The sugar industry has submitted an application for emergency authorisation of Cruiser SB (thiamethoxam) as a neonicotinoid seed treatment, to be used to protect the English sugar beet crop in 2021.
This comes as sugar beet growers faced ‘unprecedented’ challenges in 2020 as the impact of virus yellows saw some yields fall by 70 per cent.
In a letter sent to growers signed by NFU Sugar and British Sugar, it said an application for Cruiser SB at the rate of 450g/l had been made. This is 150g/l lower than the rate applied for in 2018.
This rate reduction would provide 10 weeks protection against aphids, be part of a wider industry integrated pest management measure and would result in 1,130kg less neonicotinoid active placed into the environment, based on 2018 Defra Pesticide Use Statistics, the letter said.
If an emergency authorisation for Cruiser SB is granted, the UK industry would only use this treatment on the 2021 sugar beet crop if the virus yellows forecast, produced by Rothamsted Research, exceeds the risk threshold.
If an Emergency Authorisation is granted, there would be a cereals only restriction on the same field for 22 months after initial sowing of sugar beet in which the seeds have been treated with Cruiser SB.
The Expert Committee on Pesticides has confirmed that the application will be considered at its meeting on November 24 before a recommendation to the Minister.
It is hoped a decision will be made by mid-December.