Pesticide stewardship should be viewed as good agronomic practice, rather than as an extra burden, believes UAP regional technical adviser Chris Rigley.
"Most growers are already using cultural control methods wherever possible. The days of relying on pesticides to solve all the potential field problems have long gone."
Pest threshold levels should always be noted and adopted before spraying takes place, he advises. "Take the example of pollen beetle or weevil in oilseed rape. Both pests are usually only a headland problem, so a barrier treatment is often sufficient."
Similarly, aphid control in wheat can be fine-tuned using accepted threshold levels, as well as taking the maturity of the crop into account. "At the later growth stages, the crop can tolerate more aphids and the threshold level increases. The crops growth stage should always be part of the decision process."
Varietal disease resistance ratings can be used in a similar way. "In this case the amount of disease present has to be taken into account too.
"And the environmental consequences have to be weighed up."
The key is for growers to show they are making informed decisions about the products they choose as well as how and where they apply them, he concludes.