Group backs herbicide use
KEY independent bodies and industry companies in the UK have joined forces to promote best practice to help ensure the continued availability and efficacy of glyphosate-based herbicide products.
The European Commission recently renewed the approval of glyphosate for five years. To retain both the availability and efficacy of glyphosate in the UK for agriculture, horticulture, amenity and wider use, it is important that action is taken at the ground level.
In response, the independent stakeholders AHDB, AIC, NFU and the Weed Resistance Action Group (WRAG) have worked alongside companies within the UK glyphosate industry – Albaugh, Barclay, FMC, Monsanto, Nufarm and Syngenta – to review guidance, update resources and publish materials on a dedicated web page: https://bit.ly/2s09iRA.
Paul Gosling, lead weed expert at AHDB, said: “Since its introduction over 40 years ago, glyphosate has become one of the most frequently used herbicides in the UK.
“The industry fought hard to retain it and now, with the herbicide’s immediate future secured, it is vital that residues are minimised and resistance risks are managed.
“With planning for the 2022 renewal process already underway, glyphosate users must be proactive and follow best practice.”
One way in which glyphosate is used is pre-harvest on a range of cereal, oilseed and pulse crops to control weeds, aid harvesting and protect grain quality and food safety. Label recommendations and harvest intervals must be adhered to and best practice followed to ensure that any crop residues are kept to a minimum.
A new publication entitled ‘Pre-harvest glyphosate use in cereals and oilseed rape’ is now available from AHDB. It outlines the key points to consider, including application timing, which can be followed in the run up to harvest 2018.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of glyphosate-resistant weed populations in the UK, examples have been identified in Europe. Together with widespread resistance to other herbicides and the loss of key active ingredients, this means it is vital to prevent resistance to glyphosate and retain its efficacy.
In 2015, guidelines from WRAG were published by AHDB that detail how best to use glyphosate as a stale seedbed management tool. Put simply, the strategy is: one, prevent survivors; two, maximise efficacy; three, use alternatives; and four, monitor success.
James Clarke from ADAS and WRAG Chairperson said: “AHDB and industry-funded research conducted since 2015 has confirmed that these guidelines are robust. They represent the most recent position and, if followed, can help us to avoid the development of glyphosate resistance in the UK. For weeds, management decisions made by individuals have an impact in their own fields, even if others get it wrong.
“Alternatives to glyphosate should be used whenever possible and more than two pre-drilling applications must always be avoided. When applied, it should be at the right dose, at the right time and in the right conditions. Any surviving weeds should not be treated with glyphosate again and any suspected resistance must always be reported and investigated.”
Last Golden Eagle of Wales found dead
WALES will no longer see the golden eagle fly through the skies after the last of its kind was found dead by a walker in Abergwesyn Valley, near Llanwrtyd Wells.
The Golden Eagle was native to Wales, Europe and North America and due to human persecution had begun to die out, the last breeding pair being found in Snowdonia in 1850. It is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere, but unfortunately Wales will not see the bird in action for a very long time.
The female bird of prey was being watched and followed by the presenter of Spring Watch, Iolo Williams, and will appear in the last episode of the latest show ‘Iolo: The Last Wilderness of Wales.’
The company behind the television show which captures the highlights of Welsh wildlife, Aden Productions, commented on the extinction of the Golden Eagle. Taking to twitter, a statement read:
“Our whole crew was shocked and saddened to hear about the demise of our beloved Cambrians golden eagle, the last golden eagle to fly wild in Wales. We hope our final episode of Iolo: The Last Wilderness of Wales is a fitting tribute to her.”
It is still not known how the female bird died, leaving questions for bird lovers, but plans are being made by the Eagle Reintroduction Wales project to reintroduce the bird of prey back into Welsh wildlife is under way. However, it is explained that this is not a simple process. They will firstly need Natural Resource Wales to issue a license which does take time.
The Golden Eagle has not left the UK completely and can still be found in the far North of Scotland.
Big Farmland Bird Count returns
JIM EGAN has sent out a rallying cry for people to pick up their binoculars and go bird-spotting for the Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) which returns on Friday, February 8.
The passionate organiser of the count, organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), is urging farmers, land managers, gamekeepers and all wildlife enthusiasts to spend 30 minutes recording what species they see on their patch of land from February 8th to the 17th.
Your support will help identify the farmland birds that are flourishing due to good conservation methods and ones in need of most support.
“It would be fantastic to see even more farmers to take part in the count this year,” said Jim.
“Counting birds on farms is a great way to recognise what species are there as well as being an opportunity to take time out and see the benefits of work such as wild seed mix and supplementary feeding.
“Taking part and submitting results enables us at GWCT to shout about the important conservation work many farmers are doing.
“We want landowners to be proud of their efforts. We will make sure that the public and policymakers hear about what can be achieved on Britain’s farms. The BFBC is a very positive way to showcase what can be achieved.”
Backing this vital citizen-science project, running for the sixth successive year, is the NFU, which is this year’s sponsor.
President Minette Batters is vowing her support to the count by going bird-watching on her farm in Downton, Wiltshire.
She will be joined on day one with GWCT biodiversity advisor Pete Thompson, an advocate of the count, both of whom will be ready with their binoculars, notepads and sharpened pencils, recording what they see.
“I am delighted to be taking part in this year’s GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count which the NFU is pleased to be sponsoring for the very first time,” she said.
“It’s becoming an important national event where thousands of farmers and growers around the country are able to take stock of and importantly, take pride in what they find on their land.
“The NFU supports initiatives like the Big Farmland Bird Count as without sound management of the environment, enhancement of habitats, protection of wildlife and support for pollinators and soils, we do not have farming businesses.
“So, I would encourage all farmers to take part, and also remember to submit your records to the GWCT, so we can pull together a vital national snapshot of the state of the nation when it comes to farmland birds.”
A record-breaking 1,000 people took part in last year’s count, recording 121 species across 950,000 acres.
A total of 25 red-listed species were recorded, with five appearing in the 25 most commonly seen species list. These include fieldfares, starlings, house sparrows, song thrushes and yellowhammers. The most plentiful of these were fieldfares and starlings, which were seen on nearly 40% of the farms taking part.
At the end of the count, the results will be analysed by the Trust. All participants will receive a report on the national results once they have been collated.
New Flock and Herd Health Officers
HYBU Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has appointed two new Flock and Herd Health Officers to its ambitious five-year Red Meat Development Programme, designed to equip Wales’s lamb and beef industry for a changing future.
The posts are key to delivering the programme’s commitment to helping farmers achieve on-farm efficiency and drive best practice in proactive animal health planning.
The programme is supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Lowri Reed hails from a farming background near Llanon in central Ceredigion, whereas Lowri Williams is from Llanfihangel y Creuddyn near Aberystwyth, and is a graduate in Animal Management and Welfare from Harper Adams University.
Dr Rebekah Stuart, the coordinator of the Flock and Herd Health Project at HCC, said: “We’re delighted to have recruited two officers with experience and knowledge of agriculture and flock management to this important strand of work.
“There are few things that can have as great an impact on the efficiency and bottom line of a livestock enterprise as a proactive and coordinated approach to animal health and eradicating disease.
“The project will help farmers to work with vets to put health plans in place and monitor their effectiveness. Since opening an initial expression of interest window late last year at the Winter Fair, we’re encouraged by how many farmers are keen to be involved. We look forward to working with them to put this exciting project into action.”
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