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Pilot study to measure drift of dust containing neonicotinoid compounds from seed treatments during drilling of autumn sown crops in the UK - PS2035

The new EFSA guidance document for bees assesses the risk, where relevant, to bees (honey, bumble and solitary bees) from dust drift. This pilot study will provide initial data for the UK regarding the feasibility of a range of media for the collection of dust drift as well as the potential level of dust drift under field conditions. The study of collection media will enable an assessment to be made as regards which methods are suitable to use to collect dust drift under field conditions. However, due to the developmental nature of this work, the drift results will only be preliminary and will not be suitable for risk assessment purposes.

In the UK, most treated seed is sown in the autumn when few flowering plants are likely to be available and few bees may be foraging. According to the new EFSA guidance document, an assessment of the risk from the drilling of treated seed would always need to be carried out for autumn drilled treated seed. Although this time of application may pose a lower risk than other times of drilling (e.g. spring), it is currently unknown what risk dust from seeds drilled in the autumn poses. A series of field studies will be carried out in September/October 2013 when the treated seed is being drilled to monitor the process under field conditions and measure any dust that may drift from the planting process on to field margins and neighbouring fields or crops. The field work will focus on neonicotinoid treated oilseed rape (3 fields) and neonicotinoid treated cereal fields (2 sites). Drift deposition (onto the ground or field margin vegetation) and airborne drift will be determined using a combination of sampling techniques at distances up to 10m downwind from the edge of the field with 3 oilsedd rape crops and 2 cereal crops.

Full details of the drilling operation will be recorded such as seed rate; forunlation type, treatment rate in terms of g product/kg seed and mg product/seed; forward speed; PTO speed; drill type including use of deflector, tillage type, soil type. Environmental conditions would be recorded, with wind speed and direction frequently monitored. Samples of seed used at each site will be collected and to used to determine the a.s. content in the dust using the Heubach method. Samples of dust form the seed bag or container and the hopper would also be collected for analysis of for dust fractions. Soil samples will be taken to measure residues of neonicotinoid compounds in the soil prior to drilling. A record of neonicotinoid use on the field would be requested for the previous 3 years.Soil moisture measurements during the drilling process and details of the seed drill would be recorded including the type of deflector present. Photographs from the field would record drill set up and design as well as the samling array and field margin structure.

Samples of the vegetation in the field margin vegetation would be sampled before and after the drilling to monitor any dust deposition using whole plant samples.The details of the field site and sampling points will be recorded so that future studies could consider the neonicotinoid levels in the pollen and nectar of the treated crop and flowering plants in the field margins. As indicated above, this work will initially assess the feasibility of a range of collection media for dust drift under field conditions. In assessing this, it will also provide an indication regarding potential levels of drift, however given the nature and size of this study the conditions used for the field work could not be considered to be a representative sample of UK conditions. The pilot study will provide some initial data and develop the capacity to evaluate sampling techniques and assist with selection of technique suitable for dust monitoring in the future.
Evaluate the suitability of drift collection media under field conditions for the collection of dust from the drilling of treated seed.

Determine levels of drift of onto field boundaries and neighbouring crops and fields during the autumn drilling of neonicotinoid treated crops.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : PS2035 final report   (883k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2014

Cost: £79,124
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Bee Health              
Insecticide use              
Pesticide use              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety