Pesticides Ruling to Impact Farmers
30th April 2013
A controversial EU ruling on the use of a pesticide will have a “huge impact” on the farming community, leading farmers’ buying group Woldmarsh has warned.
The European Commission has intervened in a dispute between member states to suspend the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoid for flowering crops, which will remain off limits for the next two years. The reasons are based on concerns that neonicotinoids are damaging to bees and other pollinators, which are vital for the pollination of plants, and in turn, the growth of food crops.
Woldmarsh, a farmer-owned agricultural group based in Louth, Lincolnshire says that while the health of bees is a top concern for farmers, the ban of neonicotinoids will lead to more alternative pesticides being used, adding to the cost of the sprays and fuel needed to apply them, resulting in more expensive food in the shops.
James Allis, Seed and Agro-Chemical Manager at the not-for-profit group, said: “This week we’ve seen a ruling from the EU which will have a huge impact – and potentially a costly one – on the farming community.
“One of the reasons this pesticide is so widely used is that it allows farmers to protect their flowering plants at a seed level, meaning they will only need to treat the seed once, before it is sown. It’s going to have a significant effect on farmers producing oilseed rape as well as some other flowering plants. Neonicotinoids have been in use for more than a decade and represented an improvement on earlier pesticide sprays, particularly because they are thought to be harmless to humans and other mammals.
“Depending on the timing of when this ban is introduced, there could be a lot of farmers who have seed which is already treated with neonicotinoids left over from last year which they will now be unable to sow, meaning money down the drain. And they’ll also need to look at safe and approved methods of disposing of that seed, which again, adds to their bill.”
The EU ruling will now mean that farmers will have to spray two or three times with a foliar spray to kill the flea beetle and prevent viruses, which are both damaging to crops. This is a different type of pesticide and is more costly in terms of the time needed to apply it and also more harmful to the environment as the spray can permeate the air.
“There are lots of factors which could be contributing to the decline of bees, such as wet summers and Varroa mites, and pesticides are just one element in a big mix of things. No farmer would want to be contributing the poor health of bees, so if the science is right there will be no complaints.
“But if the science is not right then farmers will have lost a very effective and safe means of controlling pests. There is inconclusive evidence, making the ruling somewhat controversial, but we’ll soon see the results; if we have two good summers with rising bee populations, we’ll know the change was positive. We’re now offering help in sourcing alternative and appropriate pesticides for our members.”
For more information about Woldmarsh or becoming a member, please visit www.woldmarsh.com or call 01507 602396.
Notes to editors:
- Woldmarsh was formed in 1961 and now boasts more than 800 members nationwide from Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight. It traded £112 million of goods and services last year.
- The membership policy is closely governed to ensure Woldmarsh represents those in the farming sector which share its views and ethos.
- The organisation is able to source competitively priced products from suppliers for farmers, allowing members to enjoy a stronger negotiating position than that of a single farmer.
- It is a ‘one stop shop’ for agricultural products and services, staffed by purchasing and industry professionals, who hold either formal qualifications or boast strong industry experience.
- Woldmarsh is a not-for-profit organisation and all rebates are returned to members.