Restriction of key pesticide won't solve issues says Department
Education rather than restriction is key when dealing with pesticide usage in agriculture, according to officials from the Department of Agriculture and Teagasc.
In its Drinking Water Report the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out that at the end of 2016, 63 supplies serving over 900,000 people had open investigations due to failures to meet the pesticide standard.
It found that 55 samples in 29 supplies had failed the standard for individual pesticides.
The most commonly found pesticide is MCPA which was detected in 37 of the samples. The herbicide is used for rush control in grassland.
It is usually detected in the months of May/June/July and in September/October as it is most frequently applied to grassland in these months for ragwort, rush and thistle control.
Bill Callanan, chief agricultural Inspector at the Department of Agriculture told the Farming Independent that while we do have a problem with pesticide levels, and in particular MCPA, education rather than restriction is the best approach when it comes to controlling levels.
"MCPA is undoubtedly one of the substances that is found. We need to make sure farmers are well informed in terms of its use. Better education around the most appropriate use of chemicals is the most important. It's in the greatest interest of agriculture and the consumer that we have compliance," he said at the Department's grassland symposium on the Role of Sustainable Grassland in FoodWise 2025.
Head of environmental knowledge transfer at Teagasc, Pat Murphy also feels that continued education around pesticides is necessary if we want to eradicate pesticides in water.