Loss of fungicide could devastate cereal sector as Minister says farmer health main priority
The Minister for Agriculture has said that farmers' health of 'primary' importance as fungicide faces being banned by EU over carcinogenic fears.
A new report carried out by Teagasc has found that the loss of critical fungicide chlorothalonil to the industry could devastate the Irish cereal sector.
Currently chlorothalonil plays a vital role in disease control in Irish cereal production systems and Teagasc research show that where chlorothalonil is not available average net margin is down by over 50pc in wheat and 65pc in barley.
While previously it has been used as an anti-resistance strategy to prolong the efficacy of the main fungicides used to prevent wet weather diseases, in recent years it has played an increasing important and direct role in disease control and maintaining potential yields.
However the EU Commission has proposed that the approval for chlorothalonil should not be renewed.
That proposal will be voted on, by the Member States, in either October or December. If approval is not renewed, usage will have to be ceased within 18 months.
The Minster for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that his Department is acutely aware of the importance of chlorothalonil (the active substance in the product referred to) to the cereal producing sector in Ireland, not only as a primary disease control tool but more critically as a resistance management tool, protecting other chemical families from the development of pathogen resistance.
He said a key issue is a change in the classification for carcinogenicity proposed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), based on the outcome of the technical peer review consultation that it held with Member State experts.