Jan 8, 2021
New crop groups OK’d to help growers identify pest management tools

Two new crop groups have been added to the IR-4 Project Regulation of Crops, Crop Groups, Crop Subgroups and Crop Definitions.

The additions will make it easier for growers of various herbs and spices to identify and utilize approved pesticides and biopesticides for pest management solutions for these particular crops. View the new crop groups in the updated crop group table on the IR-4 Project website.

Crop grouping is a cost-effective solution for growers of major or minor crops. Instead of developing costly residue data on technologies used for pest management on individual crops, researchers can develop data on a smaller set of representative crops and then extrapolate the data to a larger number of related crops. This enables research funds to be extended while still providing necessary data for establishing tolerances. The process is accepted internationally, improving trade of these crops.

The original crop grouping index was established in 1995 in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and included approximately 60 crops. Since 2002, five revisions have taken place that have added new crop groups, subgroups and representative crops, or updated existing groups to the regulation. The latest revision includes the addition of crop group 25: Herb Crop Group, and crop group 26: Spices Crop Group. These two groups alone total more than 600 new commodities, including varieties of basil, dill, mint, and celery.

Crop groups include crops that have similar morphology and are used in similar cultural practices. Crops within a group have similar edible portions and growing seasons, are grown in areas with similar geography, and have a similar potential for pesticide residues.

The approval of new tolerances on crop groups is based on residue data from representative crops within the group or subgroup. When pest problems are contained in the same crop group or subgroup, uses of pesticides on crops within the group can be expected to have similar residue profiles as to the representative crops of that group. Representative crops are most likely to contain the highest residues, are major in terms of production and/or consumption, and are similar in morphology, growth habit, pest problems and edible portions to the related commodities.

Crop groups are revised to make it easier for tolerances to be established for new, or “orphan” crops. Orphan crops are crops that are added to the variety of commodities produced by growers, but don’t fall within an existing crop group. By revising and adding to the regulation of crop groupings, tolerances can be established and pest management tools can be used on these crops by specialty growers.

Two more phases of revisions are expected to take place before revising the entire regulation is complete. These phases will include approximately nine more groups, such as legumes and beans. The entire revision is expected to be completed within the next three years.

Established in 1963, the mission of the IR-4 Project is to facilitate safe and effective pest management solutions for use on specialty food crops and minor use on major food crops.

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