As of November 2, 2015 a total of 4,532 people have registered with the Department of Agriculture as trained and registered professional users of pesticides.

Some 3,483 farmers have registered with the Department as professional pesticide users.

Figures obtained by Agriland also show that 82 people registered as pesticide distributors and 941 registered as pesticide advisors.

Some 26 people have registered as inspectors of pesticide application equipment, the figures show.

The Department of Agriculture continues to roll out aspects of the implementation of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD).

In the second half of March 2015 an information note was sent to all farmers regarding their obligations to be appropriately trained and registered with the Department if they apply professional use plant protection products.

Implementation of the SUD relies heavily on the training of the various people involved at all levels of the industry, including Pesticide Advisors, Pesticide Distributors, Professional Users, and Inspectors of Pesticide Application Equipment.

A new programme to test all pesticide application equipment is also being put in place.

People who have completed the Pesticide Application module as part of a Teagasc (FETAC level 5 or 6) course or the Teagasc Standalone Pesticide Application short course will meet the requirements for professional user training.

The UCD Professional Diploma in IPM and Sustainable Use of Pesticides is now in its second year, some 16 students participated in the course in 2014 and 14 have enrolled for 2015, according to the Department.

In addition, all premises storing or distributing pesticides must have registered with the Department before the November 26, 2015.

From this date only a registered premises can be used for storage of pesticides for the purposes of sale or supply and the premises must comply with a standard determined by the Department.

All boom sprayers greater than 3m and all blast and orchard sprayers must be tested at least once by a Department registered Inspector of Pesticide Application Equipment by November 26, 2016.

According to the Department, the interval between inspections must not exceed five years until 2020 and must not exceed three years thereafter.

New equipment must be tested at least once within a period of five years after purchase, it states.