8 September 1995

ACPpackage wins reprieve for isoproturon

Giving crops a clean start is vital. This special focus on autumn herbicides considers the future for isoproturon plus the scope for using adjuvants, improving cleavers control, exploiting herbicide-impregnated plastic and beating blackgrass.

Edited by Andrew Blake

FEARS of severe restrictions on the use of isoproturon (IPU) herbicides were eased with the recent announcement that existing approvals should stand, albeit with some modifications.

A recent review by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides found it presents no threat to humans or the environment. But it does create difficulties for water companies trying to meet the EC standard for drinking water.

The government believes the ACPs recommendations represent "a well balanced package" to resolve the conflicting interests of farmers and the water industry.

The measures include:

&#8226 Emphasising cultural control of blackgrass through compulsory product label reference to the Weed Resistance Action Group Guidelines on herbicide-resistant blackgrass.

&#8226 Investigating set-asides role in blackgrass control and in protecting water.

&#8226 Withdrawing pre-emergence IPU use on wheat and barley.

&#8226 Imposing a maximum total IPU dose of 2.5kg/ha, but allowing flexibility in how this is applied.

&#8226 Giving notice that a target rate of 1.5kg/ha will be considered after further research into reduced rates.

&#8226 Giving label advice on not using IPU where soils are cracked, to avoid run-off through drains.

&#8226 Banning aerial IPU treatments.

&#8226 Re-consideration of IPU use within Water Protection Zones.

IPU impositions are in the offing. Future use of this cheap and effective herbicide requires extra vigilance to appease water officials.