Neonicotinoid rules for growers
What corn and soybean growers need to know about rules for neonicotinoid-treated seed (Class E pesticides).
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Class E pesticides
The provincial government is responsible for regulating the sale, use, transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides in Ontario.
Treated seeds are seeds that have been coated with a pesticide. In Ontario, Class E pesticides are corn and soybean seeds treated with the following neonicotinoid insecticides:
This class of pesticides applies to corn seed grown for grain or silage and soybean seed. The regulation does not apply to:
- popping corn
- sweet corn
- corn used for the production of seed
- soybean seed planted for the purpose of producing a soybean seed crop of certified status under contract
- corn seed and soybean seed treated only with fungicide
You must follow specific requirements if you intend to buy or plant neonicotinoid-treated corn or soybean seed.
The regulation does not include requirements for the transport and storage of Class E pesticides.
Requirements for farmers
The requirements for farmers ensure that you will only use neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds when there is a demonstrated risk of a pest problem.
If you want to buy and use neonicotinoid-treated seeds, you will be required to:
- complete the integrated pest management (IPM) training
- complete a pest risk assessment and a pest risk assessment report
- sign a declaration called an IPM Written Declaration Form stating that you have considered IPM principles to decrease the risk of early season insect damage.
You need to provide these pieces of information, along with your IPM training certificate number, to the sales representative or seed vendor, including direct-to-farm seed vendors, from whom you purchase the seeds or to the custom seed treater used for treating seeds with neonicotinoids.
When using neonicotinoid-treated seeds, you are required to:
- only plant them on the farm property/properties identified in your pest risk assessment report
- use them in accordance with the directions set out on the federal government’s label or tag
- maintain current records when you plant treated seed
- retain these records for at least two years
There are no requirements for using non-treated seed or fungicide-only treated seed. Using non-neonicotinoid-treated seed can help protect pollinators and reduce the impact of neonicotinoids on the environment.
Integrated pest management training
Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to managing pests that is environmentally and economically sustainable.
- promoting the use of different treatment methods to prevent and reduce the risk of pests and encourage beneficial insects, including pollinators
- using pesticides as a last resort to control pest problems
- training on identifying pests, scouting methods and alternative methods to using pesticides
You are required to complete the IPM training course before you can purchase and plant neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed.
- only needs to be completed once
- does not expire (recertification is not required)
You will receive a certificate number following successful completion of the course.
You must provide your certificate number as proof of completion to:
- a sales representative
- custom seed treater
An IPM-trained person can supervise people who are planting neonicotinoid-treated seeds on the farm.
You do not need to take IPM training if you are a farm owner who hires people to purchase and plant neonicotinoid-treated seeds. In this case, the person you hire (e.g., a farm manager or supervisor) will need to take IPM training.
Training is available at various locations through the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus either in person or online. Follow the link or call 1-866-225-9020 for more information.
The cost for training is $88.33 upon registration. The fee will increase by 10% annually until September 2020.
Pest risk assessment report
A pest risk assessment report is documented proof that the conditions of a farm property demonstrate a risk for pests that allow the use of neonicotinoid-treated seed.
To purchase neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed, you must provide a pest risk assessment report to a vendor, sales representative or custom-seed treater.
The pest risk assessment report must reflect the findings from your pest risk assessment. Pest risk assessments must be done according to the Pest Risk Assessment Guideline, which outlines how pest risk assessments are to be conducted and sets out the minimum thresholds and pest risk criteria.
There are three pest risk assessment methods:
- soil pest scouting
- crop damage assessment
- pest risk criteria
Soil pest scouting
This method assesses the presence of grubs and wireworms in soil. Soil pest scouting is often done in the spring or fall.
The assessment must confirm the presence of an average of two or more grubs, or one wireworm in soil at a farm property. A report must verify that the assessment meets or exceeds the pest threshold in order to purchase neonicotinoid-treated seeds.
Crop damage assessment
This method assesses crop damage from pests. The assessment must confirm at least a 15% stand loss in corn, or at least a 30% stand loss in soybean caused by pests, in order to purchase neonicotinoid-treated seeds.
Pest risk criteria
This method uses the criteria listed in the Pest Risk Assessment Guideline. At least one risk factor must be identified on the property from the criteria list in order to purchase neonicotinoid-treated seeds.
You can perform a pest risk assessment and prepare a report if you have completed the integrated pest management (IPM) training.
A pest risk assessment only needs to be done once per farm property and only one report is needed for each agricultural operation (that contains multiple farm properties). A pest risk assessment only needs to be done once per farm property and only one report is needed for each agricultural operation (that contains multiple farm properties). You can download and print a pest risk assessment report form online.
Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs