Creed: farmers’ health must be main priority in fungicides debate
FARMERS’ health must the main priority in the ongoing debate about the future use of a vital fungicide which faces an EU ban, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has urged.
Teagasc has warned that the loss of critical fungicide chlorothalonil to the industry could devastate the Irish cereal sector.
The EU Commission has proposed that the approval for chlorothalonil (the active ingredient in products such as Bravo) should not be renewed.
That proposal will be voted on, by the Member States, in either October or December. If approval is not renewed, usage will have to be ceased within 18 months.
Minister Creed said that “the ability of growers to use chlorothalonil products safely, without endangering themselves, consumers or the environment, and in compliance with regulatory approval criteria will be of primary importance in this process”.
The Teagasc report estimates that a chlorothalonil ban would cut wheat yields by 50pc and barley yields by 65pc.
It found that cereal production will only be economic on the highest yielding sites with low costs of production as the risks of economic loss will increase dramatically on other sites.
The report also concluded that Irish growers will lose competitiveness as it is anticipated that other regions outside Ireland will not suffer the same losses.
“In the medium term, the introduction of new fungicides will be welcome and increase disease control options; however, in the absence of chlorothalonil a more rapid loss of efficacy of these fungicides is expected due to high disease pressure,” the report said.