Editor: Good evening to everyone and to our guest tonight Simon Barnaby from Scotts UK.
Editor: Perhaps you can tell the members a little bit about yourself and, in particular, how you got into the chemicals side of the industry.
Simon Barnaby: I have worked in the Turf Industry for over 20 years, as a golf course manager, agronomist with the STRI and now with Scotts as Technical Manager. Obviously within this role part of my responsibility is to manage and develop our range of Control products
Editor: How long have you been with the company?
Simon Barnaby: Nearly 4 years, in which time I have worked in the UK and mainland Europe
Editor: Tonight I want to talk about the changing face of pesticides so on with my first question. Do you think that there are more incidences of pests and disease today than five years ago?
Simon Barnaby: Yes, I think that we see similar amounts of fusarium attacks on fine turf, but more diseases such as Take All Patch. We also seem to be seeing an increase in worm activity and Chafer grub activity
Editor: Are the warmer climatic conditions to blame for the increases?
Simon Barnaby: I think there are a mix of reasons. More Take all because of suscetible USGA greens, more worm and chafer activity due to less affective chemicals.
Editor: And higher rainfall presumably?
Simon Barnaby: yes.
Editor: Which new pests & diseases can you see taking hold in the UK in the future?
Simon Barnaby: We are definitely seeing increases in more unusual diseases and pests, such as brown patch and nematodes.
Editor: Do you think that we are losing the war against the rising number of pests and diseases?
Simon Barnaby: Not at the moment regarding diseases, as we still have some good fungicides and there is a new one about to be launched but it will getting more difficult especially as EU legislation comes into force
Editor: Torch says:-Have you visited any golf courses, near Chobham for example, that exhibit leather jackets, frit fly, fusarium, take-all etc.... all on one green?!
Simon Barnaby: in very rare situations you do come across incredibly bad greenkeepers - 'how are you doing Scott?'
Editor: Lets be serious now- Why are we losing chemicals for use on turf?
Editor: Torch (alias Scott presumably) says:-Seriously for a change, can you tell us a little about Heritage. And I'm not THAT bad.
Simon Barnaby: I will come onto Heritage a little later. Chemicals are constantly reviewed and when new research shows that there may be problems regarding operator safety or environmental issues chemicals can be revoked, for example Chlordane.
Editor: Chlordane was a particularly nasty chemical, but it seems that there are far less nasty chemicals being banned.
Editor: Lee asks:- what chance is there of fighting things such as Leaf spot and Fusarium if the EU are going to start to outlaw certain chemicals or will it be restricted to chemicals such as soil conditioners which we could probably do without?
Simon Barnaby: All chemicals are being reviewed under an EU directive. It maybe not worth the chemicals companies time and money to put their product through the review if it is possible that it will fail.
Editor: Ok but how can we stop the banning of chemicals, at least until there are viable alternatives available?
Simon Barnaby: Unfortunately we can not, it becomes a commercial decision.
Editor: Is there enough research into new products whether natural or man-made?
Simon Barnaby: There is extensive research into plant protection products but we are restricted as to what we are allowed to develop, for example it is unlikely that there will ever be a new chemical worm control product as this will not get through the UK registration process.
Editor: Lets be specific then . Currently there is much talk about carbendazim, can you tell us what the state of play is?
Simon Barnaby: Carbendazim is currently under review and we have been told that AI suppliers are not supporting its use on amenity managed turf, but we have not been advised of any dates as to when this will be happening.
Editor: What's AI?
Simon Barnaby: Active ingredient.
Editor: I've heard that it is going to be banned imminently-will people be able to use up existing stock and if so how long do they get?
Simon Barnaby: I do not think it is imminent but it will happen, there is however, normally a time period to sell and use up the product, this is normally 1 - 2 years although in certain situations this can be shorter.
Editor: Lee asks:-. do you see these sorts of directives eventually coming into fertilisers and does it affect any granular products already?
Simon Barnaby: This is already starting to happen especially regarding packaging and labels, it is almost certain that legislation will affect fertilisers in the future, probably the biggest area of legislation will be regarding control of leeching.
Editor: Are those the little wriggly things that attach themselves to you, when you wade in water?
Simon Barnaby: Have you not heard of this technical term regarding fertilisation, hehehe.
Editor: Seriously and going back slightly, how long does it take to bring a new chemical to the market?
Simon Barnaby: From the invention or discovery of the AI it can be up to 20 years. The AI in the Heritage fungicide was discovered in the early 70s. It took a further 27 years before it was launched on the USA market. Normally trial work for a particular product to get on the market can take up to 5 or more years in the UK (even after the product has been launched in another country e.g. Heritage)
Editor: Torch mentioned Heritage earlier can you tell us more about this product?
Simon Barnaby: Heritage will be launched at BTME, it is the first brand new fungicide chemistry for the UK turf market in 10 years or more.
Editor: What diseases will it deal with?
Simon Barnaby: It is a broad spectrum fungicide, in the USA it has a recommendation for over 15 turf diseases at the moment. We only have fusarium on the label but we are working to get more diseases on the label a.s.a.p.
Editor: If it takes upwards of five years for development etc how much does it cost to bring a new product to market?
Simon Barnaby: I cannot go into precise details but I can tell you that in the UK alone, the research runs into many £100,000s, this is in addition to all the work that has been done to develop and launch the product in the USA.
Editor: For one product!!!!!! Why are agricultural chemicals cheaper than turf chemicals?
Simon Barnaby: The main reason is stated above, the product has to go through so much research including efficacy, operator safety etc and these cost have to be accounted for. There are also differences in formulation etc that add to the costs.
Editor: There is a big difference in price between amenity chemicals and agricultural chemicals that do the same job, what stops us using agricultural chemicals?
Simon Barnaby: You do not know that it will do the same job. The only way you know for sure that it will do the same job is if it goes through the trial process stated above. Also there is safety to operators which are different in agriculture and this has to be allowed for when developing a product specifically for the turf market.
Editor: What are the implications of using an unlicensed product?
Simon Barnaby: It is illegal, there are fines and possible imprisonment for illegal use, also insurance policies for golf clubs etc using illegal chemicals will possibly be void.
Editor: Ok. Can natural or biological products control turf diseases and pests?
Simon Barnaby: All products that claim efficacy against disease etc. have to go through the same registration process as chemicals, if a product claims efficacy against disease and has not been through this process, it is illegal, let me know if you see anyone doing this!
Editor: What do you mean?
Simon Barnaby: For example, if you have a biological product that claims it will cure your fusarium it has to have a MAFF number, e.g. registration through PSD.
Editor: What is PSD?
Simon Barnaby: Pesticide Safety Directorate.
Editor: Could we eventually lose the rights to use chemicals on turf?
Simon Barnaby: I suppose it is possible! There is a working document from the EU that is looking at this area. It will certainly not happen in the near future, but there is a definite move toward a more environmentally friendly approach to managing turf.
Editor: Currently now I think I'm right in saying that there is no chemical available to treat Chafers, is that true?
Simon Barnaby: Scotts certainly do not have anything , I know there are a few companies looking at this area with new products, I also think there is a possible biological control product on the horizon.
Editor: Sounds interesting can you tell us any more, I know some of our members are having big problems with this pest?
Simon Barnaby: I could do but after the leeching comment earlier- no!
Editor: Oh go on, I'll be sensible.
Simon Barnaby: Well the bio approach is interesting and could involve using bacteria or fungi to control the chafer, the chemistry in development is a little way away at the moment.
Editor: Vinny asks:- what are your views about growth regulators?
Simon Barnaby: They are used a lot in the USA and very much part of daily turf management. The new chemistry now available can be used on all types of turf to not only control growth, but to also significantly improve turf quality.
Editor: I've heard that they can be useful in shaded areas-what are your views?
Simon Barnaby: There is a lot of research coming from the US universities and the USGA. It has shown significant improvement to turf quality in stadia and in shady area on golf courses etc. regarding density and wear tolerance.
Editor: How do growth regulators improve the plants survival in shade?
Simon Barnaby: They do this by diverting energy that normally goes into the vegetative part of the plant, into the roots and side shoots etc. This means you do not get etiolated growth which is 'looking' for light, this type of growth creates weak, wear susceptible swards.
Simon Barnaby: This is a big subject, any one who wants to know more about how these work please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor: Simon, I appreciate your time this evening, so as a final question, I'm going to ask you to use your crystal ball and predict the state of the industry and its use of chemicals in 5 years time.
Simon Barnaby: I have really enjoyed it, there is no doubt that we will continue to lose chemicals faster than new ones come onto the market. There is still a need for control products on turf but they are very much part of the overall management of the turf, in conjunction with cultural, bio products etc. An integrated approach to managing turf is recommended.
Editor: This is a huge subject, perhaps we could discuss it further another time, thanks again, and thank you to all of you watching and sending in questions.
Simon Barnaby: More than happy to be involved, I look forward to doing it again.
Editor: Good bye.