0 Avoid fines with grower guide to pesticide label changes

Growers risk losing a considerable chunk of their basic payment if they use a pesticide outside the legal guidelines on a product's label.

Those guidelines are under constant review and are often changed to accommodate tighter regulation of the way pesticides are applied.

Not being aware of the changes and applying a product in a way that breaks the rules could be picked up by a RPA or crop assurance scheme inspection and cost the grower thousands.

Here is what you need to know to stay within the rules.

What is a Mapp number and why do they change?
Every pesticide product used on farm is given a ministerially approved pesticide product (Mapp) number when it is registered with the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) for use in the UK.

When a pesticide product is assessed for re-registration or where significant changes to labels occur, in most cases it is given a new Mapp number upon its re-approval. Revocation dates for the sale, supply, storage and use of products carrying the "old" Mapp number will be advised by CRD on their website. However, this is not always the case and can be an issue for distributors, agronomists and growers.

What changes can occur on a pesticide product label?
Changes can be made to the:

  • Crops the product can be used in
  • Dose that can be applied (individual and total)
  • Number of applications
  • Intervals between applications
  • Harvest intervals (earliest/latest growth stage)
  • Health and safety requirements for operators
  • Environmental precautions, such as buffer zones
  • Agronomic advice such as resistance management to maintain the product's efficacy

What happens to a product with an "old" Mapp number?
Where a Mapp number changes, distributors invariably have unsold stock from the previous season, together with new stock with a new Mapp number. To help with stock control and ensure both products are supplied according to the customer's requirements and applied according to the label conditions, many Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) members treat these as two separate products and allocate a different stock code to each.

This helps highlight to distributor storekeepers, delivery drivers, purchasers and end users there is a difference between the products supplied. While agronomists also aim to stress this on recommendation sheets, end users must check the product label to ensure they are aware of differences between two products that on the face of it are identical, but need to be used differently.

Is there anything I can do on the farm?
For farmers and growers, pesticide stock rotation is essential to ensure products are used according to the label ahead of any revocation dates - this will also save costs having to dispose of products through waste disposal contractors.

Farmers should note when a Mapp number changes on their stock records so they remember to use the product in accordance with any new conditions.

How can I keep up with label changes?
It is very difficult to keep abreast of label changes, some which can have serious consequences. For example, changes to the rate of use or changes to the crops on which the product is approved are particularly significant - especially where crops are removed from the label.

Many professionals using pesticides resort to checking labels and CRD databases in combination with any notification from the product manufacturer to keep abreast of label changes.

For all the rules on label changes read the Farmers Weekly article here.

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