Don’t miss this month’s new look Arable Farming. Take a look at the digital edition today.
Momentum can be a jolly useful thing. In most cases it harnesses from somewhere that extra energy you need to get over the hill, whether it be a physical one or taking some other form. But when momentum is working against you, it can be very hard to stand firm against it. And right now it feels like anti-pesticides lobbyists have momentum on their side.
Neonicotinoid insecticides, glyphosate, now diquat? What next? The contents of the agchem toolbox are being dumped in the bin marked ‘hazard’ and the industry has got a struggle on its hands to fish them out.
The UK’s regulatory authority for agrochemicals, the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD), is recognised as among the best in the world. But still the public remains sceptical – to put it mildly – of the safety of crop protection products.
Sprayer operators up and down the country take the time to stop their machines, get out and explain what they are doing and why. I know; I have seen it done first-hand. But still the public remains unconvinced.
I could go on; Open Farm Sunday, LEAF, county agricultural associations – all these and many more spend considerable amounts of time working to bring farming generally, and the need for crop protection specifically, closer to the nonfarming majority of our population. But we need to ask why our messages are not getting though.
Perhaps now is the time to look at the transparency of the approvals system; to provide our scientists with the resources needed to develop new monitoring and forecasting systems to improve the targeting of those agchem actives to which we still have access; to get behind plant breeders as they seek genetic solutions, and critically, to think long and hard about how we show crop protection products are used with care and consideration for human health as well as that of the environment. What do you say?
Spring was a long time coming and now we are racing headlong into summer. Harvest preparations will soon be on the to-do list but in the meantime comes Cereals. Don’t miss our event preview, which includes all the need-to-know details, as well as a round-up of some of the machinery and agronomy developments set to be showcased at the event.
While we are on the subject of events, why not catch up with the latest news from the British Farming Awards in this issue. And get your entry in, of course.