Creed highlights grace period for use of critical banned fungicide stocks

The EU Commission has voted to ban chlorothalonil. File photo
The EU Commission has voted to ban chlorothalonil. File photo
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that his Department is fully aware of how important chlorothalonil has been for the cereal producing sector in Ireland

The comments come following the recent decision not to renew chlorothalonil was based on a change in the classification for carcinogenicity proposed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), following technical peer review, and a number of other critical areas of concern identified by EFSA and Member State scientific experts.

Creed said the Department is acutely aware how important chlorothalonil has been for the cereal producing sector in Ireland, not only as a primary disease control tool, but also as a resistance management tool, protecting other chemical families from the development of pathogen resistance.

However, said the ability of growers to use pesticide products safely, without endangering themselves, consumers or the environment, and in compliance with regulatory approval criteria, must always be the primary concern in the approval process of all active substances.

He also said that the timeline for implementing the decision will include a grace period of up to a year for distribution and use of existing stocks.

Regarding alternatives, he stated that some new fungicide active substances have recently been approved at EU level, which could offer new disease control options for tillage farmers in the future.

The EU decision to ban chlorothalonil, the active ingredient in key fungicide Bravo, will compound the income crisis in the Irish tillage sector, tillage experts have  warned.

A majority of Member States - including Ireland - voted in favour of the EU Commission ban.

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Farm leaders are seeking a package of support measures for tillage farmers facing substantially reduced yields when a ban on the fungicide chlorothalonil takes effect.

Teagasc warned last year that a ban could reduce net margins for wheat and barley growers by 50-65pc.

Michael Hennessy, Teagasc head of crops knowledge transfer, said: "It is a bad news story for the production of tillage farming (but) if a product is unsafe to use from a groundwater or health point of view, then farmers do not want to be using products that are not safe."

IFA grain chair Mark Browne said the loss of the product would compound the income crisis in the sector. He called on Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to put supports in place to mitigate potential losses to cereal growers.

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