Insecticide guidance aims to make spraying safer

Updated advice for the use of insecticides, including revised thresholds for specific insect pests, is being released ahead of the summer spraying season.

The new advice comes from the farming industry-sponsored body the Voluntary Initiative (VI) and is aimed at minimising the environmental effects of products and safeguarding their future use.

It highlights four foundations of best practice:

  • Identification of environmentally sensitive areas on the farm
  • Following an integrated approach
  • Using pest thresholds as a decision-making tool for treatment
  • Ensuring treatment is made safely and accurately

See also: Call for clarity on ‘ambiguous’ pesticide spraying rules

Richard Butler, VI chairman and farmer, said he only uses insecticides when absolutely necessary and added that the new guidance will help minimise risk.

“I also take account of advice from my agronomist and use these revised thresholds for specific insect pests, which I find very helpful when deciding when it is necessary to spray,” he said in a statement.

David Ellerton, technical development director at distributor Hutchinsons, said the guidelines will help growers and spray operators to minimise the risk to their crops of being affected by pests and help them make the right decisions about when to use insecticides.

Andrew Moir, VI Scottish chairman, who farms at Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, said, “While insecticides remain essential tools, I would advise farmers and sprayer operators to use them only when absolutely necessary.”

The guidance in a document entitled Insecticides: Best practice advice for farmers and operators can be downloaded from the Voluntary Initiative website.