Pesticide Use on EFA’s

It now looks likely that pesticides will be banned on Greening EFA areas for the 2018 year onwards. We have written previously about the ‘simplification’ of the CAP and especially the
rules on Greening. One of the changes proposed for the 2018 BPS year was a prohibition on using plant protection products (PPP) on any of the in-field EFA options, fallow, catch & cover crops, and nitrogen-fixing crops.

A vote by the full Parliament has accepted theproposals and they now seem likely to progress to the rule book. Those planning their cropping for 2018 should now assume that it will not be possible to use plant protection products (PPP) on EFA land next year. This is, of course, particularly relevant to Nitrogen Fixing Crops (NFC) where many farmers have used their bean or pea areas to meet EFA Greening. It is unlikely that producers will want to grow these crops without using PPP. The precise rules are not yet known, especially on issues around the period when a ban might apply – e.g. from planting to harvest, or a defined ‘cropping period’? But it would be dangerous to assume there would be any ‘loopholes’ that could allow PPP to be used. Aside from NFC, this is also an issue for the management of fallow land being counted towards EFA. Up until now it has been possible to spray this land during the fallow period to, for example, control weeds such as blackgrass. This will no longer be possible.