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The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) is reminding growers of the severity and impact of slug damage upon the industry as we enter into the autumn restriction period for metaldehyde.
“The most recent data available from the HGCA, reviewing the impact of changing pesticide availabilities for cereals and oilseeds, highlights the potential loss of the active ingredient as costing growers a massive £50 million due to the resulting inability to gain control of the pest,” explains Dr Paul Fogg, spokesman for the MSG.
With the main slug pelleting season imminent, the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group is keen to urge growers to retain momentum in keeping up with good stewardship measures, “particularly if unfavourable conditions present and high slug pressure sees us having to employ the metaldehyde quota,” stresses Dr Fogg.
“We are in a situation where it is an absolute necessity not to exceed maximum dose guidelines, nor use any more metaldehyde based slug pellets than necessary to achieve control. If the metaldehyde quota has been used up and treatment is still required a product containing an alternative active ingredient should be used.
“Accuracy is more important than ever this autumn,” he notes, commenting on the MSG’s promotion of accurate, ‘Pelleting Precision’ amongst operators and users.
“Although 2010/11 water company results demonstrate a significant reduction in the levels of metaldehyde beindetected in raw water it has followed two seasons of low slug pellet use. The threat to the future of this important active ingredient has not gone away,” he emphasises.
The autumn restriction period for metaldehyde applications, beginning from the 1 August and continuing until 31 December permits a maximum total application rate of 210g/ha of the active ingredient, which may be reduced to 160g/ha or less upon the recommendation of a BASIS qualified advisor. Taking a typical rate of 5kg/ha as an example, that translates to a single application using 75g of metaldehyde with a 1.5% slug pellet; 150g with a 3%; and 200g with a 4% pellet.”
While the total dose rate guidelines remain unchanged this autumn, growers are also reminded that the maximum application rate of 700g a.s. metaldehyde/ha/calendar year is now a statutory, legal requirement.
Dr Paul Fogg