Implementingthe Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) in the UK will bring about changes thatpotentially affect every holding across the UK, warns The Voluntary Initiative(VI).
Farmerswho have adopted the best practices, promoted by the VI and other schemes overthe past decade, will not find the challenges too arduous. However, the complexnature of the Directive means that every farm should check that it is able tocomply.
Wehave some 200,000 farm holdings across the UK and potentially the requirementsof SUD could affect every single holding, warns Richard Butler, VI Chairman.This will affect anyone who treats thousands of arable acres on a regularbasis through to the small holding and pony paddock where the knapsack is usedoccasionally for thistle and nettle control.
Thewhole industry has to wake up to this fact. Farming unions, levy bodies,assurance schemes, suppliers, contractors and agronomists all have a role toplay in making sure farmers are aware of the new requirements and helping themto comply.
TheVI is indebted to HGCA for stepping up to the challenge and mailing some 30,000growers with our checklist of actions for farmers.
Failureto take note of SUD could lead to either prosecution for non-compliance and mayin the future threaten eligibility for Single Farm Payments.
Thereare three key issues in the next three years:
During2014, farmers and land managers need to develop ways to demonstrate that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) isbeing practised. This can be achieved by devising an IPM plan and guidance willbe available on the VI website. This will affect every farm where professionalcrop protection products are applied.
By 26November 2015, anyone applying professional crop protection products must holda Recognised Certificate, suchas the PA1 and 2A or 6A. Those currently operating under Grandfather Rightshave two alternatives:
Toapply pesticides on their own land/property or that of their employer anyoneborn before 31 December 1964 can take the City & Guilds NPTC Level 2 Awardin the Safe Use of Pesticides Replacing Grandfather Rights.
Toapply professional products as a contractor or to land not owned by them ortheir employer, any one must take the existing Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticidesqualification appropriate to the type of equipment used.
After26 November, professional products should not be purchased unless the operatorholds an appropriate certificate. The alternative is to delegate the task to aspray contractor with appropriate training and equipment.
By26 November 2016, all working application equipment must have beentested by the National Sprayer TestingScheme (NSTS). For most application equipment the test needs to berepeated every five years, for some smaller machines there is a six yearinterval. Knapsack sprayers need to be regularly checked by the personresponsible as a minimum.
Tohelp farmers and growers get to grips with the changes, the VI has published anAre You Ready for SUD? card which can be downloaded from the website www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk.The card will also be available from crop protection distributors, farmingunions and will be provided as part of the materials for this years NRoSOOperator Roadshow.