Friday, September 30, 2011

PCNB's Return

Last month American Vanguard Corp. announced that the stop-sale placed on PCNB fungicide had been lifted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But superintendents already were forced to work without the product last winter, and availibility of the product this year is unclear.

“This has been a long and trying process which appears to be coming to a conclusion. We are now focused on working with the U.S. EPA to get our amended end-use labels for PCNB products issued as quickly as possible, so that we can return to the market,” Eric Wintemute, chairman and CEO of American Vanguard, said in a statement released by the company. “We are also grateful to our customers for their continued support and patience throughout this ordeal and hope to be in a position to meet their needs in the very near future.”

Rob Golembiewski, Oregon State University turfgrass specialist, said he was at an assistant superintendent’s workshop recently, and news of the lifting of the PCNB stop-sale had not spread yet.

“I think (PCNB) is pretty darn popular. I think there are a lot of good products to control pink and gray snow mold, but for the cost – and in this economy – it’s one of the most effective,” Golembiewski said. “Last year when we lost PCNB, a lot of superintendents had to look for alternatives, and they also had to worry about balancing their budgets. Is it the only product? No. But I guarantee people will integrate it right back into their programs once it becomes available.”

Bruce Cline, superintendent at Gladstone (Mich.) Golf Club said he did pretty well for himself last year without the use of PCNB, and will probably continue the same program this year.

“I imagine people will go back to it once it’s available because it’s cheap and it’s effective,” he said. “I don’t know if it’ll be available to me this season.”

Jesse Goodling, superintendent over the two 18-hole courses at Heron Lakes Golf Course in Portland, Ore., says the lifting of the stop-sale didn’t matter much to him, as he hasn’t used the product in 15 years.

“It was good as a preventative, not very good as a control,” Goodling said. “It used to be the old standby… but it had a bad odor, which made everyone paranoid. Plus, if you used it too much, it stunted Poa.”

Golembiewski said that, depending on the combination, PCNB could be as much as 50 percent cheaper than some of the popular alternatives, making it an easy choice for superintendents at lower-budget courses.

He also said that once the company is able to get the product out again to superintendents, it should be here to stay.

“My understanding is there was a minor contaminant in the product itself. From talking with the manufacturer, that has been removed,” he said. “I think it should be around for a long, long time.”

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