Steps are being taken to make it easier for growers to comply with new rules on spraying at lower water volumes.

Pesticide manufacturers claim discussions with the Pesticides Safety Directorate have resulted in a much wider range of  products being available for use at water volumes lower than 200 litres/ha without reducing rates pro rata.

Following the new advice should mean growers comply with cross-compliance requirements under Statutory Management Requirement 9, the PSD has confirmed to Farmers Weekly.

Earlier this spring it looked as if PSD’s strict interpretation of product labels would prevent growers from applying many products above half rate at commonly-used water volumes of 100 litres/ha. That was on the basis of protective clothing and health classification restrictions outlined in The Code of Practice for Plant Protection Products.

Risk Assessments

But some manufacturers, including Bayer CropScience, BASF and Syngenta, have now reviewed risk assessments for products to show they are just as safe to apply at the maximum dose in lower water volumes, when used in accordance with personal protective equipment requirements specified on the label.

“There was a realisation that under PSD’s strict interpretation a wide range of products was caught by the water volume restrictions,” said Pete Brain from Bayer CropScience. “This review of risk assessments has freed up a considerable number of products to be used at lower water volumes.”

In principle, PSD had no problems with product specific risk assessments being used this season, said the directorate’s Paul Adamson. But he stressed liability for efficacy and crop safety laid with the user, and operator safety with the manufacturer.

Where firms were looking to add specific recommendations to labels, an application would need to be submitted in due course, he added.

Bayer intended to do just that, Dr Brain said. “200 litres/ha is out of line with commercial practice, so the plan is to go through the regulatory process to get lower water volumes added to the label for at least our most popular products.

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