Europe, UK, Ireland, News September 2020, Production/Agronomy

Ireland: End of the road for diquat on potato farms

Irish potato growers have been handed a minor reprieve from the EU’s campaign to reduce use of pesticides by 50%. Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has granted a temporary, once-off and short term emergency authorisation for diquat, writes Stephen Cadogan in a report for the Irish Examinar.

He writes that diquat has been the most commonly used desiccant in the potato sector for many decades. It is no longer approved for use as a plant protection product within the EU, he says.

However, to facilitate industry transition and to support growers as they move to other methods of dessicating potato crops, Minister McConalogue granted a derogation. The authorisation is subject to a number of strict conditions to ensure appropriate protections are in place.

These conditions reduce the maximum allowed application rate and spray volume, and specifications in relation to buffer zones and drift-reducing nozzles.

They are the same as those provided for in an emergency use authorisation recently granted by Denmark, but the provision in Ireland is for a reduced period of time, remaining in place only for 60 days from September 10, facilitating limited use of diquat to desiccate this year’s potato crop.

Read the full report in The Irish Examinar here
Photo: Potato foliage must be removed before harvesting to prevent blight infection of the tubers, facilitate the passage of the harvester, and remove weeds. After this year, farmers can no longer  use Diquat, the most  used desiccant  for many decades. | Irish Esaminar

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