Pesticide substitutes won't be easy to obtain, warns grower

Finding alternative pest-control products following EU bans will be tough, a leading grower has warned.

JSR Farms director Philip Huxtable said industry lobbying of the EU had reduced the loss of pesticides from a potential 85 to 15-20 per cent but problems lay ahead.

"We face major challenges under the water-framework directive; we have lost isoproturon and are likely to lose metaldehyde and chlortoluron. A theme throughout the negotiations is that companies will just find a new product to replace ones that are lost. But pulling rabbits out of the hat is not that simple."

Huxtable, who helped represent UK growers in Brussels and Strasbourg, said the experience had been eye-opening.

"It's only when you go there that you realise the problems we face. The Green Party has established itself in Strasbourg and has big changes planned for agriculture."

Techniculture director Neil Pratt told the recent Yorkshire Potato Day conference that reduced reliance on pesticides started with tackling the problem at source.


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