Further to the NFU securing the emergency use ofenough neonicotinoid seed treatments from the Chemical Regulation Directorateto treat five per cent of the oilseed rape crop in England (around 30,000ha),the organisation says that it understands the following information:
The authorisation from the CRD requires treatedseed distribution to be targeted to areas of highest risk. This means thatfarms in four counties will have access to neonicotinoid seed treatmentproducts under the emergency use authorisation. They are Suffolk,Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Last year there wasapproximately 90,000ha of oilseed rape grown in these four counties.
Evidence presented to the Expert Committee onPesticides showed that these four counties were the hardest hit by cabbage stemflea beetle in the 2014/15 season.
The products will be for certified seed only.
Farmers who use the product will be asked to takepart in scientific research to measure the impact of the plant protectionproducts on their crops.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: We have beenworking with the suppliers to better understand how the neonicotinoid seedtreatments will be made available after the NFU secured the emergency useauthorisation to provide much needed protection from the pest cabbage stem fleabeetle.
As an oilseed rape grower who suffered flea beetledamage last year but who farms in Essex, a county not in the four chosencounties, I can fully understand the frustration of those growers who will nothave access to neonicotinoid seed dressings this year when trying to establishcrops. However, I realise that if we are to lobby in the future for a return tothe situation where all growers can benefit from this technology then getting afew thousand acres of oilseed rape sown with neonicotinoid seed dressings willhelp demonstrate their importance for all of us.