OSR growers asked to ‘change one thing’ to protect water

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The Voluntary Initiative is urging oilseed rape growers to ‘change one thing’ this autumn to help avoid restrictions on key herbicides vital to the viability of the crop.

Its Oilseed Rape herbicides? Think Water campaign comes after increased detections in surface water of five herbicides used to control blackgrass and other weeds in arable rotations.

These OSR herbicides are metazachlor, propyzamide, carbetamide, quinmerac and clopyralid – with propyzamide found most often. Quinmerac and clopyralid present particular difficulties because they are more difficult for water companies to remove.

Restrictions could threaten the economic viability of oilseed rape and its role as a valuable ‘break crop’ and useful means of fulfilling the current ‘three crop rule’ requirements.

The Voluntary Initiative is working with water companies and the farming and crop protection industries to raise awareness improve practice and develop new tools.

As a starting point, it wants growers to ‘change one thing’ to reduce the chances of product getting into water; be it through soil management and cultivation, drilling and crop establishment, weed control and product choice, reducing run off with grass buffer strips or the use of tramline disruptors

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