Published: February 8, 2021

Category: Pesticide News

The weed treatment was working very well for organic vineyard farmers in Napa Valley, California.

Then Agro Gold Weed Slayer (WS) was found to contain two synthetic chemicals banned in organic farming—glyphosate and diquat. The California Department of Food and Agriculture issued a stop-use order for the product. In addition to trying to resolve how these products found their way into the organic supply list, organic grape growers are wondering if they’ll lose their certification.

Agro Gold WS is manufactured by Florida-based Agro Research International (ARI). ARI’s CEO Marc Lajeunesse said, “All I can tell you right now is that we at Agro Research do not use [add] any glyphosate or diquat to our product.”

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) announced that use of Agro Gold WS would stop—but organic producers who used it in good faith won’t be issued a noncompliance. Investigation is ongoing; Alan Schreiber, pesticide specialist, feels it’s unlikely that this was accidental—the two very different chemicals would never be used in the same tank or pipe. The product wasn’t tested or regulated, so instances of use are unknown—raising concern that some growers applied it without protective gear.

Agro Gold WS appealed to organic grape farmers as an alternative to Roundup; options for effective organic weed control are limited. Also the pandemic diminished work crews needed for weeding.

Napa Valley viticulturist Madeleine Rowan-Davis is cautiously waiting to see if the contamination was a mistake that could be amended.

Source: Napa Valley Register

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights February 2021