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

18 January 2024

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 2024 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, which safeguards more than 9,500 jobs, continues to be threatened by Virus Yellows disease. In recent years the disease has caused crop losses of up to 80%. I am relieved that this has been recognised by Defra in granting the derogation which will be invaluable if we see a return of severe pest pressure.

“An independent, scientific threshold is used to forecast the severity of pest pressure on the British sugar beet crop and any seed treatment will only be used if this threshold is met. And the industry will again deliver a comprehensive stewardship programme to ensure safe and responsible use of the treatment if the threshold is met.

“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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