Agchem firm BASF has launched a bentazone water stewardship programme aimed at encouraging best practice when using the active from this spring to head off any potential Europe-wide restrictions or a complete ban.

“Environment Agency data shows that bentazone is now the most frequently detected approved pesticide in UK groundwater and it is also being found in surface water,” says BASF’s Jonathan Ball.

“Given the link between EU legislation on pesticides and water, there is a possibility that the EU approval for bentazone will not be renewed, resulting in the revocation of all product registrations across Europe.”

He adds that this threat has prompted the robust approach BASF is recommending with the introduction of the BASF EU Water Stewardship Programme.

In spring 2011 the Voluntary Initiative (VI) in collaboration with BASF published a bentazone water protection advice sheet which outlined how best to use products containing the active ingredient to avoid movement from soil into ground and surface water. This was updated in February 2013.

BASF’s stewardship programme augments this advice by advocating responsible use of bentazone in all areas of the UK. The recommendations for products containing bentazone are:

Groundwater protection

• Do not apply bentazone on soils vulnerable to groundwater leaching such as:

  • soils with very low organic content (<1% OC)
  • soils with shallow groundwater (<1m below surface)
  • soils with chalk or other limestone that are shallow (<30-35cms) and stony (>10% of surface area)

• Do not exceed 1,000g/ha of bentazone a year (Basagran 1.15kg/ha/year)

• Only use products containing bentazone in the spring and summer and not before 1 April in any calendar year.

Surface water protection

• Use a 6m grass buffer strip or a 5m no-spray zone adjacent to watercourses.

For more details, check out the new guidelines ahead of product use this spring on the BASF website.

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