“The guidelines for Vapam use came down in late December, but didn’t really become well known until after most people signed contracts. Now, a lot of growers are going to want Bailey and Sugg peanuts and other varieties with some resistance to CBR to offset the risks involved with growing peanuts without Vapam under them,” Crumpler says.

Due to EPA re-registration of products containing methyl bromide, chloropircrin and metam sodium in December 2010; fumigant applicators are faced with new regulations for this growing season. This means for products like Telone C-17, Vapam, Cholorpic or Terrogas, growers will need to comply with these new regulations immediately.

To meet the new requirements, applicators will need fumigant management plans, respirators and even a self-contained breathing apparatus.

Veteran Virginia Tech Plant Pathologist Pat Phipps says the new guidelines are not what growers want and certainly not a good thing for Virginia peanut production. Reaction to guidelines has not been good, but Phipps says most of this comes from a lack of understanding of the guidelines.

The label for Vapam use is a thick, intimidating document, but Phipps says a high percentage of it deals with things that most Virginia peanut growers routinely do. For example, the respirators required are fairly basic self-contained devices that farmers, even homeowners, should have as a precaution when handling many types of chemicals.

Despite an array of public meetings and personalized offers for helping farmers obtain and learn to use these respirators, only a handful of Virginia growers, as of late February, have signed up for respirator assistance.

Another part of the Vapam use guidelines requires growers to have a Drager Device. This piece of equipment essentially monitors air quality. It can detect fumes from Vapam in ultra-low volumes measured in parts per billion.

“Even with such sensitive measuring equipment, I’m not sure Vapam can be monitored because of the way peanut farmers use the material,” Phipps says. “I’ve worked around Vapam for many years, and I just haven’t seen any problems with it,” he adds.

Despite the need for monitoring Vapam use in peanuts, Phipps says growers need it and can still use it. He says the guidelines currently in place should not deter Virginia growers from growing peanuts.