Growers reminded of granular nematicide best practice

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The Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP) reminds potato growers to follow the best practice granular nematicide protocol this spring to ensure products are used safely and are protected for the future.

Mark Taylor, chair of GB Potatoes and working group member of the NSP, stresses the importance of the NSP in demonstrating the industry’s commitment to responsible nematicide application, ensuring the safeguarding of both the environment and the operators.

The NSP’s best practice principles focus on raising awareness and knowledge about nematicides such as fosthiazate, outlining the responsibilities and obligations towards environmental care and operator safety.

“The stewardship programme, as it has evolved, embraces these aspects and reinforces the importance of training and resource availability for growers,” he says.

He outlines the six key areas of the protocol.

  • Qualify
    All operators must have a PA4 or PA4G certification and must have completed the ARTIS Nematicide Stewardship e-learning course to apply granular nematicides. They must also be members of NRoSO.
  • Calibrate
    Applicators must be checked daily for damage or wear, to ensure all pipework is correctly fitted. The applicator must be inspected and certified as fit for use by a qualified National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) engineer at least every two years.

    The amount of product used should be calculated according to the area treated to make sure the correct volume per hectare is applied. For advice on how to calibrate your machinery, visit the calibration page on NSP’s website.

  • Single pass
    The product should be incorporated within a single pass, immediately prior to planting with no granules left on the surface of the soil.
  • Shut off
    All applicators must be fitted with a device in the cab that allows operators to shut off granule flow at least 3 metres from the end of each row. The shut off time allows for all piping to run out before the machine is lifted out of the ground.
  • Spillages
    Use the same filling point in the field to allow any spillages to be identified quickly. Bury small spillages immediately to ensure no granules are left on the surface.
    If the spillage is large, remove it to an empty nematicide container, clearly label it and return it to the manufacturer, burying any remnants immediately.
  • Check
    Check treated fields 12 to 24 hours after application for adverse effects to wildlife. Check field edges and areas where application equipment is turned on and off, but also inside headlands and breaks in the middle of the field.

“PCN represents the most significant and widespread challenge in the potato industry,” he says. “Our access to quality land is diminishing, making the responsible use of nematicides, within an integrated approach, paramount to managing this issue effectively.”

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