Safety factors are built into the development of all herbicides and the criteria used to assess the risks today are more stringent than they have ever been.
Poisonous weeds, such as ragwort, can be more dangerous to livestock than using herbicides to kill them.
All grassland herbicides have to go through a rigorous testing regime and be set before an independent regulatory body, which will pass the product for approval and subsequent use.
The product label is a legally recognised document which guarantees when a pesticide is used in accordance with the instructions it is safe for:
As with all farm chemicals, plant protection products must be used following the exact instructions on the label.
Suitable protective clothing stops spray reaching the skin
The product label has information on how to use the herbicide safely and successfully. It outlines precautions to be followed by the operator and tells how the product should be stored and how the container should be rinsed out.
Directions for use include information on dose rates, maximum number of applications per year, timing and the period animals must be kept out of the field following treatment - this is just seven days for products such as Doxstar® Pro, Thistlex and Grazon® Pro.
I have been working to develop new herbicides for more than 30 years and am convinced all the products we sell, when used correctly, are safe for the operator, the crop, the environment and the public. Each one has to get through a thorough set of assessments, administered by the Chemicals Regulation Division, part of the Health and Safety Executive. These look at any potential effects on things such as birds, insects, animals, humans and the environment, including watercourses. Remember, herbicides are not always herbicides. Once they have been sprayed, they do their job, then quickly break down into harmless molecules, such as carbon dioxide and water.
Andy Bailey, Principal biologist at Corteva Agriscience
Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use. For further information including warning phrases and symbols refer to the label. Corteva. Agriculture division of DowDuPont. CPC2 Capital Park, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5XE. Tel: +44 (0)1462 457272 Doxstar®Pro contains fluroxypyr and triclopyr; Thistlex® contains clopyralid and triclopyr; Grazon®Pro contains clopyralid and triclopyr. For grassland advice, call the technical hotline on 0800 689 8899, or visit www.grassbites.co.uk