Creed: farm­ers’ health must be main pri­or­ity in fungi­cides de­bate

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CIA­RAN MORAN

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.

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