This season will see information begin to appear on some crop protection product labels regarding new wider aquatic buffer zones needed to protect water, advises the Crop Protection Association.
The new aquatic buffer zones can be up to 20m wide and may vary by crop. Therefore, it is important to check labels carefully for the new requirements.
The new wider buffer zones will be found on labels of some new and existing products. The aim is to provide UK farmers with continued access to product/crop combinations which under the previous arrangements would not be approved if a buffer strip larger than 5m was required for water protection. However, existing LERAP categories will continue for many products.
If the buffer zone is 5m, then the label will state whether or not the width can be reduced by undertaking a Local Environmental Risk Assessment for Pesticides (LERAP) assessment. If the buffer zone is more than 5m, the interim arrangements do not currently permit any reduction. However, work is underway to assess if LERAP reductions can be allowed in the future.
The new wider buffers mean that UK farmers will benefit from innovative products as well as established chemistry that may otherwise have failed to gain or retain its approval for use, said CPAs Dr Anne Buckenham. However, because it applies to a relatively few products at present it is important that farmers and sprayer operators discuss the new aquatic buffer zones with their agronomist and carefully check labels this season.