An interesting e-mail from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reached my desk late last week. I have cited a portion of the e-mail below.
‘The NRCS will not recommend buckwheat in conservation plantings in areas in rotation with or adjacent to commodity wheat production that will be planted to wheat within the next 2 calendar years after planting buckwheat because of the potential for buckwheat seed to contaminate the wheat crop, and the health risks that potentially poses. The use of buckwheat in conservation plantings is still permitted in fields or areas that are not used for commodity wheat production.’
Why, may you ask, has the NRCS come out with this statement and updated a number of practice standards, including # 327 – Conservation Cover, 340 – Cover Crops, and 645 – Upland Wildlife Habitat Management?
As the use of cover crops has increased in recent years, contamination of wheat shipments to Japan with buckwheat has also increased. Unfortunately, the population in Japan has a higher proportion of people with buckwheat allergies, causing issues similar to peanut allergies in the United States.
A pretty interesting example of the law of unforeseen consequences, I think.
For more details on the rule changes, please contact your local USDA Service Center.