The high levels of campaign awareness and uptake of low drift nozzles achieved during the first year of the chlorpyrifos stewardship campaign Say NO to DRIFT is a clear sign of growers commitment to securing the future for this valued insecticide, according to Dow AgroSciences, one of the three approval holders who are behind the initiative, which adds that the outcome, a year on, is very positive, but the need to act in accordance with the stewardship measures is as important as ever.
In the UK the renewal status for all products containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos is still pending, said James Knight from Dow AgroSciences a member company of the campaign consortium. But with the FERA PUSG (Pesticides Usage Survey Group) research into the spray technology employed in 2012 showing 97% awareness of the campaign amongst users of chlorpyrifos in the arable sector, there are good reasons to be confident about its future.
The data also revealed that over 80% of chlorpyrifos treatments were applied using low drift nozzles, in accordance with the requirements of the initiative that also set out a buffer zone of 20 metres adjacent to watercourses. This level of awareness is an outstanding result in just a year, said James.
The decision process is taking some time, he explained; This is because it requires a change of regulatory policy, but also means that the stewardship measures need to be widely adopted as a matter of course.
He reiterated that the aim of the campaign is to ensure that low drift nozzles and wider buffer zones around water are used for all applications of chlorpyrifos. We hope that by delivering on these measures, the CRD (Chemicals Regulation Directorate) will have the confidence to renew chlorpyrifos product registrations that are dependent upon more stringent regulatory criteria relating to spray drift being met.
Low drift nozzles deliver
We are also clear that low drift nozzles deliver performance with chlorpyrifos on an equal basis to conventional nozzles, he said.
Dilwyn Harris, principal biologist at Dow AgroSciences added that because chlorpyrifos acts by contact, ingestion and vapour activity to deliver pest control, there should be no loss of efficacy by switching to low drift nozzles. This has been validated by 2012 Dow trials data showing that the performance of Dursban WG (chlorpyrifos) for controlling wheat bulb fly is in no way negatively impacted compared to conventional flat fan nozzles. This was also the case for other, non-arable sector crops including brassicas.
James Knight added that the Say NO to DRIFT campaign has implications for a raft of other pesticides, given the wealth of insecticide, fungicide and herbicide treatments that will face similar regulatory challenges as further registrations come up for renewal, and as new chemistry comes forward.
In the meantime, the message for chlorpyrifos treatments remains the same. The stewardship measures of adopting LERAP three star rated, low drift nozzles and observing the 20 metre buffer zone are a must. It is a case of using low drift nozzles for all applications of chlorpyrifos, or being prepared to say goodbye to the treatment all together.
He added that anyone seeking the continued use of the treatment should sign-up on the campaign website (www.saynotodrift.co.uk) to add to the weight of support for the initiative and to demonstrate the necessity of this treatment and the willingness to adopt the stewardship programme to the regulators.
Chlorpyrifos is typically employed in the arable sector during the early part of the year for wheat bulb fly control, leatherjacket control in spring cereals and to combat orange wheat blossom midge in the early summer. It is also used on field vegetables, soft fruit and orchard crops.
Chlorpyrifos Say NO to DRIFT guidelines: Broadacre crops and boom sprayers
Use LERAP low drift three star nozzles with 20 metre no-spray buffer zone (1 metre for dry water bodies)
(Please note that different guidelines apply to orchard crop chlorpyrifos applications)