30 November 2001

Granular IPU use raises future hopes

FINGERS are crossed that restriction zone legislation for the popular herbicide isoproturon has been staved off, following sweeping changes in usage this autumn.

Sales figures suggest growers have reduced reliance on this key herbicide.

Greater attention to stewardship guidelines by growers is reported and sales of granular ipu formulations, which can help reduce the risk of point source pollution, have soared.

However, it is too soon to say whether such a positive response on-farm has cut the amount of ipu getting into watercourses, says Thames Waters Steve White.

"We have started to see ipu in all our waters, but we havent got all the flow data yet."

Aventis estimates the ipu market has dropped by a quarter to one third this year, as growers use more alternative products for blackgrass control.

That is echoed by Hutchinson technical manager Dick Neale. "We have sold about the same as last year and that wasnt a lot because of the season," he comments.

Stomp (pendimethalin) use has rocketed and Hawk (clodinafop-propargyl + trifluralin), Amazone (clodinafop-propargyl + diflufenican) and Crystal (pendimethalin + flufenacet) have all helped reduce reliance on ipu, he says.

Where ipu has been used granular formulations have accounted for about 70% of the firms deliveries, helping growers cut point source pollution risks and improve work rates.

"They save a lot of time rinsing out cans, they are easier to store, easier to handle, and much quicker to empty – one 12kg bag is the equivalent of four five-litre cans."

Spillages can be swept up from dry hard surfaces, unlike liquids, and there are no caps or foil seals to leave lying around. Price is much the same as liquid formulations, he adds. &#42

STEWARDSHIP REMINDER

&#8226 Avoid liquid filling on hard-surfaces.

&#8226 Correct packaging disposal.

&#8226 Prevent drift and observe LERAPs.

&#8226 Wash-out in field.

&#8226 Contingency plan for spillages.