Users of metaldehyde slug pellets will be able to test and calibrate machines without needing to observe application guidelines or buffer zones following the introduction of a placebo pellet.
De Sangosse, the European leader in slug pellets, has developed the dummy pellet in response to the need to test all applicators this year.
“Metaldehyde is the most commonly used molluscicide, but using live bait for anything other than slug control purposes is unwise. The industry needs to take all reasonable steps to protest this vital molluscicide for future use,” says Simon McMunn, De Sangosse Commercial Manager.
The placebo will be identical to De Sangosse’s premium pellet, TDS, but with one exception, it will not contain any active ingredient.
“It is the perfect dummy pellet. Everything about it will mirror that of TDS, but it will not contain any metaldehyde or ferric phosphate. To avoid confusion on farm, the bags will be clearly labelled with ‘placebo’ and it will be sold in smaller bags to reflect the limited amount needed for calibration and demonstration purposes,” he adds.
The introduction of a placebo pellet was welcomed by Duncan Russell, Manager of National Sprayer Testing Scheme, who said it would “help to ensure the industry is where it needs to be in the view of regulators”.
“We are required to test all applicators before November 26th 2016 under the Sustainable Use Directive. The ability to perform this with a dummy product is easier for the NSTS examiner and avoids unnecessary release of active ingredient into the environment,” says Duncan Russell.
“Previously we had no option but to use live product and with this there was a risk of over-applying or that it may reach places in the environment we would rather it didn’t. Using a placebo removes this risk while demonstrating to regulators that the industry is taking all reasonable steps to protect this vital plant protection product for the future.”
The placebos will be available to buy through participating distributors of current crop protection products.