HSE grants emergency authorisations for maize seed treatments

A field of maize

Following sustained NFU lobbying, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has granted emergency authorisations for three seed treatments, crucial for the growing of forage maize.

Korit, Redigo M and Force will all be available for use as seed treatments on maize grown in 2024.

This follows the announcement over a month ago that the emergency authorisations had been granted by both the Scottish and Welsh administrations.

NFU Vice President David Exwood welcomed the announcement, adding that continued access to seed treatments is “crucial” for members growing maize, a crop which is “imperative to our dairy and livestock industries, as well as for the production of renewable energy through anaerobic digestion”. 

Long-term solution needed

Following an industry roundtable in July 2023, Farming Minister Mark Spencer wrote: “I am personally committed to finding both long-term and short-term solutions to [access to seed treatments]. This includes exploring the use of legislative powers available to Ministers to ensure the availability of products. To be clear, it is my firm intention to have a solution in place for the next growing season.”

Read: Minister offers commitment on parallel imports and seed treatments

The NFU convened a working group earlier in the year to work on a collaborative lobby to Defra, including representatives from the Maize Growers Association, Crop Protection Ltd, AIC, NIAB and seed companies.

The NFU has repeatedly highlighted to Defra the importance of an early resolution that allows farmers and growers to have the confidence to invest in next year’s cropping.

The NFU Vice President said that “the granting of these emergency authorisations provides the confidence that the supply chain needs to invest in maize for next year” but added that it was a “short-term solution” and called on Defra to “continue to work to seek a long-term solution that will provide maize growers with the tools they need in the years to come”.

david exwood portrait 01

The granting of these emergency authorisations provides the confidence that the supply chain needs to invest in maize for next year.”

NFU Vice President David Exwood

Defra confirmed in October that it had laid proposed secondary legislation that is expected to complete its passage through parliament in December.

The secondary legislation provides a medium-term solution to access to EU-treated seed. The legislation will provide access to treated seed through to 1 July 2027, a three-and-a-half-year extension to the original cut-off date, as long as products remain authorised in at least one EU or EEA (European Economic Area) member state.

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