OSR Herbicides? Think Water” campaign launched

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A new campaign aimed at supporting farmers to continue their responsible use of oilseed rape herbicides has been launched by the Voluntary Initiative with support from the Crop Protection Association, writes Sarah Cook of ADAS.

Think Water is a suite of new tools aimed at helping farmers, agronomists and sprayer operators to follow best practice stewardship advice to ensure the continued responsible use of oilseed rape herbicides. OSR Herbicides? Think Water can be found here: http://www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/schemes/stewardship/osr-herbicides-think-water/

Oilseed rape is an essential crop in the rotation allowing a break to control weeds, pest and diseases and especially difficult-to-control blackgrass. The future of many essential OSR herbicides e.g. metazachlor, carbetamide, propyzamide, clopyralid, quinmerac are under threat, because of the levels detected in water destined for drinking.

This new stewardship scheme – OSR herbicides? Think Water –aims to build on existing good practice to protect water and more restrictions on current herbicides. Farmers are encouraged to review their practices when growing oilseed rape, to check WIYBY and to use the updated Water Protection Advice Sheets (WPAS) for the relevant herbicides. The campaign also promotes the greater use of Integrated Pest Management and has a range of new tools to aid farmers with their plans for responsible herbicide use

There are 6 steps to follow

Check the EA’s WIYBY website to see if any of the land farmed is in a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone and if any of the OSR herbicides used have been identified as an issue.

Enter the post code, a map will then appear with at risk areas highlighted, click on the area and a table will also appear which summarises the pesticides the Safeguard Zone covers.

Use the VI Integrated Pest Management Plan to discuss the approach to growing OSR and weed control. Identify if there are changes to rotation, cultivation and weed control practices that will reduce the risk of these herbicides reaching surface water.

Before applying OSR herbicides refer to VI Water Protection Advice Sheets (WPAS) and follow their advice. Do not apply if drains are flowing or there is a risk of heavy rainfall in the 48 hours after application.

Ensure all surface water adjacent to oilseed rape fields is protected by at least a 6m grass buffer strip.

Make sure all filling, handling and application practices are in order and that there is no risk of spills and splashes during filling or washing down reaching water. Use the VI’s Check It Out tool
Read the OSR Herbicides Guide – http://www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/schemes/osr-herbicides-guide/

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