Seed dressing minefield with spring oilseeds

3 December 1999

Seed dressing minefield with spring oilseeds

By Andrew Blake

BANNED seed treatment gamma-HCH is still available on some spring oilseed rape. But supplies of linseed dressed with the insecticide will be tight, say trade sources.

Two potential replacements, fipronil and imidacloprid, will not be approved in time for use this spring.

Most commentators agree loss of UK approval for gamma-HCH treatment leaves both crops, especially linseed, more vulnerable to flea beetles.

The widely used insecticide is still approved in Eire, notes the NFUs pesticides specialist Chris Wise. "But the chemical is in its twilight years."

Importing and using seed treated with an insecticide approved elsewhere in the EU, but not in the UK, remains legal, he says. At least one supplier is believed to be sending seed overseas for treatment and re-importation. But in what manufacturer Uniroyals Malcolm Tyrell describes as a bit of a minefield, others say the exercise is uneconomic.

Banks Agriculture offers Senator oilseed rape with gamma-HCH dressing for a 10% premium on orders placed before Dec 17. But treated linseed is not on offer, says Neil Pateman.

United Oilseeds John Manners says the firm has limited quantities of germination-tested one-year-old Hyola 330 oilseed rape and Norlin linseed dressed with gamma-HCH.

Triolo and Mistral oilseed rape from France will be treated, as usual, with Mesurol (methiocarb), an anti-frit fly maize dressing, confirms CPB Twyfords Andrew Newby.

Dalgety rules out Mesurol because flea beetle damage in rape is significant only when emergence is delayed, says Barry Barker.

The picture with linseed is trickier, he admits. Agronomic advice to minimise damage to untreated seed has yet to be concluded.

Semundos policy is to offer a fungicide treatment only, says Jeremy Taylor. "We are investigating other possibilities, depending on commercial pressures." Costs make gamma-HCH alternatives for linseed unlikely, he adds.

Chris Spedding for Robin Appel, says it has been impossible to find a country able to apply its limited stocks of Hydraguard (gamma-HCH + thiram) to linseed to his satisfaction.

"The linseed market is very much back to where it was four years ago," says Alison Williamson of Hydraguard maker Agrichem. "But growers were coping then."

Gamma-HCH fall out

&#8226 Restricted flea beetle cover.

&#8226 Limited over-yeared treated seed.

&#8226 Some imported options.

&#8226 Linseed more at risk than osr.


&#8226 Restricted flea beetle cover.

&#8226 Limited supplies over-yeared treated seed.

&#8226 Some imported options.

&#8226 Linseed more at risk than osr.

See more