28 June 2002

Pesticides gap analysis launched

WITH up to half the pesticides used in horticulture set to vanish under UK and EU reviews the HDC has drawn up a list of the critical gaps that could be left in growers crop protection armouries.

Of the 78 holes pinpointed in 34 major horticultural crops, 65 have no current solutions or alternatives, such as specific off-label approvals (SOLAS), stresses technical manager Emma Garrod.

Weed control in vining peas, for example, could become a real problem with the withdrawal of pre-em herbicide approvals for the crop. "There is very little else left."

Outdoor lettuce growers may be particularly hard hit by the UKs anti-cholinesterase review which could leave them without any really effective aphicides. "They would be left with inadequate controls and have to spray more frequently which is clearly undesirable."The EU review of herbicides could severely restrict producers ability to keep carrots, onions, spinach and a whole range of other vegetables free of weeds, adds Miss Garrod.

The hope is that the Pesticide Gap Analysis, updated regularly and available free to HDC members via its web-site (www.hdc.org.uk), will allow researchers to develop efficient substitutes.

Besides SOLAS the answers may include new actives and advances in integrated crop management using varietal resistance and biological and cultural controls, she notes.

"It is imperative that industry is fully aware of the threats heading our way so we can work together on possible solutions."n