NFU comment on neonicotinoid distribution

Cabbage stem flea beetle_275_206
  • The authorisation from the CRD requires treated seed distribution to be targeted to areas of highest risk. This means that farms in four counties will have access to neonicotinoid seed treatment products under the emergency use authorisation. They are Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Last year there was approximately 90,000 Ha of oilseed rape grown in these four counties.
  • Evidence presented to the Expert Committee on Pesticides showed that these four counties were the hardest hit by cabbage stem flea beetle in the 2014/15 season.
  • The products will be for certified seed only.
  • Farmers who use the product will be asked to take part in scientific research to measure the impact of the plant protection products on their crops.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “We have been working with the suppliers to better understand how the neonicotinoid seed treatments will be made available after the NFU secured the emergency use authorisation to provide much needed protection from the pest cabbage stem flea beetle.

“As we know the amount of product available will be to treat five per cent of the oilseed rape crop in England amounting to around 30,000ha. The NFU understands that four counties will be allocated treated seed. They are Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. This has been based on the evidence presented to the Expert Committee on Pesticides and official data which showed these counties were the worst affected by flea beetle damage in the 2014/15 season.

“We understand the emergency authorisations will apply to certified seed only and there will be strict stewardship agreements in place governing its use. It is important to have the details finalised so that farmers know how they can access this treated seed.”

“As an oilseed rape grower who suffered flea beetle damage last year but who farms in Essex, a county not in the four chosen counties, I can fully understand the frustration of those growers who will not have access to neonicotinoid seed dressings this year when trying to establish crops. However, I realise that if we are to lobby in the future for a return to the situation where all growers can benefit from this technology then getting a few thousand acres of oilseed rape sown with neonicotinoid seed dressings will help demonstrate their importance for all of us.”