FARMERS FAILING to adopt the Voluntary Initiative in its attempt to stave off a 140m pesticides tax need to wake up and smell the roses, SAC principal crops consultant Keith Dawson told farmers at the packed Scottish Crops conference in Perth last week.

“The typical cost of the tax if it were imposed would be £35/acre for cereal production and £150/acre for potatoes – that is likely to be the difference between growing a crop and not growing it under the single farm payment regime,” he said. The new SFP regime would be likely to cut input use by 11-13% in value terms over the next two to three years, he suggested.