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BASF-EPA agreement will keep terbufos available

BASF has announced it has signed an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the re-registration of terbufos, the active ingredient in Counter systemic insecticide-nematicide. Under terms of the re-registration, the production of Counter will be gradually reduced to a maintenance level.

The re-registration of terbufos comes as part of a larger EPA initiative to review registrations and uses of all pesticides.

“We were aware the EPA would be taking a close look at all organophosphates, including terbufos, and BASF has been working with the agency over the past year to arrive at an outcome that's beneficial to growers,” said Kent Stickler, market manager, Corn Brands, with BASF. “We're pleased with the agreement.”

The reduction, or “phase-back,” of Counter production will meet EPA's goal of reducing the total amount of product in the marketplace while also meeting the BASF goal of ensuring adequate supplies of Counter for growers.

Among other attributes, Counter is considered the industry standard for control of corn rootworms, and is the only corn soil insecticide labeled for control of nematodes, a key corn pest. In addition to corn, Counter is registered for use on sugar beets and grain sorghum. Stickler noted that Counter is the leading insecticide in the sugar beet market due to its outstanding control of the sugar beet root maggot.

“We've been reminded over and over by growers how much they value Counter, and how much they need it,” Stickler said. “We're pleased with the amount of positive feedback we've received from the industry about the continued availability of Counter.”

In addition to the volume phase-back, the re-registration requires those who apply the 15G formulation of terbufos to do so in an enclosed-cab environment. This measure provides an additional safeguard for farmers, applicators and others who work with terbufos, Stickler said.

“We applaud anything that will help growers feel more confident about using Counter,” Stickler said, noting that BASF pioneered the use of the Lock'n Load closed-handling system several years ago for Counter. “The well-being of those who use our products has always been a priority.”

Terbufos is not the first organophosphate compound to come under review by the EPA, or to be subject to provisions of the Food Quality Protection Act. Regulatory changes were instituted for chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in Lorsban“ and Dursban“ insecticides. Under that action, the registrations for chlorpyrifos were withdrawn from several markets, and restricted in others.

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