The European Commission has now officially published the regulations concerning the renewal of the desiccant diquat and has decided not to renew its approval, based on concerns previously raised by EFSA related to the risk of exposure from workers, bystanders, residents and birds. The Standing Committee (SCoPAFF) met on the 28th of September and reached a ‘no opinion’ position on the renewal of the active substance. This means that the Standing Committee’s recommendation for withdrawal was carried forward.
The European Commission has reported that “Member States shall withdraw authorisations for plant protection products containing diquat as active substance by 4 May 2019 at the latest. Any grace period granted by Member States shall be as short as possible and shall expire by 4 February 2020 at the latest.” Use up dates in the UK are decided by CRD and have to fall within this set EU time frame, in which diquat would be allowed to be sold until 4th May 2019 and used until 4th February 2020.
Ahead of the potential ban and to provide growers with more options, AHDB has initiated some demonstration trials investigating alternative desiccant solutions, at Somerby Top Farm (Spot North), as part of its Spot Farms programme. Thirteen treatments are being assessed for defoliation, stem bleaching and re-growth. For more information on the different treatments included in the trials, visit the AHDB Potatoes website.