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NFU submits revised application for emergency use of neonicotinoid

Staff writer |
The NFU has submitted a revised application for the emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatments over a limited area of England’s oilseed rape (OSR) crop this autumn.

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Farming Minister George Eustice rejected initial applications by the NFU and AHDB in May for use of the banned chemicals to protect OSR from cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) damage.

This followed a recommendation from the Government’s UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP).

It found the application contained insufficient information to ensure use would be limited only to areas where there is a danger or threat to plant protection.

It also concluded the proposed stewardship arrangements did not offer adequate assurance ’use would be controlled in an appropriate fashion’.

The NFU has made some key changes to its application to answer the questions raised by the Expert Committee on Pesticides and demonstrate the application is ’limited and controlled’.

NFU vice president Guy Smith said: “I cannot overstate how vital neonicotinoid seed treatments are for protecting crops facing pressure from cabbage stem flea beetle.

“I am quite convinced that if next autumn we have a difficult establishment window for oilseed rape then many farmers are going to lose their crops without neonicotinoids.

“Evidence from research institutions such as Rothamsted clearly shows we have an increasing pyrethroid resistance problem in pests and this is well-evidenced with cabbage stem flea beetle.

"Farmers cannot control the pest in areas with high resistance without these critical seed treatments. Continued resistance to pyrethroids just isn’t sustainable for farm businesses.”

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