Metaldehyde stewardship guidelines apply this autumn
With slug pellet applications imminent, the agricultural industry is being reminded that metaldehyde stewardship guidelines apply this autumn.
David Cameron, chairman of the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG), the industry body set up to promote responsible use of metaldehyde, explains that although no further supplies of the active are available from manufacturers, distributors can still sell stocks and use can continue until 31 March 2022.
“Responsible use of pellets right up until the end of the use up period is essential to help stop metaldehyde reaching watercourses in all areas of the UK, especially in drinking water catchments,” says Dr Cameron.
He notes key stewardship steps to follow. “Firstly, with the view of helping to minimise slug infestations and reduce the need for treatment, metaldehyde slug pellets must only be used as part of a wider Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.
“Factors such as soil and stubble management, planting methods, weather, trapping and monitoring should all be considered as part of slug control programmes.”
Growers should also take a field-by-field approach to assess the risk of metaldehyde reaching watercourses. “Think ‘Soil, Slope and Stream’. Your field’s soil type, topography and proximity to a water course are all key to understanding whether applications could impact drinking water quality.
“If treatment is necessary, it’s imperative to refer to the full set of MSG guidelines. These state that no metaldehyde-based slug pellets should not be applied if drains are flowing or heavy rain is forecast and, no pellets should be allowed to fall within a minimum of 10 metres of any field boundary or watercourse.”
Dr Cameron concludes by thanking the entire industry for their support over the last decade.
“Although we are now seeing the loss of metaldehyde from the market, the stewardship initiative played an enormously important role, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the ongoing support of various organisations and stakeholders.”
Full stewardship guidelines are available here.
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