Pesticides News The journal of Pesticide Action Network UK An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides
No.99 April 2015
Protestors make their views known on saving the bees from neonicotinoid pesticides outside the UK Houses of Parliament (Photo: PAN UK)
In this edition • Growing coffee without endosulfan in Latin America: (2) using Beauveria biopesticide
News in brief
• Into the second year of the EU ban on neonicotinoids - and Oil Seed Rape yields actually seem to be up
• Glyphosate “probably carcinogenic”
• Voices of pesticides around Europe
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Growing coffee without endosulfan in Latin America: (2) using Beauveria biopesticide PAN UK recently collected farmers’ experiences in managing coffee pests in Latin America without the use of the highly toxic insecticide endosulfan. In the second of a series for PN, Staff Scientist, Stephanie Williamson describes how farmers are keeping pests in check by using Beauveria biopesticide. The listing of endosulfan by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) in 2011, triggered its inclusion on the prohibited lists of a number of supply chain standards schemes, such as 4C, Rainforest Alliance and Utz Certified. Fairtrade had already prohibited its use by certified farmers since 2005. However, this poses a challenge for many farmers who have been reliant on endosulfan until now. How can they shift to safer forms of pest management, without risking economic losses in their coffee yield or quality? To address this challenge, PAN UK set out to learn how farmers certified under standards such as Fairtrade have found effective alternative methods for controlling the principal coffee pest targeted by endosulfan, the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) Hypothenemus hampei. CBB is a tiny beetle which bores into ripening coffee berries, causing serious quality losses or yield reduction in the harvested beans if not adequately controlled.
cultural controls based on field hygiene practices
biological controls, applying biopesticides based on the fungus Beauveria bassiana
physical controls, using traps baited with methanol/ ethanol as an attractant
In addition, almost all farmers monitor their coffee plots to assess if and where borers are present and in what numbers. This field observation informs their decision-making on when control actions are needed. Most farmers combine two or more of these methods in an IPM strategy which enables them to prevent the pest from causing serious economic damage, with reduced or zero insecticide use.
Since the beetles survive from one season to the next inside berries that have either dropped to the ground or been left on trees after harvest, one of the most effective ways to control this pest is to collect and remove any ripe, over-ripe or dry berries left in the groves at the end of the season. When and how to do these sanitary practices (also known as cultural controls) PAN UK’s project on Growing depends on the climate and coffee Coffee without Endosulfan interviewed owners or managers from production characteristics in different regions. 21 certified farms about their pest control methods in two regions – Use of Beauveria biopesticide in Colombia and Central America (El Colombia Salvador and Nicaragua). Farms Colombian coffee growing is chosen covered large estates, medium characterised by almost continuous and small scale family farms, shaded flowering, which means that some and unshaded coffee groves, and with berries will be developing and some varying levels of CBB attack. maturing in each farm at most times Farmers reported three effective of the year. methods of controlling CBB without Of nine farmers interviewed in endosulfan or other hazardous Colombia, three of them regularly pesticides: www.pan-uk.org
A coffee berry after attack by a coffee berry borer (Photo: PAN UK)
apply biopesticides based on the fungus Beauveria bassiana as part of their IPM strategy. Overall, 55% of those interviewed are using biopesticides to some extent. Another 22% have used Beauveria in the past but no longer feel the need as good cultural practices keep CBB levels very low. Beauveria use tactics vary between the farmers using it each year – one regularly applies it 3 times a year to most of the plots, one focuses on hotspot applications once or twice a year, and another farmer makes ground applications only under older trees. Estimated cost varies from US $10-37 per application per ha for the product (excluding labour). The lowest cost estimate is similar to one application of the cheapest chlorpyrifos insecticide product (a commonly used replacement for endosulfan, which is banned in Colombia). All users report good or excellent 2
No.99 April 2015 a marked dry season in the months after coffee harvest, when no developing berries are present. The rainy season then triggers a welldefined major flowering although much smaller, earlier flowerings may also occur.
A mummified CBB on a coffee farm in Colombia (Photo: PAN UK)
results IF Beauveria product is applied at the right time and in conjunction with good monitoring and frequent berry picking and sanitation. The fully commercial products used by these Colombian farmers don’t have any major shelf-life or sunlight degradation constraints (the products contain sunscreen type protectants against UV light) but some farmers feel they are best applied under cooler conditions early in the morning. One important obstacle to effective use of Beauveria is application of fungicide for controlling coffee diseases, as the fungicide can kill the Beauveria spores. The coffee rust disease resistant varieties, such as Castillo promoted by the National Coffeegrowers Federation and planted by some farmers, avoid this problem as they don’t need fungicide protection. Those farmers using Beauveria regularly, along with very good cultural controls, have been able to greatly reduce or eliminate insecticide use. Reducing reliance on chemicals is a specific aim for their farms. The generally higher cost per application of Beauveria products, compared with insecticides, is not seen as a problem by these farmers because they are motivated www.pan-uk.org
personally and via their certification requirements and markets to minimise use of hazardous pesticides and to avoid worker health problems and harm to wildlife. Farmers highlighted that there are gains, sometimes economic, in using safer biopesticides, for example, no cholinesterase testing of spray operators is needed if the farm no longer applies any organophosphate insecticides. Use of Beauveria biopesticide in Central America Unlike Colombia, green berries are not present year-round in Nicaragua and El Salvador. There is
Of thirteen farmers interviewed in Nicaragua and El Salvador, six of these farms have applied Beauveria in at least one season. Overall, 31% of farmers interviewed are currently using Beauveria as a regular part of their IPM strategy. In addition, Salvadorian export company COEX includes Beauveria use as part of its IPM strategy on its own estates and is now promoting its use among its certified supplier farms. Beauveria users are applying local semi-commercial products grown on rice substrate by either a co-operative (Nicaraguan cases) or by the national coffee research institute (El Salvadoran cases). The mass of rice grains with fungal spores are sold in packs of 300-500g and the spore mass ‘washed’ into the spray solution, using fine mesh to prevent the rice grains from entering the spray tank. The small farmers reported spraying Beauveria, when possible, throughout the groves, while the
UCA Miraflor’s beauveria biopesticide (Photo: PAN UK)
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Case study: La Palmera Estate, La Loma District, Anserma Municipality, Caldas Dept. Colombia Caldas Department suffers some of Colombia’s highest levels of CBB. Borer levels can easily exceed 7% and even reach 15% on poorly managed farms in the lower zones. Years ago, Farm Manager, Don Alfonso Gómez used to run a contract spraying company, using endosulfan products on coffee farms. But over time he witnessed the huge damage that widespread endosulfan spraying was doing to the wildlife, with birds killed and snakes and small animals dead on the ground after every application, and serious risk to humans. He decided to change jobs after several poisoning incidents with some of his work team and became a farm manager, keen to find safer methods of pest control. He has managed La Palmera estate for two years and is aiming to reduce insecticide use and replace it Don Alfonso Gómez next to the farm work plan, showing different activities scheduled and recorded, with safer methods, including Beauveria biopesticide. including CBB control actions. (Photo: PAN UK)
In recent years, the estate has started using Beauveria biopesticides, as an alternative to conventional chemical control. Dom Alfonso uses the product Brocaril ® (Laverlam) at a dose of 50g product per 200 litres water, with 300-400 litres per ha according to tree size/age. Cost per ha is approx US$10-13 in product + US$22 in labour, similar to or a little more expensive than insecticides, as the cheapest generic chlorpyrifos product costs around US$10 per ha, using 3 litres. He makes 3 applications of Brocaril® per year around 90-120 days after flowering, in plots requiring treatment according to monitoring results. Don Alfonso has found Brocaril® very effective because it can ‘wipe out’ all the borers it reaches. He feels it’s better than many insecticides if applied just as the insect starts to enter the berry. Beyond direct kill by contact, the fungus will spread in the environment and infect more CBB. It also exerts very good control on CBB present in any fallen berries. "Farmers need to understand that Beauveria works differently from chemical products, it takes more time (up to 10 days) but then has a longer-lasting impact as it spreads. You can’t use it as an emergency, lastminute control and just like an insecticide, if you wait too long during the critical control period, the borer will be out of reach and you’ll end up wasting your money". medium farmers have used it in hotspots. Some make only one application per year and others may apply a second spray. Costs vary from US$7.10-11.34 in product per ha + labour , according to product price and dose rate used. The product cost is similar to, or a little lower than, insecticide use of US$ 9.37-15.62 per 1 ha dose of endosulfan. Most farmers considered the cost very acceptable but one smallholder could not afford it under the difficult economic situation in 2013. All those using Beauveria explained that they apply it as part of their control strategy, along with good cultural controls and sometimes with trapping too. It cannot be used as a single ‘replacement’ for www.pan-uk.org
endosulfan or other chemicals. Farmers and those producing and promoting Beauveria highlighted the need for farmers to be trained in its use so they understand how this product made from a living fungus differs from a chemical and needs to be handled with care. Short shelf-life of the rice/spores sealed packs (up to 15 days out of refrigeration) was a problem raised by some farmers and organisations in terms of getting more farmers to use these products. They need to apply these semicommercial products as soon as possible after purchase.
protect the future harvest, rather than remedying current infestation. However, they have observed naturally occurring levels increase after use and this helps in longerterm CBB regulation, along with cultural controls. Farmers’ interest in using Beauveria is because their farm is organic and no alternative spray options are permitted or they have been encouraged to use it as part of pesticide reduction aims for CBB. One noted that, unlike endosulfan, Beauveria does not harm the soil microflora, which is important for coffee plant nutrition under organic systems.
Farmers experienced in using Beauveria pointed out that the results are not immediate and it works best These Beauveria products are not to prevent CBB levels increasing or available in commercial agricultural spreading to other groves, in order to supply stores and can only be 4
Pesticides News obtained direct from the biopesticide labs or via co-operatives or technical support organisations promoting their use. Effective use is not very likely if these semi-commercial products are sold without proper training and advice. Main findings How effective is Beauveria biopesticide in controlling CBB? Can be useful as part of an IPM strategy IF a good quality product is applied with care and at the right time.
No.99 April 2015 How easy is it to implement?
Other key points
Semi-commercial products (rice with spores) have short shelf-life of a few days if unrefrigerated so should be applied as soon as possible and not stored or transported at high temperature.
Good cultural controls are the backbone of any effective IPM strategy. Biopesticides will not work well or cost-effectively without grove sanitation.
As with insecticides, Beauveria applications will not kill borers already within the bean so careful timing of application based on field assessment is needed.
Farmers need to understand that Beauveria does not immediately kill CBB but takes several days to infect and kill the insect. Regular applications can increase background levels of Beauveria in the grove, providing some level of longer-term control, especially in cooler, shady and humid conditions.
Semi-commercial products best applied early or late in the day to protect spores from UV light, unless 44% of farms interviewed in groves are shaded or weather cloudy. Colombia and 31% in Central Some large farms have Fully commercial products usually America are currently using successfully reduced or replaced contain UV protectants. Beauveria products. chemical use with regular Beauveria Fungicides applied close in time applications plus improved cultural 32% of global survey respondents to Beauveria applications will kill controls. rated biopesticide use Very Effective the spores. Separate spray equipment and 37% as Reasonably Effective Further information should be used to avoid (including in high CBB pressure contamination. Read the farm case studies and zones). guidance materials on cultural and Semi-commercial products not How much does it cost? other IPM methods via http:// widely available and may need to be www.pan-uk.org/projects/growingNot very different from ordered direct from technical support coffee-without-endosulfan insecticide application cost. organisation or farmer co-operative. Watch the project video Growing How much labour time does it need? Does it need much training before it Coffee without Endosulfan can be used? Biological Controls at: https:// Labour time similar to mixing and youtu.be/Ha4hPNR3GMI applying any insecticide. SemiFarmers must understand how commercial products need spores to applying living fungal spores differs Contact: be washed off rice and filtered from spraying a chemical. Advice, email@example.com before adding to the spray tank. and preferably an individual or This project was conducted in group training session, is needed to Labour time for monitoring CBB partnership with the 4C Coffee explain how to store, use and incidence levels and assessing Association www.4cevaluate Beauveria products. whether borers are within reach of Farmers are often best convinced by coffeeassociation.org and kindly biopesticide contact should also be seeing biopesticide use in practice on funded by FAO, the Sustainable included. Coffee Program powered by IDH an experienced userâ€™s farm. and the ISEAL Alliance.
No.99 April 2015
Into the second year of the EU ban on neonicotinoids - and Oil Seed Rape yields actually seem to be up In December 2013, the EU temporary ban on some uses of three bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides entered into force. Getting the ban in place was not easy and was the result of a lot of hard work by PAN UK and other organisations in the UK and EU in the face of stern opposition from the pesticide industry, National Farmers Union (NFU) and the UK government. PAN UK Policy Officer, Nick Mole, takes a look at developments over the past fifteen months, including evidence that, in fact, OSR yields appeared to have increased. Into the second year of the EU two year temporary ban, and can we see any reason for optimism that that the ban might be extended, widened or made permanent? The answer, in honesty is somewhat mixed, with both some very positive developments and some not so positive developments. Although, in terms of actually addressing the question of how much harm neonicotinoids do to bees, it seems that the ban is actually, as expected, nowhere close to delivering us an answer yet. Although of course we do have reams of scientific evidence about the harm that they cause from a plethora of independent peer reviewed studies.
their profits, while turning a blind eye to the plight of our pollinators. Yield losses for Oil Seed Rape? The most frequent cry has been that the ban is causing significant yield losses for Oil Seed Rape (OSR) crops throughout the EU. The UK farming media and pesticide lobby have been trumpeting this widely.
For example, in October 2014 Matt Ridley, journalist, writer of popular science books, Conservative member of the House of Lords and brother-inlaw to ex-Defra minister Owen Patterson, published a blog item decrying the ban.2 The article contained a number of assertions aimed at demonstrating the negative effects of the ban. These included; The EU-wide ban applies to the “All across southeast Britain this active substances; clothianidin, autumn, crops of oilseed rape are imidacloprid and thiamethoxam and only in some circumstances; “for seed dying because of infestation by flea treatment, soil application (granules) beetles. The direct cause of the and foliar treatment on bee attractive problem is the two-year ban on pesticides called neonicotinoids plants and cereals.”1 And it is brought in by the EU over British intended to run up until December 2015 when the effects of the ban will objections at the tail end of last year.” and “The loss of the rape crop this be evaluated and a decision on the next steps will be taken. However, at autumn is approaching 50 per cent in Hampshire and not much less in other this stage, it is unclear exactly how the Commission plans to evaluate the parts of the country.” His opinion was clear: these losses were a direct result impacts, or indeed when a decision of the ban on neonicotinoids and will be taken. subsequent damage by flea beetles. Vested interests He went on to blame the ban on the There has been very information work of the ‘green lobby’ or as his on what farmers are actually doing to brother-in-law, Owen Paterson, terms replace seeds treated with it, the ‘green blob’ and their undue neonicotinoids in EU Member States, influence on UK decision makers and including the UK. But what there has EU. It is worth noting that the ban been is a lot of misleading came into place before Owen information and outright propaganda Patterson was sacked as Environment from vested interests intent on Minister. In fact, while in post, Mr undermining the ban and protecting www.pan-uk.org
Photo: PAN UK
Paterson bitterly opposed the ban and paid little attention to the entreaties from the ‘green blob’. Under close scrutiny, the assertions of Ridley and others, such as the Chair of the Crop Protection Association3 are easily refuted by actual evidence rather than anecdotal tales and / or supposition on the part of those who never wanted to see a ban in the first place. In the first instance, the OSR planted before December 1st 2013, i.e. the winter planting due for harvest in 2014, would have used seed treated with neonicotinoids and would therefore have had just as much protection as previous crops. The latest yield results presented by HGCA show that losses to OSR yields due to flea beetle damage stood at 2.7% overall, hardly the devastating losses reported by some parts of the media.4 Another report, produced by 6
Pesticides News ADAS5, states that “Yields were above average across all cereals and oilseeds, aided by good crop establishment, adequate moisture through the spring and summer, and plentiful sunshine during grain fill.” Leading to “national average yield of winter crops [of] 3.3-3.6 t/ha”. This is an increase from the expected 3.2 t/ha for OSR projected earlier in the year by the Voluntary Initiative.6 So far it seems that yields are in fact up.
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such an exemption. This attracted significant opposition, including a Another criticism of the ban is that petition with over 219,000 signatures without neonicotinoid seed dressings, calling on UK Prime Minister David farmers will be forced to resort to Cameron to “put our bees above older, ‘nastier’ chemistry to control Syngenta’s profits”. Syngenta pests. They are of course referring to subsequently withdrew the the use of pyrethroid sprays. For this application, claiming that it was too claim to stand up, the introduction of late to affect planting of crops in neonicotinoids in the early 1990s 2014, but stating they would re-apply should have seen a drop in the use of in 2015. pyrethroids on OSR. However, analysis of Defra figures on pesticide We also have reports of the spring use in the UK since 1990 does not sown crops and their yields. These support this.8 In fact, the use of sowings would have been covered by pyrethroids on oil seed crops has the ban and thus should not have been hardly dropped at all falling by just treated with neonicotinoids. How 1g/ha from 0.018 kg/ha in 1990 to devastating has the impact been? 0.017 kg/ha in 2013. On the other ADAS data for the spring sown OSR hand, during the same period, the use harvest 7 show that: of neonicotinoids on oil seed crops has risen from 0 kg/ha to 0.221 kg/ha. “The season’s estimated national The net effect of this is that in the 23 yield is 2.0 t/ha, which is in line with years since 1990 there has been an the 5 year average. Yields were increase in the amount of bee toxic variable, ranging from 0.7-3.1 t/ha, pesticides used on oil seed crops in with higher yields from crops that the UK from 18 grams per hectare to were grown on medium or heavier 238 grams per hectare. soils that had established well during the spring. Poorer yields were Critically, there has been no Photo: Graham White associated with crops which suffered significant increase in yields in that premature senescence due to warm time either. Successful applications have been temperatures, pest damage and high Whilst PAN UK does not support made for essential uses of the banned disease pressure where fungicides the use of pyrethroid sprays as such, neonicotinoids by other EU Member were not timed appropriately.” it is worth noting that they are only States over the course of the year. So we are not seeing massive used once a problem has been There will undoubtedly be further losses, the yields being in line with identified as opposed to the blanket applications, including from the UK. the five year average. What is more, application of neonicotinoids to 100% Independent science where low yields were encountered, of the crop as a “belt and braces” ADAS blamed multiple factors insurance policy. They also degrade Meanwhile, the scientific case including weather conditions and in the environment far more quickly demonstrating negative impacts of inappropriate use of fungicides. Pest than the highly persistent neonicotinoids on bees and other damage was reported but this was not neonicotinoids - a 30 day half life pollinators has continued to grow. the sole factor, and can in no way be compared to a 1000 day half life One of the most significant piece of used to back up the almost present with some neonicotinoids. work was the release in July of a apocalyptic warnings of crop report by the International Union for "Put our bees above Syngenta’s devastation bandied around by the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)9 profits" neonicotinoid supporters. This is of that studied 800 independent peer Another area that has caused course the first year of the ban and it reviewed reports on the effects of concern is the pesticide industry’s remains to be seen how this year’s neonicotinoids. The IUCN came to plantings will fare, but PAN believes calls for an “essential use” the conclusion that neonicotinoids derogation, or exemption, to the ban. “are causing significant damage to a that the results from the spring Such derogations will make it even sowing show that it is possible to wide range of beneficial invertebrate more difficult to assess the effect of a species and are a key factor in the grow OSR successfully without the ban. In June 2014, PAN UK exposed decline of bees”. blanket application of bee toxic an application by Syngenta for just neonicotinoids. www.pan-uk.org
Older, ‘nastier’ chemistry?
Pesticides News But to end with a mostly positive note, the UK Government has developed a new National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) after concluding that our pollinators are in need of help if they are to survive and thrive. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org --References 1. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressrelease_IP-13-379_en.htm 2. http://www.rationaloptimist.com/ blog/bees-and-pesticides.aspx 3. http://www.farmersguardian.com/
No.99 April 2015 arable-farming/cpa-calls-for-bettermonitoring-of-neonicotinoidban/67584.article
7. http://www.hgca.com/ media/507979/HGCA-HarvestReport-10-Week-11-Final-PDF.pdf
4. http://www.hgca.com/press/2014/ october/08/csfb-crop-lossesestimated-at-27-in-hgca-funded%E2%80%98snapshot-assessment %E2%80%99.aspx
8. https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/ pusstats
9. http://www.iucn.org/ news_homepage/?16025/SystemicPesticides-Pose-Global-Threat-toBiodiversity-And-EcosystemServices
6. http:// www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/ importedmedia/library/1152_s4.pdf
News in brief about pesticides sprayed on the sidewalk, local tourist guides concerned about spraying of historical monuments etc.
PAN Europe: Voices of pesticides around Europe For the first time, a coalition of national and European NGOs have taken the initiative to bring together the voices of the victims of pesticide poisoning by launching a new website dedicated to telling their stories.
Farmers and agricultural workers also contact us on a regular basis, concerned about the pesticides that they have to use or that they come into contact with during the course of their work.
But these stories have up until now gone largely unheard, ignored and those telling them have been left to feel isolated and alone. With the aim to change this and give a voice to the victims of pesticides, PAN Europe launched the voices of pesticides Pesticides are found in drinking website so that these people need to water, in the air, in the soil and even be silent no more in our blood. Bees are disappearing at www.voicesofpesticides.info an alarming rate, while pesticides Glyphosate â€œprobably contribute to destroying the balance carcinogenicâ€? of biodiversity, and diseases related to pesticide exposure are multiplying. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has labelled the Worldwide, citizens are more and world's biggest herbicide, glyphosate, more concerned about the impact of as 'probably carcinogenic'. Another pesticides on their health and the four widely used organophosphate environment. PAN are regularly insecticides may also pose a cancer contacted by citizens of diverse risk. backgrounds expressing their concern about pesticide use in towns: parents A monograph published by the worried about pesticides use in the International Agency for Research on playgrounds, schools, sports fields, Cancer (IARC) - of which a summary public gardens, dog owners worried is published in the scientific journal www.pan-uk.org
The Lancet Oncology - has branded the herbicide glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans". According to the Lancet article, "Glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water, and in food. There was limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. "Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada, and Sweden reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides. The AHS cohort did not show a significantly increased risk of nonHodgkin lymphoma." Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, currently with the highest production volumes of all herbicides, and as IARC notes, "it is used in more than 750 different products for agriculture, forestry, urban, and home applications. Its use has increased sharply with the development of genetically modified glyphosateresistant crop varieties." Read the full report http:// www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/ article/ PIIS1470-2045%2815%2970134-8/ fulltext 8
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