Blueberries Dropped from Pristine and Cabrio Labels
by Joe DeFrancesco, North Willamette Research and Extension Center
Oregon State University

Blueberry growers in Oregon, and around the entire USA, will no longer be able to use Pristine or Cabrio fungicides once current supplies are used up. New product and product labels do not include blueberries. The following is part of a position statement that BASF issued this past September explaining their actions; the concern has to do with pyraclastrobin, an active ingredient in both products.

“BASF has received information/data that indicate certain tank mix products, when mixed with Pristine or Cabrio, may not be safe for use on blueberries. Because of this, BASF has made the difficult decision to remove the blueberry application from our Pristine and Cabrio labels.”

As most growers know, Pristine has been used for many years in blueberries, mainly for control of Botrytis fruit rot and mummy berry disease and also for other fungal diseases. Cabrio was used for control of anthracnose and Alternaria fruit rots. Both these products have provided excellent control of their targeted diseases and, as far as I know, had been used in Oregon and throughout the USA for years without negative consequences.

BASF’s decision to drop blueberries from these labels is related to law suits filed by two California blueberry growers concerning the use of pyraclastrobin and damage to their blueberry crop. In both cases, Pristine was tank-mixed with other products, even though the label states that not all tank mixes have been tested and that a grower should test a tank mix on a small portion of the field prior to applying to the entire field. Although the damage to the California blueberries could not be absolutely attributed to pyraclastrobin, the fact that blueberries are a relatively low-acreage, high-value crop, I believe BASF decided to limit continued litigation by withdrawing the registration for both products.

What about old product with blueberries on the label?

Pristine and Cabrio can be applied to blueberries as long as the product being used lists blueberries on the label. This will allow distributors to sell product they have on hand and allow growers to use up product they may still have in the barn. While it is legal to apply properly labeled product that is on hand indefinitely (i.e. the EPA tolerance for pyraclastrobin on blueberries will be retained, so compliance with residue issues will not be a problem) there is one caveat that growers should be aware of. BASF will support use of Pristine and Cabrio on blueberries (properly labeled product) for just the next 18 months (until March 2013), meaning that after that time they will not respond to questions or entertain concerns or complaints concerning blueberries.

Life without Pristine and Cabrio

There are several fungicides already registered for use in blueberries that provide good control of fruit rots, blossom blight, mummy berry and other diseases. Close to harvest, when a heavy fruit load can weigh down branches and prevent easy travel through the field to apply a pesticide, large-acreage growers often turn to aerial application for fruit rot control. Pristine was one of the few fungicides registered in blueberries for fruit rot control that allowed aerial application. As such, I am currently working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and pesticide registrants to allow aerial application for those fungicides that may need to be applied close to harvest. There are no guarantees but I am hopeful that there will be label changes that allow aerial application for more fungicides as we approach next field season.

In addition, on behalf of the Oregon blueberry industry I’ve made an appeal to BASF to consider allowing use of Pristine and Cabrio in Oregon blueberries under a Special Local Need label (Section 24c registration) that would include a waiver of liability and wording that would allow mixing with water only and no other products. While they did not jump at this opportunity (no surprise!), they said they would consider it after the “dust settles” surrounding the current litigation and that we should talk about it again after a few months from now. Stay tuned.

Although Cabrio, and especially Pristine, were effective and widely used, blueberry growers are fortunate to have a good tool box of products for management of diseases in their fields. Growers may need to adjust to a life without Pristine and Cabrio but, in the meantime, old product can be used and new, different products can be incorporated into their fungicide spray.


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Oregon Blueberry Commission • P.O. Box 3366 • Salem, Oregon 97302
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