Farmers in Cheshire and North Wales are being offered the chance to switch slug pellets to help improve raw water quality.
United Utilities is steering farmers in three of its surface water safeguard zones away from metaldehyde based treatments by offering money-off ferric phosphate pellets.
Farmers near to the River Dee, River Dane and the Llangollen Canal can receive fifty per cent off the price of ferric phosphate pellets in a bid to control the amount of pesticides flowing into raw water.
Dr Kate Snow, from United Utilities says: “We support the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group’s efforts to minimise the environmental impacts of metaldehyde slug pellets but we’re hoping to encourage more farmers to switch to ferric phosphate slug pellets which are just as effective as metaldehyde, and easier to treat."
"We’re offering farmers fifty per cent off the price of ferric phosphate pellets and, if they’ve already bought metaldehyde, we can help them make the switch at no extra cost. By controlling the amount of pesticides flowing into raw water we can reduce the need for costly treatment processes which is better for the environment and better value for our customers.”
James Huxley, of DJ Huxley Farms Ltd made the change two years ago.
“I’ve used ferric phosphate slug pellets exclusively over the last two seasons. Last year was particularly challenging being so wet. I’m very pleased with the slug control ferric phosphate provides. Switching to ferric phosphate means I still control slug numbers, only have to calibrate the spreader for one product and minimise risk to water quality. The fact that United Utilities refunds 50 per cent of the cost means I win all round.”
Farmers can find out if they’re eligible for any of United Utilities’ offers by contacting their local catchment adviser.
Farmers using metaldehyde slug pellets should follow the advice of the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group: