Why does this matter?
These measures are a legal requirement for the UK and its farmers.
Why do you have to do this?
All countries in the European Union are implementing the Sustainable Use Directive. The Directive applies in every EU country and sets minimum standards for the safe use of professional plant protection products (pesticides).
Due to existing legislation and the work of the Voluntary Initiative and UFU many UK farmers and growers do already meet most of the requirements of the Directive. However, some farmers and sprayer operators who operated under the old ‘grandfather rights’ now also must be trained and hold a certificate, when using professional pesticides.
In addition, to the above for 2016 spray application equipment will need to be tested and farmers need to demonstrate they are following an integrated approach to crop protection.
The three dates that matter are:
l 2014 saw the introduction of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and farmers need to be able to demonstrate this is followed on farm.
l From the 26 November 2015 it became a legal requirement that the sprayer operator on your farm, or orchard must be trained and hold a Recognised Certificate of competence.
l New for 2016 all working spray application equipment must have an NSTS Certificate from 26th November 2016.
Check first if you are
If you are using any pesticides or plant protection products such as weedkillers/herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, slug pellets/molluscicides, plant growth regulators, grain store or grain insecticides or soil sterilants.
You need to take three steps
Be able to demonstrate IPM practices are being followed. This can be done by completing an IPM plan. Links to a range of plans can be found at www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk. Completing a plan will help you make the most of IPM and shows you are considering different ways of controlling weeds, pests and diseases.
l DAERA have produced an IPM guide to assist farmers with understanding the requirements of IPM. This guide is now available on the DAERA website: www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/integrated-pest-management-guidance
l Be able to demonstrate that all operators hold a Recognised Certificate as it is now a legal requirement from 26 November 2015. Existing certificates e.g. PA1+PA2 meet the requirements of the Directive. A new Grandfather up-grade certificate is also available from City & Guilds. Professional plant protection products must not be used on farm after 26th November 2015 unless the operator who is applying that product holds a recognised certificate.
l Have application equipment tested by NSTS before 26 November 2016. Find an approved National Sprayer Testing Scheme examiner at www.nsts.org.uk. Subsequent testing will be required every five years from 26th Nov 2016; and every three years from 26th November 2020. Granule applicators and boom sprayers less than 3m wide need to be tested every six years, while handheld equipment should be regularly checked against a checklist and a record kept.
For further information and to get your machine tested visit: www.nsts.org.uk
Are there any other
Use a contractor or neighbouring farmer who holds an appropriate Recognised Certificate and has a tested sprayer. (It is your responsibility to check this). Your BASIS Registered Crop Protection adviser may be able to help with your IPM plan.
The UFU urges all farmers to be mindful of these new spraying requirements and keep the necessary records to comply. With the continuing pressure on all activities from the EU it has never been more important for users and the agriculture industry to follow best practice and help the farming unions lobby successfully to secure access to these products going forward.
Rush Control Event:
The Water Catchment Partnership will be attending and supporting the upcoming rush management event at Crom Estate, Newtownbutler on Thursday 22nd September. To book your place for the 2pm-4pm event or the 5pm-7pm event visit the Cafre website at: www.cafre.ac.uk/short-courses/rush-control/