D-day for glyphosate and neonicotinoids

Important decisions regarding two key agrochemicals are likely to be announced within the next week, says the NFU.

The first decision involves the reauthorisation of broad spectrum herbicide glyphosate. It must gain EU approval by 30 June or face withdrawal.

NFU plant health adviser Emma Hamer said she expected glyphosate to be reapproved at the last minute, albeit with strings attached.

See also: Future of glyphosate still unclear after EU vote

It was likely that Brussels would reauthorise glyphosate for 18 months which would “by a bit of time” pending a report by the European Chemicals Agency which was likely to give the product a clean bill of health, Ms Hamer told an NFU Council meeting on Tuesday (21 June).

“It looks like we will get there – the problem is that there may well be some conditions attached,” she said.

“These conditions might include farmers losing glyphosate as a pre-harvest spray on cereal crops but it was better than losing the product altogether.

The second decision relates to neonicotinoids.

Submitted by the NFU, an emergency application for farmers to use neonicotinoid seed treatments on oilseed rape this summer is being considered by Defra ministers.

The NFU application for growers to use neonicotinoid treated seed across 22% of the English oilseed rape area over 15 counties was considered by the government’s Chemical Regulations Directorate early this month.

But a final decision was delayed until after the EU referendum.

Environmental campaigners claim neonicotinoids are dangerous to bees and other pollinators.

But the NFU argues that withdrawing the seed treatment has prompted growers to use an extra 240,000 litres of pyrethroid sprays, which it says are far more damaging.

Need a contractor?

Find one now