Getting to grips with new tillage regime

Tim O' Donovan

The latest EU directive to be imposed on farmers has big consequences for the tillage sector.

The Sustainable Use Directive, or SUD for short, is all about reducing the effect of pesticides on the consumer, the environment, the distribution chain and the farmer applying the pesticide.

1.All farmers who apply crop sprays must register with the Department of Agriculture by November 26, 2015. Registration is not open yet but it will be available in the next few months.

It can be done online or by a paper form and is not envisaged to be an onerous task with only basic details required such as name, herd/cereal number, farming education attained, etc.

2.A more significant impact of the new rules is that all sprayers will have to be tested by November 26, 2016.

This test will be carried out by independent registered testers and will have to be repeated every three years.

Note that knapsack sprayers are excluded from these requirements.

3.The third impact of the SUD is that all tillage farmers using crop sprays must follow a general set of good practice rules called Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

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Even though this is a totally new term to most people, I have yet to meet a tillage farmer who is not an expert in IPM already.

Sounds funny but it is true as IPM is basically a set of sound farming practises such as choosing a good disease resistant variety, drilling at the best time, practising the best rotation for your own situation, using crop sprays at the right time and applying enough to get the desired effect.

What IPM forces you to do is to actually document the decisions that you have been making for many years and justify the rationale behind them.

For more information on the SUD full details can be found at ie/SUD.htm.

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