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Crop specialist: ‘Maine potato growers might need to reduce use of anti-blight pesticide’

A University of Maine Cooperative Extension crop specialist has been informing the state’s potato growers that they might need to reduce use of a widely used anti-blight pesticide.

According to an Associated Press news item published by Idaho Statesman, Steven Johnson said national and international changes in the regulation of a fungicide called chlorothalonil could prompt the changes. He said growers might consider moving to newer kinds of chemicals. Chlorothalonil has been used extensively in the farming of potatoes and other crops since the 1970s. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers it a “likely human carcinogen” and has attempted to reduce its use.

Johnson said there are “a lot of better and newer chemistries that have better and longer efficacy” than chlorothalonil. The European Union banned the pesticide in March, and Canada has reduced the amount that can be used during the growing season. An EPA review is also expected next year.

Johnson said there are “a lot of better and newer chemistries that have better and longer efficacy” than chlorothalonil.

The European Union banned the pesticide in March, and Canada has reduced the amount that can be used during the growing season. An EPA review is also expected next year.

Full report in the Idaho Statesman here