Dairygold is calling for minimal costs and paperwork in Ireland’s rollout of new compulsory pesticide regulations.
Farmers, distributors, inspectors and advisors across the country are set for compulsory pesticide training and pesticide registration by the Department of Agriculture over the next two years. In addition, plans are under way to have all pesticide equipment in Ireland inspected.
Speaking to AgriLand, Scott Lovell, technical manager of Dairygold agri-business, said the new pesticide national rollout will significantly impact the company.
Lovell explained: “As a farmer-owned co-operative, the national action plan for pesticides impacts all of these groups: our farmers and end-users (crop protection product customers and our grain/bean suppliers). For example, from the 1 January 2014 all crop protection product application records will need to show how Integrated Pest Management principles were used in selecting the products used.
“They will either need to undergo ‘professional user’ training (a three day, FETAC level 5 course) and have their sprayer tested by a certified inspector or employ a contractor who has the necessary training and inspected application equipment,” said Lovell.
“Professional users will need to be trained by November 2015 and sprayers inspected by November 2016.”
In terms of Dairygold’s advisors, he said its strategy is in delivering the best possible advice on farm and confirmed all its 10 tillage advisors are already fully trained and certified.
“They have all successfully completed the Irish Agricultural Supply Industry Standards training course and are fully up to date with the IASIS continuous professional education (CPE) programme, coupled with many years’ experience advising farmers. They do not require further training to comply with the legislation but they will of course continue to attend CPE events and ensure their advice complies with the updated legislation.”
In terms of Dairygold’s retail stores, Lovell explained that as currently proposed, the rollout will dictate that all stores that wish to sell/distribute pesticides will need a trained (a 2.5 day, FETAC level 5 course) certified individual at the point of sale at all times by November 2015.
“As this is a brand new course, none run to date, all our stores will need to have personnel trained, to meet the needs of the individual store including individuals who are absence through annual leave or sick leave, to continue to sell/distribute agrochemicals.”
The Dairygold agri-business technical manager sees a number of challenges ahead. “Minimise the extra cost and increased paperwork for farmers is key,” he said. “In addition, ensure the increased focus on IPM principles results in a win-win situation ie reduced risk to the environment and increased profit for growers. Ensure the continuous education programme, not just initial training for advisors, if fully accredited.”
Lovell also called for an avoidance of a significant reduction in the number of outlets distributing agrochemicals.
In terms of the rollout timeline, the Dairygold manager said it thinks it is tight. “The timelines for training of distributors, professional end users and application equipment are all tight in my opinion. This could pose significant logistical problems.”
He called for communication from the Department of Agriculture to be improved. “Communication needs to be improved. There is little or no guidance on how Integrated Pest Management principles are to be recorded noting this is to be implemented on-farm from the 1st January next year.
The Dairygold manager also noted difficult business decisions will need to be made on the viability of some stores to continue to sell crop protection products.
“Dairygold has already made significant investment in the training of our advisors. We will invest in our store personnel but some difficult decisions will need to be made on the viability of some stores to continue to sell crop protection products if the current proposal, that all stores that wish to sell/distribute pesticides will need a trained certified individual at the point of sale at all times, is adopted.
He said under the current proposals, farmers will have to pay for their training and their application equipment inspection. “It would be welcomed if EU/government support was made available to support training,” Lovell concluded.
As slide show of Dairygold tillage farmers in action