The announcement by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate that authorisations for products containing chlorpyrifos will be revoked within a matter of weeks will rob Scotland’s farmers of important plant protection products.
Widely-used insecticides like Dursban WG and Equity have been used for decades to control a wide range of pests in arable crops, vegetables, soft fruit and grassland. The products help control pests such as aphids, caterpillars, wheat bulb fly and leatherjackets.
The announcement now means that, from April 1, it will be illegal to sell, distribute or use existing stocks of products containing chlorpyrifos. That leaves little time for farmers to use or return stock or for stockists to make arrangements for withdrawal.
The sole exception for use of chlorpyrifos is as a protected brassica seedling drench using automated gantry sprayers.
With few suitable alternative products on the market, the Union will be investigating all available options to ensure that essential crop protection can occur.
NFU Scotland President, Allan Bowie said: “Farmers and growers who have been successfully and safely using products containing chlorpyrifos for many, many years will be bewildered at the speed at which these have been removed from their armoury of plant protection products.
“NFUS will, as a matter of urgency, be investigating the options to ensure that essential crop protection can continue in the future.
“There is a wider issue here about the availability of plant protection products. It is imperative that legislators appreciate that the current rate of withdrawal of pesticides from the market is likely to leave farming at significant risk of being unable to meet the challenge of sustaining production in the face of pest and disease pressure.”