Low acreage crops such as hemp, fall under the Minor Use Pesticide Program. Research is under way to screen herbicides under the minor use program that will lead to herbicide registration.
There are many pesticide uses on minor crops that are not available to Canadian growers. This is in part due to the small market that dissuades manufacturers from registering these uses in Canada. As a consequence, the Canadian growers of minor crops may only have access to a very limited number of registered pesticide products.
Many of these pesticide uses, known as "minor uses," are seen as essential to cost-effective pest control and resistance management, thereby maintaining the competitiveness and sustainability of the sectors.
Health Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) are actively involved in several initiatives and programs to increase the number of products available to the growers of minor crops in Canada.
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has put in place programs such as the User Requested Minor Use Label Expansions (URMULE), the minor use joint reviews and the pilot Tech Gap program, as well as incentives for chemical companies that register minor uses. Based on these programs and Growing Forward funding, AAFC’s Pest Management Centre works with commodity organizations and the Provincial Minor Use Coordinators to select 35 minor use projects each year, for which AAFC conducts the required research and prepares the minor use submission to the PMRA.
Minor use submission can also be made by Provincial Minor Use Coordinators if they have the necessary supporting data for the PMRA (e.g. data from provincial agricultural agencies, research centres, from the US, etc.). The Provincial Minor Use Coordinator also acts as a resource and provides advice to representatives and growers of minor use crops. Producer groups such as CHTA continue to act on behalf of the industry to encourage evaluation and registration of minor use pesticides.
Minor Use Program Objectives Include:
- To evaluate herbicides for weed control efficacy and crop safety in new, existing and small acreage crops.
- To develop efficacy, crop safety and residue data, especially for new, low-use rate, environmentally compatible herbicides to support product performance data for registration and labeling.
- To conduct preliminary evaluation of new herbicide chemistry that is emerging for crops. The primary focus is on "reduced risk" herbicides to replace those that may have adverse regulatory actions.
- To make available "reduced risk" and "safer" weed control products for growers of "minor" crops by obtaining registration of "minor" use products under URMULE.
- To develop an integrated weed management system for crops that includes herbicides and cultural practices which provides reliable control of weeds and acceptable crop safety.
Broadleaf and grassy weed control herbicides are being screened under this program to evaluate their potential use on industrial hemp.