A VI Stewardship Scheme to build on existing best practice to protect water.
Aims of the Voluntary initiative, the importance of water stewardship and Autumn messages
One of the aims of the Voluntary Initiative (VI) is to encourage best practice use of plant protection products (PPP’s) as part of an Integrated Pest Management-based (IPM) approach to crop protection. This is an integral part of the VI’s strategy and highlights the agricultural industry’s responsibility to water, wildlife and the wider environment. At this time of year, when many growers are sowing autumn arable crops, there are some key messages which are worth highlighting.
The Voluntary Initiative Think Water! campaign helps explain the routes that PPP’s can take to water.
At this time of year, when cereal and oilseed rape crops are being treated with herbicide to control weeds (primarily blackgrass), care must be taken to ensure that weather and soil conditions are consistent to those specified on the product label to ensure these active substances don’t find their way to water courses. Quite often, manufacturers provide specific on label requirements that should be met before a certain product can be used and provide information on their websites. For example:
Planning - The role of crop adviser, managers and sprayer operators
From the BASiS qualified crop advisor to farmers, managers and ultimately to sprayer operators, each has a specific role to play when planning, organising and applying products. This could be four different people involved in this process or could be just one individual. Whilst efficient and safe food production are vital business attributes, the protection of our environment is also paramount.
So what is being done?
The Voluntary Initiative is working with water companies and the farming and crop protection industry to raise awareness of the water protection issues, improve practices and develop new tools that will support farmers in continuing their responsible use.
What can agronomists, managers and sprayer operators do to help?
There are 3 steps you can take to help
Use The Environment Agency's Farmers page (bit.ly/EA_Farmers) to find out if any of your land is in a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone (DWSgZ).
If you are farming in a DWSgZ, speak to your local water company catchment officer to understand the potential risk on a field-by-field basis, or speak to your BASiS qualified crop agronomist.
Implement best practice agronomy to help protect water by following the three basic steps below:
Think Water! further resources