Members of the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme who grow potatoes will need to meet a new standard concerning nematicide stewardship from March 1, 2020.
The standard requires that where granular nematicides are used, the Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP) Best Practice Protocol must be followed. This includes having to demonstrate that operators have completed relevant training and that nematicide applicators have been checked to ensure they are set up correctly.
Patrick Mitton, NSP chairman said: “It is important to protect wildlife and NSP guidance is that before the row end the flow of [nematicide] granules will have stopped.”
North Yorkshire potato grower Tim Rook explained how this can be achieved. “It can be done with an electric clutch that drives the applicator and can be as basic as an on/off switch in the cab, switching off at least three metres from the row end. A lot of bigger planters have electric applicators that switch on and off with the planter. You could just run GPS to these; quite a few in the industry say putting GPS on planters is doable. It will cost about £1,500-£2,000 if GPS is already on the tractor, if not, considerably more.”