Farmers looking either to apply metaldehydeslug pellets or make repeat applications this season, are being encouraged toact with caution.
Recent data from the water companies isagain revealing that the active has been detected in raw water above thestatutory 0.1g/l limit set for treated drinkingwater.
Instigated by widespread heavy rainfall inearly October, a number of areas nationwide have seen peaks in the detection ofmetaldehyde, says Dr Jim Marshall, Water UK policy and business adviser.
However, following a week of much drierweather, levels have dropped significantly, and reduced metaldehyde exceedanceshave been reported.
Id also like to add that generally theseexceedances have been confined to streams and rivers, he says.
Simon McMunn, of the Metaldehyde StewardshipGroup (MSG), explains that the correlation between rainfall and exceedances isa clear one. However, farmers need to remain vigilant at all times whenapplying slug pellets.
Slug pressure remains high, and with manylate sown first wheat and second wheat crops in particular remaining at riskfrom slug attack, further metaldehyde treatments should be carefully assessed,says Mr McMunn.
Whats more, given the recent level ofdetections, its important to consider the field risk factors, adds Mr McMunn.
A fields soil type, topography, presenceof artificial drainage and its proximity to water are key to whethermetaldehyde could be a risk to a watercourse that will subsequently be abstractedfor drinking water.
Its also important to ensure nometaldehyde treatments are made when drains are flowing and heavy rain isforecast – the MSG guidelines are unchanged in stating this.
Its imperative that we work hard toprevent exceedances of metaldehyde in water to help secure a future for thisactive and retain slug control choice. Visit www.wiyby.co.ukand enter the relevant postcode to find out if there is a metaldehyde risk inthe area.
Dr Marshall adds that the joint approach bythe agricultural and water sectors over the past few years has seen markedimprovement in reducing the concentrations of metaldehyde in watercourses.
Whats more, I believe that by continuingto adopt good practice in applications, it should be possible to manage therisks posed by metaldehyde.