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What the neonicotinoid emergency use authorisation means for farmers


The NFU has provided information on how farmers can benefit from the decision to allow neonicotinoids to be used this autumn.

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Permission has been given for neonicotinoid use against Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle
Permission has been given for neonicotinoid use against Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle

The NFU announced last week it had secured emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatments from the Chemical Regulation Directorate, after an initial application had been rejected.


Friends of the Earth is preparing the ground for a legal challenge to the decision but NFU vice president Guy Smith said, as things stand, ’the industry is entitled to proceed according to those authorisations’.

What areas are covered?

The Chemicals Regulation Directorate has given permission for neonicotinoids to be used over five per cent of the England’s OSR crop, around 30,000ha, against Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle (CSFB).


Farms in four counties - Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire - will have access to neonicotinoid seed treatments. In 2014/15, approximately 90,000ha of OSR was grown in these four counties.


Evidence showed these four counties were the hardest hit by cabbage stem flea beetle in 2014/15.

When can farmers use the seeds?

The emergency use has been granted for 120 days. Farmers will not be able to use treated seed after 20 November 2015.

What products does the emergency authorisation allow?

It covers Bayer’s Modesto and Syngenta’s Cruiser OSR. Farmers will only be able to purchase these products where already applied to seed.


The products will be for use with certified seed only. Farmers and growers are encouraged to contact their seed merchants for advice.

How do farmers acquire the seed?

Seed distribution must be targeted to areas of highest risk, which will requires detailed data at farm level.


Farmer’s requests for seed must be accompanied by a BASIS qualified agronomist recommendation for each field where use is requested.


Seed distributors will allocate available treated seed to qualifying farms. Access to seed is managed by distributors.


If your merchant is not aware of how to access treated seed, they should contact Bayer and Syngenta.

What happens when the seed runs out?

Once the approved volumes of Modesto and Cruiser OSR have run out, no further seed will be treated with either product.

Will farmers be asked for further information?

Farmers who sign the stewardship agreement as part of the products use are agreeing to participate in data acquisition – measuring the impact of insecticide plant protection products on their crops.

What about those who can’t access the treated seed?

NFU vice president Guy Smith said he could ‘fully understand the frustration’ of those growers who would not have access to the products.


The NFU is actively encouraging regulators to accelerate approvals and make a wider range of active ingredients available to control cabbage stem flea beetle in 2015 and beyond for circumstances where cultural controls are not sufficiently effective.

Why was the area limited to 5 per cent?

Regulators recognise that a greater percentage of the crop may be under threat but wished to see very detailed data on damage to crops from 2014 planting and 2015 planting before considering any further emergency use requests.

What can farmers do to establish crops faster than CSFB can damage it?

AHDB has revised its guidance on controlling CSFB in oilseed rape 2015.



  • The full NFU Q&A can be seen here
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