The NFU has secured the emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatments providing much needed protection from the pest cabbage stem flea beetle for five per cent of the oilseed rape crop in England amounting to around 30,000ha.
The products which farmers will be able to have access to are Modesto (Bayer) and Cruiser OSR (Syngenta). The emergency use has been granted for 120 days. Discussions on the logistics of distributing the seed are underway.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “The NFU has worked relentlessly to submit a robust application and we’re glad to finally see a positive result. However, we know that this isn’t enough – flea beetle threat is widespread problem on a national scale and the extremely limited nature of this authorisation is unfortunately not going to help the vast majority of farmers in need of the protection.
“We will ensure that this approval is made the most of, both logistically and through the detailed monitoring of the crop for useful data. We will also call on Defra to contribute to solutions for the many farmers whose crops are significantly threatened by flea beetle but will not have access to these products.”
NFU combinable crops board chairman Mike Hambly said: “The principle of this authorisation is the point we need to focus on; the Government has recognised the problem and has given a restricted number of farmers a solution, which is better than no solution at all.
"However, many farmers who are persevering with oilseed rape will have already committed to seed orders and the possibilities of getting appropriately dressed seed across a range of varieties available is verging on impossible.
“We will now look to work with the regulators towards more efficient authorisations after the arduous process we have been through to get to this point..”