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Sunday, 29 March 2015

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Growers face calls reduce use of slug pellets

FARMERS are being urged to be careful when using an under-threat pesticide.

Heavy rain this year has seen farmers using increasing amounts of metaldehyde to protect their crops from slugs but there are fears the resulting water pollution could lead to stricter control of its use.

A study carried out by Water UK found unusually high levels of the pesticide in reservoirs and streams.

While the levels identified are not considered dangerous to health, they are substantially above the limit set out in EU guidelines. The pesticide is commonly found in a range of popular slug pellets.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “This has been the wettest summer since 1912 and slugs have been a major problem to farmers and growers.

“Farmers and growers are being forced to use higher quantities of slug pellets or face losing crops.

“This increases the risk of products like metaldehyde being found in run-off from fields in streams and rivers.

“We are working with all our partners to reduce the risk of run-off and are promoting vigilance and responsibility by farmers and professional advisers.

“We are concerned that any temporary water pollution resulting from this year’s extreme weather and subsequent growing conditions should not raise a question mark over the long term availability of this product.”

Farmers are advised not to exceed the maximum recommended doses of metaldehyde-based products and avoid using it when heavy rain is forecast.


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