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Excessive levels of metaldehyde continue to be detected in water courses this winter

Wet weather throughout the autumn created ideal conditions for slugs. The challenging conditions have also meant that farmers have struggled to get winter wheat drilled. But the wet weather has delivered a double whammy, causing excessive water run-off in some areas.

The Anglian Water region in particular has seen excessive amounts of metaldehyde detected at well above the permitted level. Some abstraction points have had to be closed. The Voluntary Initiative is keen to remind growers of the need for best practice use of molluscicides, particularly metaldehyde, at this time.

Dr Neal Evans, Operations Director at the VI said; “Continued wet weather in some areas of the country has resulted in run-off to water courses. We have heard reports from some water companies that they have detected metaldehyde in raw water at levels well in excess of the 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) limit.  It is important to stress the need for careful, best practice use of pesticides and metaldehyde in particular, as part of an integrated pest management approach. Careful stewardship of metaldehyde will be key as this slug pellet treatment is phased out.”

Further information on Integrated Pest Management and best practice is available from the VI website at www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk and information on metaldehyde, including a threshold guide for treatment, is available at www.getpelletwise.co.uk.

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