Arable farmers are being urged to complete the new Crop Protection Management Plan to demonstrate their responsible attitude to pesticide use.

The plan, said to be easier to complete than its predecessor, was launched by farming unions after extensive market research and is now available online.

Last year almost 4000 were completed covering 1.3m ha. This was about 0.4m ha below the Voluntary Intiative’s target, mainly because the CPMP no longer counted towards Entry Level Scheme points.

The VI and unions hope the new online version will help the scheme meets the 2009 VI target of 1.7m ha.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “The CPMP remains a vital measure for proper planning when using pesticides and this is great news that it is now available online.”

Five years since they were introduced under the VI, the new online CPMP will now automatically calculate the farm score, suggest improvements that can be made on-farm and produce a practical diagram of the farm for members.

The new format will be updated every year encouraging a regular annual review.