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Collection of data relating to seed drilling methodologies as part of the outdoor vegetable, grassland and fodder crop pesticide usage surveys - PS2036

The pesticide usage survey team at FERA is about to embark on surveys of edible protected crops, outdoor vegetables, grassland & fodder crops. The surveys, funded by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of the Health & Safety Executive have been conducted for almost 50 years and provide Government with background information on changes in pesticide usage in a range of agricultural & horticultural crops. Data are, in the main, collected by face to face visits with individual farmers and growers.

The new EFSA guidance document for bees requires an assessment of the risk, where relevant, to bees (honey, bumble and solitary bees) from dust drifting from a seed drill. The Commission Implementing Regulation 485/2013 also requires information on dust and application equipment. A number of high profile incidents implicating neonicotinoids with bee mortality have been as a result of dust emissions from operating seed drills, in particular those used in drilling maize (Nuyttens et. al., 2013).

In England & Wales the planned pesticide usage surveys will be collecting data from 400 outdoor vegetable growers and a minimum of 300 grassland & fodder holdings. Outdoor vegetable holdings will grow not only field grown vegetable crops such as vining peas, carrots, onions and beetroot but also arable crops such as cereals, oilseed rape and sugar beet as part of their normal crop rotation. Similarly some holdings selected in the grassland and fodder survey will also be growing rape, fodder beet, cereals grown for arable silage and other arable crops as part of their rotation. Although the drilling of cereals, oilseed rape and some field vegetables is likely to be managed on farm the drilling of maize and sugar beet is often the responsibility of a specialist drilling contractor.

Detailed data will be collected from a minimum of 200 outdoor vegetable holdings and 200 grassland & fodder holdings in England & Wales and work has been priced on this basis. Where appropriate, data will be collected from up to 10 maize seed contractors and 10 sugar beet contractors, although this is dependent on the extent of use of contractors. Whilst the data collected will be representative of outdoor vegetable and grassland & fodder crops grown in England & Wales they will simply provide a good baseline assessment of current practice on arable crops. Data collected will include information on the following: crops grown & areas; drill makes and types; age of drill; presence of vented dust deflectors; soil type & soil moisture (where possible); field margins (where applicable); cultivations prior to drilling; seed handling; drill filling times; rate of drilling/hectare (by crop); PPE used at drilling; awareness of drilling stewardship; sprayer makes & types; age of sprayer; boom size; NSTS testing. Information on drilling methods, timing of drilling, seed rates and seed treatments are already collected as part of the PUS surveys.

As current cropping data will be unavailable at the time of publication, estimates of national usage will be made, in discussion with the FERA statistician, using the most recent years cropping data.
1.) Obtain information relating to drilling on farms sampled in the outdoor vegetable, grassland & fodder surveys. In particular, collect specific information on the drilling equipment used; methods in place to minimise dust from abraded seed; operator behaviour and average drilling times for each machine.

2.) Collect statistics on the use of NSTS testing to allow NSTS to better plan their future workload.

3.) Produce a report to CRD which combines data from the existing PUS surveys (where this is available) and the supplementary drilling and sprayer information which would allow decision makers and modellors to quantify potential risk.

4.) Production of the final report is dependent on the availability of Defra Statistics and also the progress of data entry for the PUS part of the survey - because of the volumes involved the data entry of the PUS data is likely to lag behind the data entry of the supplementary drilling and sprayer information.

5.) It is proposed that data collected specifically on supplementary drilling and sprayer information is reported without all of the PUS data because of the issues at Point 4. However, the data relating to the supplementary drilling & sprayer information will be raised to make national estimates, using the most recently available and relevant June survey data.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : PS2036 - final report   (7203k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2014

Cost: £23,421
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Pesticide use              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety