Potato and vegetable growers have been dealt a blow with the loss of a vital pest control product.
Vydate – a pesticide commonly used to tackle nematodes in root crops such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots, sugar beet and onions – has not been granted reauthorisation for use after December 31 2020 by the Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD).
Growers have been told they have until the end of February to dispose of the product, and UK farm levy body AHDB has applied to the CRD for emergency approval to provide limited use of the product for the 2021 growing season.
A spokesman for Corteva Agriscience, which produces Vydate, said: “The decision by the CRD means that Vydate 10G must not be applied to crops from January 1 2021.
“Stakeholder groups have submitted five applications for emergency authorisation approvals for use in key sectors where there are no alternative solutions.
“These applications are currently being evaluated.”
He added: “Further information regarding the disposal and storage of Vydate will be communicated to farmers and customers shortly.”
Farmers’ union NFU Scotland (NFUS) said losing access to Vydate would pose a “major issue” in the fight against nematodes, in particular potato cyst nematode (PCN) in Scotland.
The union’s policy manager, Peter Loggie, said: “We are rapidly losing land on which seed potatoes can be grown, which has to be PCN-free.
“PCN and other nematodes are also an issue for bulb and carrot production.
“Losing Vydate will make that battle even harder than it already is so we view the application for emergency authorisation as vital and something we will support.”
NFU England and Wales vice-president Tom Bradshaw said growers were not given enough time to prepare as the decision to ban Vydate was made a week before the authorisation ended.
He said: “We have serious concerns about the realistic prospects of the industry being able to dispose of the product by the end of February, given the lack of notice and relatively short window for the manufacturer to arrange collection.
“Vydate is an incredibly important tool for growers of sugar beet, potatoes, onions, carrots and other field veg to control pests on their crop.
“It is an effective and affordable part of many growers’ integrated pest management plans and we are supporting emergency authorisation applications submitted by industry.”