Environmental Regulations Policy Manager's Blog - 28 January 2020

The viability of some crops is potentially threatened by the loss of key Plant Protection Products (PPPs) writes Environmental Regulations Policy Manager Jenny Brunton.

For example, chlorothalonil has had a hugely important role in reducing disease pressure in our crops for more than 55 years.  As a multi-site fungicide, it has played a key role in supporting both new and existing systemic products as part of an anti-resistance strategy since 1964.

Chlorothalonil is the main stay of fungal disease control in Scotland’s largest and most important crop, barley, where it is the only effective tool currently available for the control of ramularia leaf spot.  It is also an important tool in managing Septoria pressure in wheat.

A bad infestation can cause a fall in yield of 0.6 tonnes per hectare, equivalent to more than 10 percent of crop lost.  Given the huge importance of barley and wheat to the Scottish drinks industry, this could cause serious problems for this iconic sector.

Factor in that this product is still going to be allowed to be used in other countries out with the EU, then this is disastrous for our growers.

The use by date for chlorothalonil of 20 May 2020 is looming.  NFU Scotland, alongside Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) and NFU (England and Wales) wrote to George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to request an extension to the 20 May use-up date but that was refused by DEFRA.

NFUS are now pursuing an extension at EU level but it is highly unlikely that this will be granted.

There is a significant stock of chlorothalonil in many Scottish chemical stores with the very real threat that many growers will be caught out and unable to use the product before 20 May.

NFUS will continue to work with colleagues in Brussels whilst monitoring the situation on the ground in Scotland. NFUS is raising the possibility of a pesticides amnesty with officials in the hope of lessening the burden of growers who potentially may face disposal costs.  

As always, science must come first, last and always in deciding the safety and effectiveness of plant protection products (PPPs).

Author: Jenny Brunton

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About The Author

Jenny Brunton

Jenny Brunton joined NFU Scotland in early 2018 as Policy Manager for CAP Schemes and Post Brexit Agricultural Policy. Jenny is responsible for developing policy for both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 schemes, ensuring the members are represented through NFU Scotland’s policy. Having been raised on her family’s mixed farm, Jenny studied History and Politics at University before travelling abroad, returning to work on a nearby farm in Fife. A keen member of her local Young Farmers Club, Jenny will also be responsible for the Next Generation Working Group and looks forward to engaging with the future leaders in Agriculture.

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