The Source to Tap Project is inviting farmers to a free Rush Control information event at the Killeter Heritage Centre, Castlederg, and nearby farmland this Thursday (August 8).
The aim of the event is to demonstrate best practice when using pesticides and to show how weed wiping of rushes is an effective alternative to spraying with MCPA.
The River Derg catchment sees high levels of the herbicide in the rivers annually.
Organised by the Source to Tap Project in conjunction with CAFRE, landowners can choose from two sessions - afternoon session at 2pm or evening session at 6pm.
MCPA loss from the land represents a financial loss to the farm business in wasted product and poses a risk to the water environment and the plants and animals that depend on it.
As opposed to spraying MCPA across an entire field area, weed wiping applies herbicide to the rush only, reducing the amount of product used as well as eliminating loss of herbicide through spray drift.
Other advantages of weed wiping are that it can be undertaken using a quad bike, reducing soil compaction on wet ground and weed wiping can only be done using other types of herbicides which have a shorter residency time on the rush and in the soil, reducing any potential impact on the nearby water environment.
Diane Foster, Source to Tap Project Manager explained: “Weed wiping rushes as an alternative to spraying MCPA, is a win-win for landowners and the environment.
Recent trials on weed wiping in Seagahan, County Armagh, have shown reduced MCPA levels in Seagahan dam by over 75 per cent in 2018, making it much easier and more cost effective for NI Water to supply high quality drinking water to the local area as well as achieving cost and time savings for the landowners. The rush kill was extremely effective when using a weed wiper.”
In the River Derg catchment upstream of NI Water’s Water Treatment Works at Tieveinny, 100% funding is available to landowners for weed wiping of rushes, as well as other measures to help protect river water quality that is the source of shared drinking water in the border region.
The funding is available on a first come first served basis through the Source to Tap Pilot Land Incentive Scheme, which is funded by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, with match funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) in Ireland and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).