A new smartphone app aims to help farmers and advisers reduce the risk of key pesticides entering water this autumn, such as metaldehyde slug pellets and oilseed rape herbicide metazachlor.
The app was developed by agchem firm Adama, as part of its commitment to promote the responsible use of current chemistry, which is under increasing pressure, being found in raw drinking water supplies, plus the need for the UK to comply with EU directives.
See also: 5 useful arable farming apps on test
“UK agriculture has lost more than 70% of the active substances at its disposal since the early 1990s,” says the firm’s marketing manager, Ali Bosher.
“This, combined with the increasing technical challenges posed by resistance, increased EU legislation and the lack of new modes of action, means that we need to do all that we can to protect the remaining actives at our disposal.”
The WaterAware app offers a field-based risk assessment, integrating soil type, weather and soil moisture deficit information to provide farmers with a simple yes-or-no guide to whether they should apply pellets or spray crops in terms of the potential risk to surface water.
“The app helps farmers to identify the potential risk from applying a product on a particular day, given their on-farm conditions,” explains Paul Fogg, senior crop team leader at Adama.
“This is to minimise the risk of pesticides entering surface water supplies.”
It uses GPS to allow specific field reviews, soil classification data from the British Geological Survey and Met Office weather data allowing a view of spraying potential today and in 72 hours.
It is calibrated for use in oilseed rape, winter wheat and grassland.
The app is now available to download from Apple’s App Store and the android version will be available from 1 August.