The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group’s targeted approach to the stewardship challenge has been launched this year with the issuing of letters and leaflets to all farmers with land either within a Drinking Water Protected Area, or an associated Safeguard Zone.
“Metaldehyde is now the most significant pesticide issue for water companies across England,” comments the Group’s spokesman Simon McMunn.
He explains that the mailing has been able to pinpoint – using Environment Agency data – farmed areas where water feeds into a zone where it is abstracted by the water companies.
“And with the mapping data available, we are able to advise where holdings are at 'high risk' as a result of factors including the soil type, topography and vicinity to a watercourse."
He adds that whilst the current MSG guidelines for those in the ‘high risk’ areas are unchanged, the priority actions have been highlighted.
“So, for example, we know the highest risk scenario for metaldehyde is when land is at full water holding capacity, and when there is a combination of both drain flow and forecast rainfall. We are therefore notifying farming on the highest risk land, that metaldehyde must not be applied in these circumstances.
“Where slug treatment is still required, growers should be seeking an alternative,” he urges.
To find out if your land it at high risk, visit www.wiyby.co.uk and do a postcode search on the Environment Agency’s online tool, ‘WIYBY’.
If the postcode search highlights land within either a red area or a hatched black area that’s linked to a red Drinking Water Protected Area, then it’s possible to find out if there is an identified risk of metaldehyde (and/or other pesticide) exceedance by double clicking on the red area.
To request more information contact the MSG enquiry line on 0845 1770117.
High metaldehyde risk?
• Visit www.wiyby.co.uk
• Switch to an alternative beyond metaldehyde max limit if required
• Do not apply when soils are at full water holding capacity, when drains are flowing, and when heavy rain is forecast