Soybean spill concerns River John resident

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River John resident Catherine Hughes wants people to be aware of a spill of treated soybeans in the Sunrise Trail-River John and surrounding areas.

Hughes says she noticed the spill on Friday and she believes the beans were coming from PEI to a farm not far from her home.

“It’s a big spill,” she informs.

“They are all treated with a green pesticide coating but I’m not exactly sure what it is.”

Most soybean seeds, she says, are treated with a neonicotinoid pesticide as well as a fungicide. According to, neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides worldwide and are typically deployed as seed treatments in many grain and oilseed crops, including soybeans. However, there is a surprising dearth of information regarding NST effectiveness in increasing soybean seed yield, and most published data suggest weak, or inconsistent yield benefit.

“Neonicotinoids are very dangerous for wildlife, bees, humans,” she says, “and I thought it was important to get the word out.

The spill, she says, goes from where the Louisville Road goes off the Sunrise Trail, up the Louisville Road about a kilometre, and back towards River John and towards Pictou.

“The truck carrying the seeds came from Prince Edward Island and the trucker didn’t notice until he got to the farm that the hydraulics had broken and it was leaking.”

Seeds shouldn’t end up where they’re not wanted, she says, like on the road, where they pose a danger to wildlife, dogs, birds.

“They are bright green and look like candy. You can’t stop birds from eating them.”

Hughes says she spent half of Friday morning picking up the seeds from the side of the road before she realized how far the spill extended.

She has contacted the departments of Agriculture, Environment and Transportation.