THE NEW Crop Protection Management Plan has been launched by the National Farmers Union.

The new plans span two years, from August 2004 to August 2006, to help highlight changes on farms and cut down on paperwork.

Part of the Voluntary Initiative to reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment, farmers have been asked to focus on the water management aspects.

“Water aspects will get a high emphasis this year, so we‘re keen that farmers give it their particular attention,” said VI manager Patrick Goldsworthy.

After a “highly successful” first year of CPMPs, during which more than 700,000ha were covered, NFU crop protection advisor Neil Kift said the target for 2005 was 900,000ha.

“We don‘t just want first-timers to fill out a CPMP, we want to make sure people renew,” he said.

“Hopefully that will give people some measure of how they are performing against their action plans.”

The forms can be downloaded in Excel or pdf format from the VI website, and farmers have been encouraged to register once they have completed their CPMP.

“This is an essential part of the process. Otherwise there is no way of measuring the success of the VI,” said Mr Kift.