Harvest virus threat triggers emergency response to controversial banned pesticide

Für Zuckerrübenbauern wurde eine vorübergehende Notfallgenehmigung für die Verwendung eines verbotenen Neonicotinoid-Pestizids ausgelöst - Bild: Antony Kelly <i>(Image: Antony Kelly)</i>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/_iP5apKKdD0fJE6vgBzQOw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/eastern_daily_press_378/ff57897b209b6376871f01rc ​​data-c1rcb” “https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/_iP5apKKdD0fJE6vgBzQOw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/eastern_daily_press_378/ff57897b209b6376871/c193b6>.c193b6″7></div>
<p><figcaption class=A temporary emergency permit to use a banned neonicotinoid pesticide has been triggered for sugar beet growers – Image: Antony Kelly (Image: Antony Kelly)

A temporary emergency permit to use a banned pesticide has been granted to sugar beet growers following forecasts of serious virus levels in the crop.

Neonicotinoid seed treatments were banned by the EU in 2019 due to their potential impact on bee and pollinator health.

In January, Defra confirmed for the third consecutive year that farmers could use a neonicotinoid called thiamethoxam to protect sugar beet crops from aphids that transmit Virus Yellow disease — but only if independent models predicted an incidence of 63 percent or more.

It provoked anger from environmental groups, who said the “incredibly brazen” move violates government commitments to reduce pesticides, with “potentially devastating consequences for bees and other vital pollinators.”

But the threshold is now in, and the Rothamsted yellow virus forecast projects a national infection level of 67.51 percent.

Eastern Daily Press: Dan Green is British Sugar’s Agricultural Director – Image: British Sugar

Dan Green is British Sugar’s Agricultural Director – Image: British Sugar (Image: British Sugar)

Dan Green is Director of Agriculture at British Sugar, which processes the country’s sugar beets, which are mainly grown in Norfolk and Suffolk.

“This seed treatment is necessary to protect the UK sugar beet crop and farmers’ livelihoods from the very high virus yellowing forecast for 2023,” he said.

“The emergency permit includes strict controls to protect wildlife, including restrictions on the use of the treatment near flowering plants.

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“The UK beet industry continues to invest in finding alternative solutions through our Virus Yellows Pathway.

“With NFU sugar [the National Farmers’ Union’s sugar board] and the British Beet Research Organisation, we see grower practices, seed breeding programs and precision breeding through gene editing as the long-term solution to combating this disease.”

Agriculture Secretary Mark Spencer said all the criteria for the emergency permit had been met and, taking into account the stringent controls and mitigation measures, “the potential risks of the permit (including potential risks to bees) in these circumstances outweigh the benefits of use”. .

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