The UK’s water
companies have joined forces to host a stand for the first time at the country’s leading technical arable event, Cereals. They are supported by the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group, and part of the ‘Slug Trail’ to earn NRoSO and BASIS points.
Focussing on the issues surrounding water
and the use of crop protection products, the water
companies are inviting farmers and advisers to come along and find out if their land is within a drinking water
“We are keen to work alongside the agricultural sector to reduce the risk of water
supplies breaching standards set as part of drinking water
quality regulations,” explains Dr Jodie Whitehead, Senior Catchment Management Planner at Severn Trent Water.
The focus of activity within specific, higher risk water
catchments is part of the companies’ remit to reduce the pressure on expensive and carbon-intensive water
treatment processes. It relates to a range of pesticides that are commonly detected in watercourses.
“We are working far more closely with farmers and landowners in undertaking catchment management work, and to engage with them about the issues at stake.
“We have evidence that such activity can significantly cut concentrations of pesticides reaching watercourses at source.”
Jodie cites metaldehyde detections in water
during the two biggest slug years of recent years, 2008 and 2012, where the comparative levels were reduced by 50% in one ‘at risk’ area actively involved in a catchment management programme.
The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group’s Simon McMunn explains that with 88 surface water
catchments in England ‘at risk’, metaldehyde is the number one pesticide challenge for water
“The stewardship messages are as relevant as ever. We will soon only have two slug pellet active ingredients available to farmers, so retention of metaldehyde is critical,” he says.
He adds that a ‘Slug Trail’, between the water
companies’ stand and the two MSG companies represented at Cereals – Certis and DeSangosse – is an opportunity for growers, operators and advisers to test their knowledge on the issue, and to earn two NRoSO and one BASIS CPD point.
The stand (C-439-4) is situated on the Environment and Research aisle, with water
company representatives on hand to explain the issues and answer questions. It will also feature a replica water
treatment process, a pellet applicator set-up with some ‘deliberate errors’ to spot, and a raft of maps to identify and discuss high risk water