Protected agriculture standard: important information about dye test audits for growers

The National Protected Agriculture Standard is administered by CropLife Canada and comes into effect on January 1, 2024. The goal is to keep plant protection products where they are applied.

In order to purchase pesticides going forward, your farm will need to be certified under the program as of January 1, 2024. All greenhouse growers who self-identify as having a recirculating (closed-loop) irrigation system need to register and complete an audit by December 31, 2023, to be certified. Open system growers will need to obtain an exemption in order to continue purchasing products. Greenhouse-grown cut flowers, and hoop houses are currently out of scope, but they will be added to the standard in the near future.

To comply with the standard, growers need to undergo an audit every two years and have a test done to confirm the integrity of their irrigation system every 6 years (every third audit). The preferred option for the irrigation system test is currently a tracer dye test. However, other options, including visual inspections with cameras or pressure tests, will also be accepted. OMAFRA and FCO wanted to run a trial of the tracer dye test to test it out before farms started with their own audits.

Why did we do this trial?

  • Many commercial floriculture greenhouses have little to no downtime to schedule irrigation system audits.
  • Tracer dyes can be used to test the integrity of irrigation systems, but this is usually done when crops are not present.
  • Maintaining plant quality is critical.
  • Growers need to know if the dye affects crops so they can plan for audits.


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