Salad growers encouraged to find other methods of weed control than chemicals

With pending EU legislation hanging over the industry, salad growers need to start thinking about alternatives to chemical weed control.

This was the message given to growers by BLSA technical coordinator and consultant agronomist David Norman.

He warned that weed control was probably the worst victim of the new legislation and the increasing restrictions - such as longer harvest intervals - on how the products can be used.

He said: "Herbicide losses are probably the biggest risk because they have the highest costs. The cost of hand weeding would push the cost of the crop over the edge - by £1,000 an acre. The whole economy of the crop is at risk.

"We are unlikely to get the specific material we really need so we need to have a bit of vision here to help us. Vision technology, mulches, hoes, robotics, electrics, biologicals - if we have no useable herbicides, maybe we should consider these things."

He added: "We have already lost a number of active ingredient approvals through the ongoing pesticides review process and face losing considerably more with the introduction of the changes to the way pesticide approvals are granted with the adoption of the authorisation regulation and sustainable use directive."

Norman told growers that approvals due to expire included carbendazim, chlorthal-dimethyl and chlorothalonil.

He added that those actives used on salads that are possibly at risk under the new regulation included iprodione, mancozeb, tebuconazole, linuron, pendimethalin, deltamethrin, difenoconazole and prochloraz.


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