Revised labelling on grassland herbicide hopes to alert graziers to the dangers of returning livestock to treated pastures containing ragwort.
The Health and Safety Executive has announced the change to protect livestock from post-treatment ragwort during which point the plant increases in palatability and toxicity.
See also: Rules on ragwort control for farmers
Authorised labels on all grassland herbicides will have a section from “Safety Precautions” deleted and replaced with advice for animal owners to wait until ragwort has completely recovered or died and there is no visible sign of the dead weed.
“Be aware if allowing animals to re-enter herbicide-treated fields either before the ragwort plant has fully decomposed or has recovered and started to regrow”
This follows recently completed Defra research finding ragwort was most appealing to many farm animals during the semi-decomposed phase between treatment and full decomposition.
The new instruction in “Directions for Use” will read: “Where ragwort is present users should consult the Code of Practice on How to Prevent the Spread of Ragwort. Ragwort plants sprayed with this herbicide are more palatable and contain higher levels of toxins. Animals should be excluded from treated areas until any ragwort has completely recovered or died and there is no visible sign of the dead weed. Do not include treated ragwort in hay or silage crops.”
This will follow the amended phrase: Livestock must be kept out of treated areas [for at least x days/weeks following treatment] If ragwort is present, follow the guidance in the ‘directions for use’.
All labels should be amended at the next print-run and no later than 1 October 2016.