Docks growing in grass© Tim Scrivener

Experienced pesticide and herbicide users born before 31 December 1964 need to complete “the safe use of pesticides replacing grandfather rights” qualification before 31 December or they will face a more expensive qualification.

From 1 January 2019, farmers wanting to apply professional use products with a knapsack to control weeds in grass fields or tidy up around the farm will require the full PA1 and PA6 qualifications if they have not already got the relevant qualification.

Previously, people born before 31 December 1964 were exempt from the requirement to hold a certificate of competence when applying professional crop protection products to their own land or land they rented because they were deemed experienced enough and had grandfather rights.

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This exemption ceased on 26 November 2015.

To recognise this set of people were experienced pesticide users, City & Guilds set up a qualification only available to those people who met the criteria for grandfather rights.

The qualification – a level two award in the safe use of pesticides replacing grandfather rights – involves  a practical test with one-to-one verbal questioning.

This qualification was available for some time before grandfather rights ceased in November 2015 and continues to be available until the end of this year.  

After this time anyone wishing to apply professional crop protection products, even with a knapsack sprayer will require the full PA1 and PA6 qualifications.

Speaking at Grassland UK, Robin Bentley, livestock market manager at Corteva Agriscience, explained there is a cheaper route to acquire the certification if farmers get it sorted before 2019.

Farmers’ options for certification

“For this year only, these farmers have the chance to take a quicker and cheaper route to qualification, by taking the City & Guild level two award in the safe use of pesticides replacing grandfather rights,” he explained.

“Eligible farmers can register for this award until the end of 31 December 2018, but after this date they will have to take the full qualifications from the PA suite of certificates.”

“It is only applicable for those using professional pesticide products on land they own or occupy.

“Those who want to contact spray or spray for a neighbour will need to take the full and relevant pesticide qualifications.”

Farmers wishing to find out more about the course and find a local training centre can do so on the City & Guilds website.