Last Friday, retired University of Georgia Extension Agent Walter Reeves sent an email to several Georgia Extension agents. He shared a link to a CNN story about a man who accidentally killed his 40,000 square foot lawn with a product he thought was just for weed control. Walter attached the product label, both front and back. A debate ensued as to whether the manufacturer made it clear that this product would kill everything. On the back of the bottle under Use Precautions, it plainly stated, “Do not Use on Desirable Plants,” and “Do not Use in Lawns.”A huge mistakeThe herbicide contained the active ingredients glyphosate, which most of you know as Roundup, and prodiamine, which blocks new plant growth. So the poor guy not only lost his grass, but he can’t replant for a while due to prodiamine in the herbicide. He said he talked to three employees at his local garden center before he bought the product, but none of them warned him that the herbicide would kill his lawn.The story prompted me to remind everyone how important it is to read the label on a pesticides and herbicides. When people call me about a pesticide, I try to always tell them, “No matter what I tell you, read the label.”The label gives you important information about how to use the pesticide effectively and safely. You should try to read the label before you buy the product and read it again each time you use the product. Memory doesn’t always serve correctlyDo not rely on your memory when you buy a pesticide you have used before. Read the name of the pesticide product carefully because many pesticides for the home, yard and garden have similar names and packaging. Be sure you are buying the right product.I have even had people tell me they accidently sprayed their lawn or some plants with an herbicide when they thought they had picked up an insecticide, so pay attention to what you grab from your own shelf. Getting into the habit of looking at the label every time you use a product can prevent these kinds of mix ups from happening, and also keeps you, your landscape and the people around you safe. Follow directions exactlyIt is important that you follow the directions exactly as they are given on the label, and only use the pesticide on sites or crops that are listed on the label. When a plant or crop is not listed on the label, it could mean the pesticide has not been tested on them, but it could also mean it will harm or kill that plant or crop. The pesticide label will tell you how to apply the product, when to apply it an how much to use for different areas and different pests. For example, an insecticide may list one using one amount for certain insect pests, and another amount for other pests. Never use more than the label prescribes. Using more can be wasteful, damage the plants, leave an excess amount of the chemical on your food crops or harm nontarget organisms such as beneficial insects. The label will also tell you whether a product is safe to use inside your home, whether its safe to use on food crops and whether you need to keep children and pets away from a treated area after you spray. Many turf and ornamental pesticides should not be used on vegetables, fruit crops, herbs or anything else you plan to eat. Make note of precautionsThe pesticide label also will list special precautions to take. These include keeping other people — especially children — and pets away from the area where the pesticide was applied. It will also include warnings about not applying pesticides when it is wet or windy to prevent the pesticide from drifting or running off into storm water.Pesticide labels always contain a signal word that will tell you how toxic the product is to humans. These three signal words are caution, warning or danger. Signal words will usually be in capital letters. The least toxic products carry the signal word CAUTION. Products with the signal word WARNING are more toxic. The most toxic pesticides have DANGER on their labels. I believe all consumer-grade products now have CAUTION on their label. And finally, the label will tell you what steps to take if someone has accidentally ingested or inhaled the chemical or gotten it on their skin or in their eyes.
Denmark’s largest commercial pensions provider PFA Pension has said a rise of around 14% in Danish share prices in the first three months of the year drove unit-link product returns higher.Reporting initial figures for first-quarter investment performance, PFA Pension said its unit-link PFA Plus product produced returns of 2.8% after costs and including the shared customer capital (KundeKapital) bonus.This compares with a 3.7% return reported for the first quarter in 2013.Jesper Langmack, director at PFA Asset Management, said: “The main reason PFA has done well this year is that it has a large exposure to Danish shares relative to competitors.” PFA’s Danish shares increased by about 14% in the first quarter.Around 17% of PFA’s investments for unit-link products with high-risk profiles are held in Danish equities, with the company’s total Danish equity investments standing at more than DKK12bn (€1.6bn).Investments in corporate bonds also performed well in the first quarter, providing a return of 3.4%, which benefitted customers opting for lower-risk profiles, Langmack said.However, he said that when the market was volatile, as it had been in the run-up to Easter, it was important to look at it closely in order to act fast and take advantage of opportunities.“What was the right strategy in the first quarter is not necessarily the right one for the rest of the year,” he said.Meanwhile, Sweden’s occupational pensions provider AMF reported investments returned 2.2% in the first quarter of this year, down from 3.3% in the same period last year. The solvency ratio increased to 212 by the end of the March from 200 the same time last year.Peder Hasslev, head of asset management, said: “The start of the year was characterised by a degree of caution about where the global economy was heading.”He also cited a continuing expectation that the economy would improve given that geopolitical events had not put a spoke in the wheel.Group profit fell to SEK4.7bn (€520m) by the end of March, down from SEK19.8bn at the same point last year. The company said SEK7.2bn of this decline was due to changes made to the discount rate used to calculate liabilities.Premium income fell to SEK9.6bn from SEK10.2bn, and total assets rose to SEK466bn from SEK426bn.AMF is jointly owned by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.In other news, Danica Pension said reported contributions from domestic customers rose by 11% in the first three months of this year to DKK5.6bn, with business growth helped by sales through the Danske Bank network.The company, which is a subsidiary of Danske Bank, made a pre-tax profit of DKK454m in the first quarter, up from DKK385m in the same period a year before.Managing director Per Klitgård said he was satisfied with the result, and noted in particular that the technical profit had risen to DKK419bn from DKK384m“This emphasises strong development in our business,” he said.Klitgård said the rise in contributions in Denmark was due to a significant level of one-off contributions, as well as a general increase in business.He said Danica Pension’s cooperation with Danske Bank continued to go very well, with contributions through this channel rising by 50% between the first quarter of last year and the latest reporting period.Contributions overall climbed 3% to DKK7.8bn in the first quarter from DKK7.7bn in the same period last year.However, within this, contributions in Sweden and Norway fell by 14%, Danica said, but it attributed this decline to very large one-off contributions booked in the first quarter of 2013.“Danica Pension still expects contributions in the Nordic business to develop positively in 2014,” the company said.Danica’s unit-link pension products made returns of 1.5% to 2.6% in the first quarter, while the traditional with-profits pension product returned 3%.Total assets rose to DKK333bn from DKK327bn.