Saskatchewan and Alberta are urging the Pest Management Regulatory Agency to reconsider its decision to restrict the use of lambda-cyhalothrin (products like Silencer and Matador) in controlling grasshoppers and flea beetles.

Grasshoppers are expected to be a significant concern for the 2023 growing season.

The PMRA changes mean lambda-cyhalothrin can no longer be used for any crop that may end up as livestock feed and as a result, its manufacturers have pulled their products from Western Canada.

Saskatchewan's Agriculture Minister David Marit and Alberta's Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner say farmers need a solution for the coming growing season, and are calling on the PMRA to enact an emergency reinstatement of the product's use to ensure that farmers can use it for the coming growing season.

Crop Extension Specialist Erica Yaskowich says for crop producers this decision by the PMRA and subsequent action by companies that manufacture these products means that producers may have to choose other options for insect control of their crops this year.

She notes insects controlled by this chemistry include grasshoppers, cutworms, lygus bugs, aphids, flea beetles, diamondback moth, as well as bertha armyworms in crops like canola, mustard, wheat, barley, oats, flax, lentils, peas, chickpeas, faba beans and soybeans. 

Roger Chevraux, chair of Alberta Canola, and Keith Fournier, chair of SaskCanola say with extreme flea beetle pressure, hot spots for grasshoppers and cutworms across the Prairies and forecasted outbreaks, the lambda-cyhalothrin decision could severely impact yields, our livelihoods, feedstocks and food prices. 

They add that the PMRA needs to base its decisions on sound science and be aligned with our largest trading partner.

While Canada has recently implemented restrictions for lambda-cyhalothrin, the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency removed its restrictions in 2019. 

They note that adds to concerns now that the PMRA decision will cause more confusion around livestock feed coming into Canada from the U.S.