The EU Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) has voted not to renew approval for sugar beet herbicide desmedipham.
Hazel Doonan, AIC head of crop protection and agronomy sector said: “It is a shame. We still have phenmedipham but desmedipham was very useful to help mop up extra weeds and its loss will make weed control more difficult.”
Sale and use-up dates have not yet been published, however, Pam Chambers, national influencer UK and Ireland at UPL said she is ‘fairly confident’ it will still be available for use in the 2020 season.
A key consequence of the ban is that instead of using formulated products, making up herbicide mixes could become more complicated as straights will need to be used which may require addition of adjuvants and possibly different rates, making weed control more complex, says Ms Chambers.
She adds that the outlook for retaining sugar beet herbicide, phenmedipham looks more hopeful.
Expressing disappointment at the decision, NFU senior regulatory affairs adviser Dr Chris Hartfield said while both desmedipham and phenmedipham had been going through the approval renewals process, the dossier submitted for the former had been far more challenging than for the latter.
“For desmedipham, the Commission said it was not possible to exclude exposure of humans and livestock to residues.
“We are hopeful about phenmedipham renewal. It is not a done deal yet but concerns raised are being addressed. It has gone off the agenda of SCoPAFF for a number of meetings which hopefully means new data has been presented that has addressed these concerns.
“We will hopefully get the Commission to put forward a proposal for renewal once it has assessed all the evidence.”
Loss of desmedipham will require a change of practice as growers have been used to using the two actives alongside each other, says Dr Hartfield.