Arable News

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Company calls on farmers and agronomists to join Water Aware movement

Europes manufacturer of off-patentplant protection solutions has called on farmers and agronomists to join amovement designed to reinvigorate responsible use of agrochemicals in theface of increasing pressures linked to pesticides and water.

Makhteshim-Agan UK (MAUK), part of AdamaAgricultural Solutions, is leading the initiative ahead of an increasing needto comply with EU legislation linked to water protection.

Paul Fogg, the companys senior technicalman with a career interest in water protection, reckons he can encouragefarmers to adopt sustainable plant protection solutions, demonstrate responsibleuse and still be competitive in a global market.

In August he brought together in Westminsterthe Drinking Water Inspectorate, Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water todiscuss with leading farming and agritrade editors how to bring agchemmanufacturers, distributors, agronomists and farmers together in the samemovement as water companies, government and regulators to face the approachingchallenge.

Agriculture is currently facing a number ofsignificant challenges and water-related issues have the potential to be one ofthe most constraining when it comes to the long term availability of cropprotection solutions, he says. With the first round of Water FrameworkDirective (WFD) River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) coming to an end, it isclear that measures put in place to date have been insufficient to mitigatemany of the non-target, water related impacts. 

As a leading manufacturer of cropprotection products and a committed advocate of integrated solutions, MAUK hastaken the decision here in the UK to proactively examine how it developsproducts and labels in a way that meets the agronomic challenges farming faces.

We want to reduce any non-target,water-related impacts and ensure that valuable active ingredients remainavailable to growers.

One of the single biggest issues facing UKagriculture in the medium term is how to maintain the current armoury of activeingredients used in plant protection products, says Dr Fogg. This driver canput arable farmers on a collision course with legislators, regulators and watercompanies charged with reducing the threat of water pollution from farmingsources.

We want to encourage all links in thesupply chain to participate in a Water Aware movement where they can think aboutthe agronomic challenge, commercial business drivers and the potentialnon-target impacts of their decisions all at the same time.

The challenge, he says, is how we balancethese often conflicting priorities, with the skill being how manufacturers developnovel products and solutions; how agronomists give more sophisticated advice inthe field; and how growers adapt to do things differently.

Water Aware does not replace the VoluntaryInitiative (VI) or the industry-lead stewardship programmes. Its certainly nota lets bash farmers over the head for polluting water campaign but aplatform where participants in the crop protection chain meet the waterindustry and regulators to discuss and adopt a new philosophy when consideringthe responsible use of active substances.

We must all start doing things differently,to not only meet the challenges of producing more food from less land but alsoto maintain the current armoury of crop protection solutions, concludes DrFogg.

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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