Emergency use application for limited use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on sugar beet granted

First published: 24 January 2023

An image of a tractor on a field of crops

An application from NFU Sugar and British Sugar for the emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on sugar beet seed in 2023 has been approved by the government.

The authorisation has been granted on the condition that the product will only be used if the threshold for virus levels is reached.

NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said: “The British sugar beet crop continues to be threatened by Virus Yellows disease, which in recent years has caused crop losses of up to 80%. I am relieved this has been recognised by Defra in granting the derogation.

“An independent, scientific model is used to forecast the severity of Virus Yellows infection in the British sugar beet crop. Seed treatment will only be used if a specified threshold, set each year by Defra, is met. We are working to understand the detail of this and other terms of use attached to the derogation.

“Led by the British Beet Research Organisation, the homegrown sugar industry is working hard to find viable, long-term solutions to this disease.”


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