Why not browse the rest of my site too? - It's not ONLY about manure!
In June 2008 a group of plot holders on our site noticed that potato and tomato crops were not growing well. Both types of crop were displaying distorted leaf formation. We realised that the problem was confined to areas where plot holders had applied manure which had been purchased from the same supplier which indicated that the manure was the source of our problems. This instigated more investigation and we discovered that the problem, which was identified as likely to be hormonal herbicide contamination, was not just affecting our allotment site. It also seemed that the contamination was not confined to manure as some reported that bagged compost seemed to be affected.
I decided to post information on my website so that others having problems had access to all the information that we had managed to gather. The suspect herbicide aminopyralid had its licence withdrawn by the manufacturer and after they drafted a improved stewardship the Chemicals Regulations Directorate (CRD) - formerly Pesticide Safety Directorate reapproved the licence. This means that the chemical is back in use so we need to be vigilant in monitoring whether the new stewardship is affective. An information sheet offering advice to anyone obtaining manure can be accessed here
The pages linked form here tell the story in full and hopefully the photographs and video helped in identification of the problem.
Cupping of leaves upwards is a typical sign of hormonal herbicide contamination. New growth may take on a fern-like appearance. Leaf texture may become leathery and veins may appear more prominent. In some plants the veins will be parallel to one another.
Just for reference the potato council has photos of symptoms of the many pests and diseases that can affect potatoes click here
Press release from DOW AgroSciences 17 June 2010
Reintroduction of aminopyralid products will not lead to more manure problems
Aminopyralid herbicides have been re-introduced this year to help grassland farmers deal with difficult to control weeds but with tight controls to prevent problems with manure management.
Aminopyralid herbicides are the most effective solutions to control dock, thistle, nettle, and buttercup infestations in grassland. To ensure that their use does not lead to a repeat of the issues seen previously, their availability is now tightly controlled with a significantly amended label and a stewardship scheme which ensures farmers are aware of the implications for subsequent manure management. The herbicides cannot be used on grassland destined for hay and silage nor on grassland grazed by horses. This year sales are restricted to Scotland, South West England and Northern Ireland.
There have been some incidents this year of manure containing aminopyralid ending up on gardens and allotments.
“This is disappointing and upsetting for those affected,” said Dow AgroSciences principal biologist Andy Bailey. “Although of small comfort, we would reassure anyone affected that this manure has not come from use this season under the new controls. It is a reflection of manure generated from past treatment and kept in heaps for more than a year. Also, the past long winter means old stocks of forage will have been consumed on livestock farms.”
The new restriction in aminopyralid use will mean any manure returns immediately to pasture where it will cause no harm and cannot leave the farm. The stringent use restrictions are explained in detail to every professional farmer who wants to buy a product and a written confirmation of understanding must be completed.
Dow AgroSciences’ advice to concerned farmers or gardeners remains the same – to check carefully the provenance of any manure being used where sensitive crops, such as potatoes, peas, beans and carrots, may be grown.
“If anyone supplying manure cannot state with certainty that no aminopyralid-based product (sold as Forefront, Pharaoh or Banish) was used on the forage from which the manure resulted, then it is best not to accept any supply,” says Mr Bailey. “For anyone who has manure and is concerned, please contact us through our dedicated website http://www.manurematters.co.uk.This site also contains detailed information and frequently asked questions for gardeners, horse owners and professional grassland farmers.”
Press release ends
I couldn't find any information on the new labelling for the UK but found this information with respect to Canada click here
Herbicide packaged before the reintroduction have been recalled see here
Anyone know why sales are being restricted to Scotland, South West England and Northern Ireland? (Not why sales are being restricted just why have they chosen these areas?
Aminopyralid is relicensed and is an active ingredient is Forefront (instructions for use) Clopyralid is an active ingredient in Verdone Extra- a lawn weedkiller available to amateur gardeners. Clopyralid has a similar effect to aminopyralid. Instructions for use state “The first mowing after application must not be used as a mulch, either fresh or after composting since it may damage desired plants. Dispose of via normal household waste. Do not dispose of via council composting schemes. The next three mowings should be used as a mulch only after composting well for at least 9 months.”
We all must rely on users sticking to these instructions.