Farming News - EU bans Chlorothalonil after voting against it's licence renewal

EU bans Chlorothalonil after voting against it's licence renewal

25 Mar 2019
Agronomy / Frontdesk / Arable

Member states of the EU’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) have voted to ban the fungicide, a vital active ingredient for septoria in wheat and ramularia in barley.It is sold in various brand names, probably the most well known is Syngenta’s Bravo.

Dr Chris Hartfield, NFU senior regulatory affairs adviser, said: “Chlorothalonil is an essential tool in the UK to keep resistance development under control. It plays a vital role underpinning control of fungal diseases in UK crops like barley, wheat, asparagus and narcissus. Without it there is a high risk of the rapid development of resistance to other fungicides.

“We feel the Commission has been overly precautionary in making this decision and has failed to consider the particular importance of this active in the control of critical fungal diseases and in managing disease resistance. As a result, we believe sectors of UK agricultural and horticultural production will be put at significant risk.”

The decision has been described as “a severe blow” for the Irish tillage sector.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Grain Committee chairman, Mark Browne, said: “The loss of the product is going to compound the income crisis in the sector.

“Grain farmers have already experienced successive years of poor returns, which have resulted in a 20% reduction or 67,500ha in the total area planted to the main cereal crops over the past 10 years.”

Mr Browne pointed out that chlorothalonil has been recently re-authorised in a number of countries such as Canada saying that MEPs should propose a ban on the import of grains from countries which continue to use the active ingredient.

Chlorothalonil has been a mainstay of both wheat and barley fungicide programmes since it was launched in 1964. 

The European Commission said: “The commission’s proposal for a non-renewal of chlorothalonil submitted to member states was endorsed by member states.

“The proposal is based on the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific assessment which concluded that the approval criteria does not seem to be satisfied for a wide range of reasons.

“There are also serious environmental concerns, notably high risks are identified for fish and amphibians and great concerns are raised in relation to contamination of groundwater by metabolites of the substance.”