by Sarah Coe Natural Resources Wales
PESTICIDES are an integral part of modern farm management – they help farmers to manage even the very basic of crops to ensure a good, healthy yield. Whether to feed your stock or to sell directly to market, pesticides reduce the risk of crops being decimated. Pesticides are extremely effective – meaning that if they get into local waterways and rivers they can cause significant damage to the insects that live there.
There are some changes to legislation in term of cross compliance and grandfather rights farmers will need to be aware of this year and they can find out more from the Welsh Government. There are things to remember like checking for any restrictions on applying pesticides to the land in question, check the code of good agricultural practice (CoGAP), Cross Compliance or Glastir scheme requirements and ensure the operator is competent and has appropriate certificates.
Try to avoid applying pesticides if heavy rain is forecast in the following three days
Some simple top tips:
In the yard –
• Never leave a sprayer filling unattended,
• Fill over a biobed or on ground which will absorb spills i.e. grassland,
• Clear up spills and never wash splashes or spills to drains,
• Take water from a storage tank, bowser and only use mains if fitted with a double check valve.
• Never fill near a watercourse,
• Rinse seals and lids (over induction bowl) and place seals in the product box and the lids back on the containers.
In the field –
• Plan ahead – think where water contamination is most likely to happen
When spraying –
i. Use low drift nozzles where appropriate
ii. Check flow rates
iii. Avoid conditions where spray drift can occur
• Do not spray buffer zones and watercourses
• Ensure cleaning takes place well away from watercourses
• Spray tank washings on to the crop/weed
For more details on safe spraying see www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk