The Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP) has reminded potato growers of the importance of following best practice protocols for granular nematicides.

Mark Taylor, chair of GB Potatoes and working group member of the NSP, says potato cyst nematode (PCN) represents the most significant and widespread challenge in the potato industry.

“Our access to quality land is diminishing, making the responsible use of nematicides, within an integrated approach, paramount to managing this issue effectively.”

Industry commitment

Mark stresses the importance of the Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP) in demonstrating the industry’s commitment to responsible nematicide application, ensuring the safeguarding of both the environment and the operators.

NSP focuses on raising awareness and knowledge about nematicides such as fosthiazate, outlining the responsibilities and obligations towards environmental care and operator safety. “The stewardship programme, as it’s evolved, embraces these aspects and reinforces the importance of training and resource availability for growers,” he adds.

Mark outlines the six key areas of the protocol:

  • Qualify
    All operators must have a PA4 or PA4G certification and have completed the ARTIS Nematicide Stewardship e-learning course to apply granular nematicides. They must also be members of NRoSO.
  • Calibrate
    Applicators must be checked daily for damage or wear to ensure all pipework is correctly fitted. The applicator must be inspected and certified as fit for use by a qualified National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) engineer at least every two years.
    The amount of product used should be calculated according to the area treated to make sure the correct volume per hectare is applied.
  • Single pass
    The product should be incorporated within a single pass immediately prior to planting with no granules left on the surface of the soil.
  • Shut off
    All applicators must be fitted with a device in the cab that allows operators to shut off granule flow at least 3m from the end of each row. The shut off time allows for all piping to run out before the machine is lifted out of the ground.
  • Spillages
    Use the same filling point in the field to allow any spillages to be identified quickly. Bury small spillages immediately to ensure no granules are left on the surface.
    If the spillage is large, remove it to an empty nematicide container, clearly label it and return it to the manufacturer, burying any remnants immediately.
  • Check
    Check treated fields 12-24 hours after application for adverse effects to wildlife. Check field edges and areas where application equipment is turned on and off, but also inside headlands and breaks in the middle of the field.

For more information, growers are reminded to visit the NSP website.