Agri-retailers can support market access by helping growers Keep it Clean.

Maximum residue limits (MRLs) are playing an increasingly important role in the acceptance of Canadian agriculture commodities in domestic and export markets. However, one of the challenges growers face is that the limits are not always uniform across markets, or they may not yet be established in export markets.

Canadian growers must continue to follow best application practices to keep residues within acceptable limits and markets open. To do so, growers need to know which products can cause concern in certain markets.

“We need farmers to know that just because you’re following the label, doesn’t mean that if you use it your grain will be acceptable for buyers and their customers,” says Brenna Mahoney, director of communications and stakeholder relations with Cereals Canada. “It is critical that growers are engaged with the rest of the value chain to know products of concern.”

One example of a product of concern for the 2018 season is chlormequat (e.g. Manipulator). In Western Canada, growers are advised to consult their grain buyer before spraying Manipulator on wheat. In Eastern Canada, use of the product on wheat is strongly discouraged because the United States, Eastern Canada’s largest market for wheat, does not have an MRL established for chlormequat.

With no MRL in place, it is uncertain what residue levels will be accepted. If a shipment containing wheat with any detectable chlormequat residue is received, at best, the shipment could be rejected, and at worst, it could close the market.

Collaborating to Keep It Clean

Recognizing that maintaining open markets for all commodities is critical to Canada’s agriculture sector, the Canola Council of Canada, Cereals Canada and Pulse Canada work together through Keep it Clean to provide growers with the information they need to ensure their crops are market ready.

“We’re all in this together,” says Brian Innes, vice president of public affairs with the Canola Council of Canada. “Each of us has a responsibility to support Canadian growers and provide them the information, in a timely matter, so they can make the best decisions on their farms to meet market requirements.”

By providing accurate, relevant and timely information, Keep it Clean aims to protect Canada’s reputation around the world as a trusted supplier and keep Canadian agriculture commodities welcome in all markets.

“The health of our industry improves if we are able to have stable and open trade with the markets that value our products the most,” says Innes. “Keeping markets open should be a part of a grower’s decision-making process at all points in the cropping plan.”

Communicating with Your Customers

As the growing season kicks off, the three groups are asking retailers to be aware of the 2018 products of concern, so they can help their grower customers make the best decisions around application.

“Agri-retailers have an opportunity to remind growers of proper product usage and application rates throughout the year,” says Mac Ross, manager of market access and trade policy with Pulse Canada. “Trusted agronomic advisors have a one-on-one relationship with producers. Agri-retailers can communicate to their growers the connection between best pesticide application practices and the ability to export Canadian grain.”

Keeping markets open should be a part of a grower’s decision-making process at all points in the cropping plan. Brian Innes

These best practices include following the correct rate and pre-harvest interval listed on the product label to avoid leaving residues.

For example, glyphosate should not be applied pre-harvest on cereals until the greenest part of the field is below 30 per cent moisture content. Retailers should strongly encourage their customers to pay special attention when applying glyphosate, as the product has come under increased public scrutiny in many markets compared to other pesticides.

Another example of a product of concern is the herbicide quinclorac on canola, as residues can occur in canola seed, oil and meal and there is currently no tolerance established to facilitate trade with China. That status may change after April 23 and retailers are encouraged to stay current by checking keepingitclean.ca.

Ross says that retailers can build and maintain trust with their customers by proactively providing them with information on keeping it clean and market access.

“We are all in this together and it is becoming more and more important for retailers to also understand the impact the use of certain products can have on a grower’s options to market their crop,” says Ross. “Providing growers with the knowledge of how on-farm management decisions can affect access to markets can help cement their position as a trusted advisor.”


For more information on how your customers’ application decisions can impact market access for all, visit keepingitclean.ca.


Products of Concern for the 2018 Growing Season
Canola: Quinclorac (e.g. Accord, Clever, Facet and Masterline Quinclorac) – do not use. Potential for change; visit keepingitclean.ca after April 23 for status update.
Metconazole (e.g. Quash) – treated canola not accepted by all grain buyers.
Wheat: Chlormequat (e.g. Manipulator) – consult your grain buyer in Western Canada, do not use in Eastern Canada.
Oats: Glyphosate (e.g. Roundup) – may not be accepted by grain buyers if treated pre-harvest.
Malt Barley: Glyphosate, Saflufenacil (e.g. Kixor) – will not be accepted by grain buyers if treated pre-harvest.
Pulses: Up-to-date information is now available at keepingitclean.ca.

Advise your customers to follow these three important steps to avoid unacceptable residues and protect Canada’s reputation as a quality supplier:

  • Use only registered products.
  • Always follow the label for rate, timing and pre-harvest interval.
  • Confirm market requirements with their grain buyer.

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