EU Sustainable Use Directive on spraying ‘will drive more small farmers out of business’

“The latest EU ‘Sustainable Use’ Directive relating to spraying, and the accompanying rules and regulations, will force many farmers to seek a contractor to do their spraying,” independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said.

“The facts are that most small farmers cannot afford to hire a contractor to do this,” he added. “This is another piece of European red tape that will help to put small farmers out of business.

Even disregarding the cost of this, the amount of paperwork which is connected with this latest directive is almost impossible to do. It is very unfair to have to ask small farmers to do this.

“It is another indication of the EU strangling the life out of small farmers with red tape and unnesseccary rules and regulations. There is not a month that goes by, without some directive or other coming in that is an obstacle to small farmers doing their work.

“I would ask the question: Where will it all end or do the powers that be in the EU want any small farmers in business at all?”

Industry view

Meanwhile, somewhat similar views were echoed by Dow AgroSciences’ Biology Team Leader Andy Bailey. He explained: “The growing influence of the EU’s Sustainable Use Directive will force many grassland farmers to use contractors for most – if not all – spraying operations.

“The registration process alone, that is associated with the implementation of the directive, will drive farmers in this direction,” he said.

“And this is already happening. A recent survey carried out on our behalf in the UK indicates that the proportion of livestock farmers opting to use contractors for spraying purposes has risen from 30% to 50% over the past five years.”

Bailey predicted that the coming years will see the significantly greater adoption of low-drift spraying systems within the grassland sector.

“This will centre on the use of air inclusion, as opposed to flat-fan nozzles. And again this will be another factor driving the direction of travel towards contractors, where grassland spraying is concerned.”