The role of drain flow as the primary meansof pesticides reaching watercourses was highlighted at a recent Pesticides andWater Protection meeting hosted by Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) and theVoluntary Initiative (VI) in the West Midlands.
With metaldehyde now the most significantpesticide issue for water companies across England, the Metaldehyde StewardshipGroups spokesman Dr Paul Fogg said that while surface run-off remains an importantroute to surface water; soil, drainage and weather are critical considerations.
He pointed to the highest risk scenario formetaldehyde as being when land is at full water holding capacity and when thereis a combination of both drain flow and forecast rainfall. Employing a bufferzone to mitigate against surface run-off, or treating with an alternative onlyaround the headlands wont prevent metaldehyde reaching a watercourse in thisscenario, he warned.
In such situations of drains flowing andheavy rain forecast, the MSG guidelines are unchanged in advising thatmetaldehyde must not be applied. Seek an alternative, he urged, noting thatthe threshold of pesticide detection in water is so low that every farmer andoperator needs to beware.
He added that the issue is critical forthose farming on land that falls into either a Drinking Water Protected Area (DrWPA)or the associated Safeguard Zone. These represent the areas where water isabstracted by the water companies, or areas that feed into those abstractionpoints. Both are equally important.
And its possible to find out if you fallinto either of these areas by doing a simple postcode search of the EnvironmentAgencys online tool, WIYBY, or Whats in Your Backyard by visiting www.wiyby.co.uk.
If the postcode search highlights landwithin either a red area or a hatched black area thats linked to a red DrWPAthen its possible to find out if there is an identified risk of metaldehyde(and/or other pesticide) exceedance by double clicking on the red area, notedDr Fogg.
To request more information contact the MSGenquiry line on 0845 1770117.
Switchto an alternative beyond metaldehyde max limit if required
Donot apply when soils are at full water holding capacity, when drains areflowing, and when heavy rain is forecast