Emergency use application for neonicotinoid seed treatment on sugar beet granted

11 January 2021

NFU Sugar

An application from NFU Sugar and British Sugar for the emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on sugar beet seed in 2021 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: “I am relieved that our application for emergency use of a neonicotinoid seed treatment for the 2021 sugar beet crop has been granted. Any treatment will be used in a limited and controlled way on sugar beet – a non-flowering crop – and only when the scientific threshold has been independently judged to have been met.

“Virus Yellows disease is having an unprecedented impact on Britain’s sugar beet crop, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80%, and this authorisation is desperately needed to fight this disease. It will be crucial in ensuring that Britain’s sugar beet growers continue to have viable farm businesses.

“The sector continues to work as quickly as possible to find long-term solutions to Virus Yellows disease.”

If the product is used, only cereals can be planted within 22 months of the sugar beet crop being planted and no oilseed rape crop can be planted for 32 months.

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