Update on arable and horticulture

Dual regulation

This week, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) hosted a meeting with UFU members, industry representatives and DEFRA officials to listen and learn about what ‘dual regulation’ means for the future access and use of Plant Protection Products (PPP’s) in Northern Ireland.

UFU deputy president John McLenaghan, growers, merchants and DAERA officials were advised by DEFRA that the establishment of a new “dual regulatory” model would provide flexibility giving the producer the choice to choose between UK or EU rules – ultimately removing barriers to trade and managing risks of future divergence between UK and EU rules. It was noted that Great Britain approved PPP’s would automatically be made available for Northern Ireland growers and no additional devolved administration would be required.

Clarity was also sought on product moving into an EU market, and it was confirmed that produce must be produced meeting EU regulatory requirements. MRL divergence was also discussed, and it was noted that growers already understand the complexities and comply within existing world supply chains, and this should not be or viewed as problematic going forward. 

The vegetable producers PPP portfolio is already very limited. UFU fear any changes in GB to the regulations, withdrawals of product and or setting of differing MRL’s with those in the EU has potential to be problematic if GB and or the proposed new GB/NI regime model are not synchronised and clearly communicated to growers and buyers.  

New seed certification labels

Cereal seed movements and necessary administrative labelling requirements are changing. The UFU are currently in discussion with growers and merchants reviewing the newly introduced seed certification labels. These discussions are ongoing. 

UFU seed potato survey

UFU deputy president John McLenaghan recently called on all seed and ware potato growers to complete a potato survey and help the UFU quantify and qualify the issue of access to seed potatoes for 2023 planting. This work and analysis are currently under review.

The UFU potato policy committee have also recently written to DAERA officials asking for clarity on seed potato inspection processes and protocols. DAERA have provided UFU with an interim seed potato inspection report and this is currently being reviewed within committee. A further request has been submitted with DAERA seeking clarity on all imported seed and ware potatoes. The UFU await this data set for further analysis.

Cereal Harvest 2023 - support local

Cereal harvest well underway and in some areas finished for 2022. The UFU call on fellow livestock farmers to support local cereal growers and buy local high-quality grain and straw. A strong local market makes economic and sustainable sense in these challenging times across all sectors. 

Arable Conference 2023 

Date for your diary: Thursday 19 January 2023. The UFU in partnership with Ulster Arable Society and CAFRE are progressing plans for their conference, full details of speakers will follow.