a contractor. And my best information is that it was applied some time ago, so maybe before the problem became more widely known.

I'm still left with unresolved serious concerns -

1. In my case the herbicide stayed in the manure for a long time (years), until it came into contact with my plants, so presumably there is still contaminated manure dotted around the countryside and there are going to be more innocent victims. This thread is the only way I know of keeping the matter alive - there are definitely allotment holders on my allotment site who still know nothing about the issue.

2. As an innocent victim, who will compensate me (and the many others)? This is not my main concern - I'm not one of society's 'grabbers', but businesses tend to change their ways most readily when profits are threatened.

3. Like you, I'm not at all confident that the tighter regulations are effective. Policing the use of these herbicides is impossible. Sadly, as long as they are on the market there will be cases like mine. I hope it's never you, who are reading this.

Ice

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Would be useful to others if you posted some pictures of the damage.  As we often say on here "a picture paints a thousand words".

ge0ff

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Would be useful to others if you posted some pictures of the damage.  As we often say on here "a picture paints a thousand words".

Yes - I keep forgetting to take my good camera to the allotment, but I've got a few poor potato shots taken with my wife's camera phone (one of which is already my avatar pic) - and my dead rose bushes - and I could photograph the dying rhubarb, but we've moved it and chopped it down a bit, so it might be a bit misleading. And I can photograph the bare ground where the beans didn't grow!

I'll try to remember to take the camera to the allotment next time I go. In the meantime, here are two of the cameraphone shots (with apologies for poor quality)...






Kristen

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Thanks for your very informative reply, especially the labelling details. Was the labelling you quote in place before it was withdrawn or after it was relicensed? Maybe you don't know.

Definitely before it was re-licensed (that wording was from 2008), but I am not sure whether that wording was "in place" when it was first released - the Farmer/Contractor may have had some chemical sat on the shelf with an earlier wording I suppose.

Quote
And my best information is that it was applied some time ago, so maybe before the problem became more widely known.

Yes, that's quite possible of course. If that's the case its a pity no one involved thought to "speak up" to their "clients" when the problem became more widely known

Quote
the herbicide stayed in the manure for a long time (years), until it came into contact with my plants

I've forgotten the details, but there was discussion at the time. The herbicide will persist in plant matter. So putting contaminated manure on your soil, and then composting the plants that grow (abnormally) will persist the problem I think. From memory Dow's advice at the time was to rotavate contaminated ground a number of times during the season to help the chemical break down, and to prevent vegetation growing that can persist the cycle. Hopefully a Google will find the advice that was given / discussed at the time. I will PM you some links to another forum where it was discussed

Quote
As an innocent victim, who will compensate me (and the many others)? This is not my main concern - I'm not one of society's 'grabbers', but businesses tend to change their ways most readily when profits are threatened.

Indeed, and I said as much in a number of threads at the time. The farmer, or contractor who sprayed, is liable (assuming that this did not pre-date when the instructions made it clear). There are also requirements for Waste Disposal, but manure is a grey area. Movement of manure from one farm to another is permitted, and whether "An Allotment" constitutes Agriculture or not is a grey area in this regard. Likewise for disposable of Manure from Stables to "Agriculture" [which might encompass "Allotments"]. There was a formal report from the Environment Agency, or somesuch, that said as much at the time (including the "grey area" bits that I have mentioned)

Whether you have a case against someone for negligence during Waste Disposal (which I think is a matter for the Environment Agency) I'm therefore not sure. They may, hopefully?, have tightened up the "grey areas" since 2008.

You have been sold goods that are "unfit", so Trading Standards should also help.

Quote
Policing the use of these herbicides is impossible

Quite. :(

mobilekat

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As an former horse owner I would like to make a comment in defence of the yard owner who provided the manure.

The last few years it has been hard to get good hay, and horses eat it like its going out of fashion (and then produce the manure we all love)
The real pain is that most places you get hay from- farmer merchant etc. are very poor at telling you where the hay came from (as they don't want you to go direct to the farmer)
This means it is very easy to end up feeding hay that has come from 'bad pasture'. And when you have an hungry horse you have to feed it!

We all end up caught in a bad circle. I would never want to feed my animals with hay that contains excess chemicals, as no matter the testing that has been done it cant be ideal.

Nor would any one I know with horses want to have manure that was not safe to use.

I have had friends affected by this issue and really do wish more thought had gone into the licencing of the chemical, as anyone who produces a product designed for use on hay and silage will know where this will eventually end up.

But when push comes to shove the main thing that agri-chemical companies consider is the bottom line, after all they are businesses.
And in the end its the environment which loses out!



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Nobbie

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Just been up to check my allotment and found all my spuds are just like the pictures above :(, looks like we've had a load of contaminated manure at our site.

I'd lined the rows with manure, so will dig it up and remove it, anyone know what crops are most resistant to this menace? I'm thinking sweetcorn, as it's a grass, what about cabbages? anything else?

realfood

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From my experience, if the manure stays in a heap, even as small as a bucketful, and is exposed to the elements, it will stay lethal as the aminopyralid is still locked up in the grass residues until it has completely rotted down with the action of soil bacteria.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 18:48 by Aunt Sally »

Nobbie

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The advice is appreciated Geoff :), Actually, I moved from Ickleford and have only just updated my profile ::) to Wilmslow Cheshire.

I went up the allotment yesterday and put a notice on the suspect heap and by chance there is an allotment meeting on Monday night where I'll let everyone know. Sadly when I had a look around the site it looks like many others have been affected. I talked to my neighbour and he was completely unaware of the problem untill I showed him where his spuds were affected.

I've removed the manure that was spread over the brassica bed and will just go ahead and plant and see what happens. Luckily it was compacted ground and so was relatively easy to scrape of. I tried to remove the manure from the potato trenches, but it's very difficult now that the potatos have there roots through it. The advice I've read elsewhere is that the best way to clear the plot is to rotavate the area every few weeks to allow soil bacteria to work. I haven't got a rotavator, so it looks like a lot of digging. Still nothing like the job you've got on your hands though :( I feel positively lucky in comparison, as 2/3 of my plot is unaffected.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 18:51 by Aunt Sally »

Zippy

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I feel that this herbicide has become so widespread now that it is pretty much lost in the system and so any manure should be considered suspect unless its history is really well known.

I won't use manure at all for this reason and other reasons that are not relevant here. The risk (for me) has become too great as the veggies I grow are more than a hobby; they supplement our food provisions so I couldn't afford a spoiled plot.



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