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As the cloud over metaldehyde continues to linger, growers and operators attending this year’s Cereals event will have the chance to find out how increasing application accuracy improves slug control and will help maintain metaldehyde use.
According to the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group’s Colin Myram it’s a chance to reassess bout intervals, understand what the maximum application rates really mean and to take a closer look at calibrating machinery.
“Our research from the ongoing Get Pelletwise campaign clearly shows that total recommended dose rates of metaldehyde set out in the guidelines aren’t well understood,” says Colin. “And it’s understandable given that different slug pellet formulations contain variable percentages of the active ingredient, which translates to different maximum kg/ha rates.
“But it’s crucially important,” he maintains. “Water regulators are monitoring the impact of catchment activities designed to reduce the risk of metaldehyde in raw water at the point of abstraction by 2015. And given exceedances were still being found in 2010 – a very low usage year for slug pellets – it’s a cause for concern.”
Colin adds that there is no longer any leeway for wasted pellets. “We will be demonstrating to growers and operators just how inaccurate spreading to a 24 metre interval with a quad bike mounted spinning disc can be and the benefits of reducing the bout width to 12 metres. We are operating in an environment where every slug pellet could count.
Colin adds that the total dose rate guidelines are unchanged this autumn. “They set a maximum total application rate of 210g/ha but on the recommendation of a BASIS qualified advisor this can be reduced to 160g/ha or less for metaldehyde based slug pellets applied between 1st August and 31st December. 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.”
Additional displays and information on the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group’s ‘Pelleting Precision’ themed stand will clearly show how slug pellet dose rates translate to maximum rates of grams of active ingredient and the different factors involved in achieving accurate pelleting. It’s also a chance to hear from a line-up of water companies, environment specialists, pelleting manufacturers and slug experts.