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Information regarding relicensing aminopyralid
Ministers agree to the ACP recommendation to reinstate the licence to supply aminopyralid based products
17 June 2010
Press release from DOW AgroSciences 17 June 2010
Reintroduction of aminopyralid products will not lead to more manure problems
Aminopyralid herbicides have been re-introduced this year to help grassland farmers deal with difficult to control weeds but with tight controls to prevent problems with manure management.
Aminopyralid herbicides are the most effective solutions to control dock, thistle, nettle, and buttercup infestations in grassland. To ensure that their use does not lead to a repeat of the issues seen previously, their availability is now tightly controlled with a significantly amended label and a stewardship scheme which ensures farmers are aware of the implications for subsequent manure management. The herbicides cannot be used on grassland destined for hay and silage nor on grassland grazed by horses. This year sales are restricted to Scotland, South West England and Northern Ireland.
There have been some incidents this year of manure containing aminopyralid ending up on gardens and allotments.
“This is disappointing and upsetting for those affected,” said Dow AgroSciences principal biologist Andy Bailey. “Although of small comfort, we would reassure anyone affected that this manure has not come from use this season under the new controls. It is a reflection of manure generated from past treatment and kept in heaps for more than a year. Also, the past long winter means old stocks of forage will have been consumed on livestock farms.”
The new restriction in aminopyralid use will mean any manure returns immediately to pasture where it will cause no harm and cannot leave the farm. The stringent use restrictions are explained in detail to every professional farmer who wants to buy a product and a written confirmation of understanding must be completed.
Dow AgroSciences’ advice to concerned farmers or gardeners remains the same – to check carefully the provenance of any manure being used where sensitive crops, such as potatoes, peas, beans and carrots, may be grown.
“If anyone supplying manure cannot state with certainty that no aminopyralid-based product (sold as Forefront, Pharaoh or Banish) was used on the forage from which the manure resulted, then it is best not to accept any supply,” says Mr Bailey. “For anyone who has manure and is concerned, please contact us through our dedicated website http://www.manurematters.co.uk.This site also contains detailed information and frequently asked questions for gardeners, horse owners and professional grassland farmers.”
Press release end
October 2009 updated January 6 2010
Extract taken form National Farmers Union Briefing
What has happened now?
Authorisation has been given for 2 products, 1 aimed at agricultural use and 1 for amenity use to be returned to the market.
What will prevent a repeat of the problem for allotment holders?
This will be achieved by a combination of a comprehensive stewardship training programme plus changes to the label which aim to keep all manure produced from stock grazed on grass treated with an aminopyralid based product on the farm.
What are the label changes?
Amongst the major changes being introduced are:
What is included in the stewardship programme?
Will all aminopyralid based products be allowed back on the market?
No. Approval was only asked for 2 products. The first will be for professional agricultural use only. The other product is for use against invasive weeds like Japanese Knotweed on industrial and amenity land which will not be grazed by any stock. The product previously on sale aimed at the non-professional market will not be on the market at the moment.
When will aminopyralid be back on sale?
The 2 approved products have approval for sale with immediate effect but Dow Agrosciences have clearly indicated they will not put the products back on sale until the new stewardship package has been implemented and training provided to suppliers and advisors. This return is likely to be phased in across the UK.
July 2012 Products containing aminopyralid are restricted to sales in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the South-West of England (Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset)
If I have existing product in stock can I use it up now?
No, as the new products will have different MAPP numbers which would make it illegal to use the old product. All product in distributor’s stores has been taken back but some may remain on farm. Arrangements are being made to take this back now and further details will be released in due course.
End of extract
8 October 2009
The following information from the CRD has been received by one of our visitors. It contains information that will be of interest to all gardeners. It was in response to the following question:
One point has come up in discussion with affected growers which concerns us as revealing a loophole in Dow's stewardship campaign. We are worried about the not inconsiderable quantities of this product still in the possession of people such as stable owners and others. It is likely that its use will be resumed for spot removal of weeds in paddocks etc with the result that manure supplied to allotments and gardens will continue to suffer contamination. Has consideration been given to these residual stocks and a way of ensuring that they are not used?
The response was:
Thank you for your email.
The only aminopyralid products which may now legally be used are the two products for which approval has recently been granted; these are Forefront with approval number 14701 and Mileway with approval number 14702. Any aminopyralid product with any other approval number may now only be stored for disposal and may not be used; anyone using these 'old' products will be doing so illegally and will be subject to appropriate enforcement should they be discovered to be doing so.
I understand that Dow have taken steps through their distributors to identify and recover unused stock and that they believe that only small amounts of the products now still remain in the hands of users.
It is certainly possible that stocks of manure containing aminopyralid residues from use in 2007 and 2008 might still be available so you will, I'm sure, accept that, even with Dow's stewardship programme, anyone now obtaining manure for their garden or allotment will need to assure themselves that the manure is suitable for their needs, and not only in respect of herbicide residues such as aminopyralid, but also any other 'contaminants' such as veterinary medicine residues that they would not want.
We will, of course, continue to monitor this issue so if you do come across evidence that things are not working as anticipated - whether this is stocks of manure containing aminopyralid reaching allotments and gardens, or the incorrect or illegal use of aminopyralid products - do please let both us and Dow know.
I hope this answers your questions but if you would like clarification or further information on any point, please let us know.
Additional information from the poser of the question:
I could also add a warning that straw mixed with manure could also contain residues of disinfectant - apparently I am told that some allotment holders used to get straw-based manure from a slaughterhouse until it started to distort crops. That followed new disinfecting regulations on slaughterhouses following the BSE scare.
Following an epetition
5 June 2009 Extract from - Minutes of the 337th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) held on 12 May 2009
5. Agenda Item 5: Applications for the use of ‘Forefront’ and ‘Runway’ (now known as ‘Mileway’) water in oil emulsion formulations containing 30 g/l aminopyralid and 100 g/l fluroxypyr, as an agricultural herbicide and horticultural/industrial herbicide on grassland and amenity grassland [ACP 7 (337/2009)]
5.1 Members considered the applications for the re-instatement of approvals for products containing aminopyralid.
5.2 Members agreed that the applicant had taken all reasonable steps to manage manure contaminated with residues, through the proposed stewardship campaign, training and monitoring. However, there was some concern about the practicalities of the programme which would need to be addressed and closely monitored as part of the stewardship programme.
5.3 Members noted that aminopyralid was persistent in ground water, and that further confirmation of the effect of irrigating vulnerable crops from ground water sources was required.
5.4 Members were also concerned that approval in Europe could result in UK stewardship measures being by-passed. Further information was requested from the applicant about the level of approval and stewardship requirements across the EU
5.5 Subject to satisfactory resolution of these outstanding questions, members were minded to advise Ministers to re-instate approvals.
21 July 2009 Extract from - Minutes of the 338th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) held on 30 June 2009
3. Agenda Item 3: Matters arising
3.1 (a) Aminopyralid [ACP 12 (338/2009)]
3.1.1 Members considered further information requested following discussions at the 337th Meeting on 12 May 2009.
3.1.2 After consideration of this information, the ACP advised that approvals could be reinstated subject to the rigorous conditions of the stewardship scheme which would stop the supply of manure containing residues and provide testing advice and equipment, as well as a removal service for any remaining manure containing residues on allotments or gardens.
3.1.3 The Committee noted email correspondence from allotment holders received prior to the Meeting, and discussed methods of providing information and reassurance. It was agreed that the ACP would produce a press release in addition to any action by CRD if their advice is accepted by Ministers.
6 October 2009 Extract from - Minutes of the 339th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) held on 15 September 2009
Aminopyralid Letter to Allotment Holders ACP 12 (339/2009)
Aminopyralid Correspondence ACP 18 (339/2009)
Minutes have very little mention of aminopyralid other than
Agenda Item 2: Secretary’s report.
2.1 The Secretary to the Committee reported on the recommendations made at previous meetings. Members heard that Ministers were considering advice given at the last Meeting on aminopyralid.
11. Any Other Business
11.1 The Committee considered the items for information received since the last meeting.
It would seem that the matter is now in the hands of government ministers
Proposed New Stewardship
Main points of the stewardship proposal
Questions raised with the CRD
The following responses were received in my email to the CRD sent on 8 October 2009.My questions are in green and the CRD response is in black.
Start of email:
Thank you for your email. I've tried to address in turn each of the points you raise (for ease of reading, I've taken the liberty of numbering these). I hope they make sense.
You will probably also be interested in the evaluation document on aminopyralid which should be available on our website in the next few days or so, and which provides a lot more information about all aspects of the aminopyralid issue.
I hope this answers your questions but if you would like clarification or further information on any point, please let me know.
1. It is not surprising that less cases of contamination have been reported this year for various reasons. One being the suspension of use of the chemical, another being that gardeners in 'the know' are avoiding using manure and those who are still unaware of the problem are probably as usual putting any problems down to poor weather, or poor cultivation.
The point about fewer cases of contamination being reported this year is that it indicates that the situation is not getting worse (and might even be improving) which suggests that some of the steps taken to try and deal with the problem - whether formal action by ourselves in suspending the products, Dow's own information campaign or all the work you have put in to raise awareness of the problem - have been effective. Yes, crop damage from contaminated manure has occurred this year but the number of reported incidents is lower than last year. If the problem was continuing to occur at the same rate then the heightened awareness this year should have resulted in an increase in reported incidents, not a reduction.
2. I am afraid that in spite of the assurances that an awareness campaign has been mounted there are many who are still in ignorance. Ordinary gardeners and allotments holders do not access those areas of the Internet where official information has been posted - many don't even have computers. As for the information leaflets - other than ones sent directly to me I have seen none.
The issue has also been aired in the gardening press (including to my specific knowledge, in the RHS "The Garden" magazine and in "Kitchen Garden" magazine), and on the BBC's "Gardeners' Question Time". The RHS, the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, and the Allotment Regeneration Initiative have also made wide use of the aminopyralid information cards, particularly at gardening shows and exhibitions. No information/awareness campaign can realistically expect to reach every single person who might possibly be affected by a particular issue, especially if such a campaign is being run on a limited budget. The "law of diminishing returns" starts to apply and reaching the next segment of the target audience requires many more resources than were required to reach the previous segment.
3. Information supporting reinstatement cites the fact that certain weeds are dangerous to livestock and that AP protects livestock by effectively removing the weeds. If this is a reason for reinstatement then I am surprised that it is not available for use in fields browsed by horse. I understand that there are other products on the market that control weeds such as ragwort, the difference being that these are not as persistent and so require more applications than AP products. It is the persistence of AP and its efficacy that creates the problem. Persistent weedkillers are more likely to cause damage outside of the area being protected.
Aminopyralid is very effective at controlling weeds in grass and would, indeed, be useful to horse owners. However, horse owners and stables are likely to have fewer ways of disposing of any manure than farmers, so there would also be an increased risk of manure containing aminopyralid being made available to gardeners and allotment users, and this is the last thing anyone wants. On balance, therefore, it is better to restrict use to those situations where greatest control can be applied.
4. You indicate that extensive training will be given to ensure that people understand the implications of using aminopyralid and also that it will not be available to use on fields browsed by horse or for silage/haylage etc. Have you considered that there will be products that were stored after the suspension which will be used without considering new requirements. News will travel by word of mouth rather than by reference to official notifications. This may well be illegal but culprits would need to be caught and misuse proved - I understand that in spite of some cases where the misuse of AP has been proven no prosecutions have resulted.
I understand that Dow have gone to some effort to trace and recover stocks of the old aminopyralid products held by users and believe that only small amounts of those products now still remain in the hands of users.
It is quite important to differentiate between the use of aminopyralid (in other words, the spraying of the pesticide) with the inappropriate disposal of any manure which contains aminopyralid residues. We are not aware of any cases where aminopyralid has been applied to grass incorrectly; we are aware of many cases where manure containing aminopyralid has been supplied inappropriately to gardeners and allotment users with the results with which you are familiar. But, as you will know from my previous emails, the disposal of manure from farms and stables is not particularly well regulated (nor is it something that we have the power to regulate) which makes it very difficult to provide effective enforcement.
5. I apologise for a certain amount of scepticism but being trained to use a product doesn't ensure that trainees use correct methods after training. For example once an individual passes a driving test many will drive illegally. If people feel they get 'get away' with cutting corners then they inevitably will. It will remain extremely difficult to prove misuse.
The training is part of Dow's stewardship programme so this is probably something you should take up with them.
6. I also am concerned that too much reliance will be placed on the suggested bio-assay test. This can at best show AP residue is present it cannot prove the opposite as there are too many possible variables such as timing, and where test samples are taken from. A pile of manure may be only partially affected.
The bioassay test might not provide a definitive answer but given that the only alternative at the moment is an expensive, technically complex analysis process which also might not provide a definitive answer, the bioassay does at least provide an indication of the state of soil or manure which would appear to be better than nothing. You are, of course, correct in saying that it cannot prove that aminopyralid is not present, but it should, hopefully, stop someone from sowing or planting in soil which definitely won't support a crop and that would seem to be a fairly useful result.
7. As for which crops are sensitive - I understand that sensitivity is dose dependent and where larger quantities of residue are present plants which are not considered to be sensitive may succumb.
This also means that the same crop being grown on two different allotments might well be affected to different degrees.
8. A new concern that I have is regarding the information that an AP product is going to be available for use on amenity properties. The examples cited as suitable for application of an aminopyralid product are the very types of environment that currently support a whole array of indigenous species - what effect will this product have on our wild plants? Has this been considered?
The use of any herbicide on an area which supports a range of plant (and animal) species is likely to result in a loss of biodiversity since the herbicide will be being used to control one or more groups of plants - grass weeds, broad-leafed weeds, etc, but this is not a specific aminopyralid issue but a much broader question about the use of herbicides in general.
Questions Raised with DOW
Re Manure Matters website:
After reading the section for manure suppliers on the ManureMatters website a couple of statements made me wonder so I put a couple of questions to DOW.
Firstly the response to the question;
Can we accept manure from treated paddocks? was:
Twelve months after treatment, manure generated from animals grazing fields or eating forage that has been cut from them, is considered aminopyralid-free. Manure with suspected aminopyralid residue can still be used to fertilise grassland and fields used to grow cereals and maize. However, it should not, under any circumstance, be supplied to farmers growing sensitive crops such as potatoes or sugar beet nor to gardeners and allotment holders
My query to DOW was:
There was only mention of animals grazing and not that aminopyralid could have been used on bedding material.
DOWs response was;
The most commonly used bedding material for UK livestock is straw derived from cereal crops such as barley or wheat. No products containing aminopyralid have been developed for use on cereal crops grown in the UK. No products containing aminopyralid have ever been approved for use on cereal crops grown in the UK. Therefore, no cereal crops grown in the UK should have residues of aminopyralid derived from direct application to those crops.
If manure generated by livestock fed on forage from pasture treated with aminopyralid is applied to land prior to establishing a cereal crop, the straw from that cereal crop will not contain residues of aminopyralid in sufficient quantities to cause problems to sensitive crops. If the suspension of the approval of products containing aminopyralid is lifted, the new product label will not allow application of manure that may contain residues of aminopyralid to crops other than grassland, thereby removing this concern.
Secondly the response to the question;
How can we tell if there is any aminopyralid in the manure? was
Dow AgroSciences has developed a test to check whether manure or compost contains residues of aminopyralid. (See "What can I do" in the panel on the right).
(The test in the panel is the now well known broad bean test).
My query to DOW was:
Isn't it a bit dodgy advising manure suppliers that if they run the test DOW recommend then the manure is safe?
DOWs response was:
This manure test has been put in place as a simple procedure for manure suppliers to check whether residues of aminopyralid might be present in their stocks of manure. A positive result would obviously indicate that the manure should not, under any circumstances, be supplied to gardeners or allotment-holders. A negative result does not guarantee the suitability of the tested batch of manure for use in gardens or allotments, but could be used as additional information when trying to establish the provenance of that manure.
Questions about the source of the manure, and forage within the manure, should always be asked in conjunction with carrying out the test. The test alone should not be relied upon to guarantee the provenance of manure supplies. Gardeners and allotment-holders must always satisfy themselves, as much as possible, as to the suitability of the manure they are planning to use.
Letter to Hilary Benn from the Director of the Soil Association
20 August 2009
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
House of Commons
I was distressed to hear that after causing so many problems to people growing their own food, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) is recommending the reinstatement of the hormone weed killer Aminopyralid. This is despite the fact that the pesticide is still causing a wide range of crops to fail after its last permitted use in early 2008.
This herbicide has not been reformulated, nor made safer in any other way. There is no evidence to show that the ‘stewardship’ proposals made by the company producing the pesticide, Dow AgroSciences, will work. The proposals (for example only selling the product in large containers to make it ‘too expensive for casual use’) provide no guarantee that further damage can be prevented. Indeed, you already know that this approach does not work as there were already guidelines in place to attempt to prevent the use of manure from land treated with the pesticide from being used for vegetable growing, which did not stop the previous, serious contamination incidents from occurring.
You recently published documents as part of your consultation on food security which discussed the importance of the general public becoming involved in growing their own food. The contamination of crops by Aminopyralid has caused high levels of disillusionment and anxiety amongst people growing their own produce, which may discourage them from doing so in the future. The strength of feeling on this issue can be gauged by the many examples of problems caused by the pesticide available on the Internet (for example by the Green Lane allotments), and by the petition which has already gathered over 2,000 signatures. Commercial growers have also reported difficulties. If the use of this dangerous chemical is allowed, it could cause damage for wider food security.
Concerned allotment holders, along with members of the ACP have also drawn attention to the fact that the pesticide is persistent in ground water which could cause problems if vulnerable crops are irrigated with contaminated water.
Unless you are advised that you can be certain that no further contamination of home-grown food is possible, I urge you to reject the ACP’s conclusions, and ensure that this herbicide remains off the market.
Due to the high level of public interest in this issue I am making this letter available to the press.