Temporary authorisation of the herbicide, diquat, has been granted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Authorisation for diquat, used as a dessicant spray in potato crops, is in place currently and will last until November 5, 2021.

In a statement this morning (Thursday, September 16) the DAFM stated that the authorisation comes with “strict conditions for placing on the market and use”.

Diquat – what is it?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), diquat is a herbicide – primarily used in pre-harvest desiccation – used in a variety of crops. It is rapidly absorbed by green plant tissue and interacts with the photosynthetic process to produce compounds that destroy plant cells. It is inactivated on contact with soil and not taken up by plant roots. As a general herbicide diquat is used to control weeds before planting, before or just after crop emergence, and as a directed spray between the rows of established crops.

Diquat lost its authorisation in Europe in February 2020, due to concerns about exposure to bystanders, residents, as well as to birds.

Derogations have been granted to a number of European countries since the ban was implemented, including here in Ireland last year, autumn 2020.

These derogations are part of the transition for farmers from the herbicide to alternative dessicants.