An insight into agricultural science, regulation and our work on behalf of our members.

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An eclectic mix of plant health, farm safety, transport, skills, employment and science news and all the latest from the NFU's Science & Regulatory Affairs team



October 2019

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Welcome to Technically Speaking - the newsletter from the NFU's Science & Regulatory Affairs team! Click on one of the top stories above, scroll down for more articles or read on to get a flavour of what the team has been up to recently.

This Month • Welcome to the Team! This month, the Science and Regulatory Affairs Team have welcomed two new colleagues: Rachel Chambers has joined as the Skills and Employment Adviser after working in the NFU Specialist Advice Team in Business Services. Alison Taylor has joined as an Assistant Adviser after finishing a PhD in Materials Chemistry • Tom has been preparing for the Autumn Safety Focus, which will be on Working at Height. He has also attended an on-farm safety event in Truro, which attracted 50+ farmers and facilitated discussion on machinery safety • Helen has attended a meeting about Defra's future R&D investment, which will focus on climate change, genetic improvement and integrated farm management. She also chaired a meeting of the Agrimetrics Advisory Committee • Emma attended a field walk at NFU Potato Forum chairman Alex Godfrey’s farm to evaluate the AHDB potato desiccation trials. She also met with other stakeholders in the potato industry (AHDB, PPA, FPSA and breeders) to discuss issues facing potato growers in the wake of the loss of some key potato actives. • Chris has been representing EU farmers as part of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stakeholder consultative group, which is supporting EFSA’s current review of the bee guidance document. He also attended Government’s Plant Health Advisory Forum for the latest on EU Exit planning, plant health horizon scanning, and new Xylella biosecurity proposals to restrict Olive trees.

To help members meet crop protection challenges, the NFU has developed a new long-term and sustainable Plant Health Strategy and Roadmap. NFU Senior Regulatory Affairs Adviser Dr Chris Hartfield explains.

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Under the Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation (RTFO) the UK is committed to meet volume targets for renewable fuels in the UK supply chain. Click here to read our key points on keeping your red diesel in good condition.


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The NFU hosted representatives from more than 40 farming and rural charities at a summit highlighting the challenges farmers face in the current political climate.

The event, held at NFU HQ in Stoneleigh, saw delegates discuss the potential impacts on farmers and their businesses of exiting the EU - with or without a deal.

If your farm or nursery enterprise uses professional pesticides to produce crops, ornamentals, fodder or feed including grassland and pasture, it’s time to fill in your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan.

NFU farm safety and transport adviser Thomas Price gives an update on trailer MOTs and news of roadside inspections by DVSA.

Data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has shown that across all sectors, new workers are at the highest risk of injury or incident, in particular young workers and workers who are new to the UK.

With agriculture, fishing and forestry being the industry sector with the highest risk of injury and fatal accidents, we have put together a guide on reducing the risk to new workers including advice from the HSE.


This article is accessible to NFU members only - you will be asked to log in.

How to log in: Use your membership number or the email address associated with your membership to log in. If you've forgotten your password, you can click here to reset it or contact NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.

On the 14th of December 2019 the new EU Plant Health Regulation will come into force. This Regulation will require all plants being moved within the EU to have a plant passport and any plants being imported into the EU to have a phytosanitary certificate.

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Leading Canadian technology company Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) has received approval for its first active ingredient for application via bee vectoring. VECTORITETM contains the active Clonostachys rosea CR-7 - an antagonistic fungal biocontrol - for use as a fungicide on a range of crops including strawberries, sunflowers, apples and tomatoes.

Staying safe on farm is all about prevention. Farmers need to be aware of the risks in their place of work and know how they can minimise or remove that risk. Our guide provides information on the law, guidance from the HSE and practical advice from NFU experts which will help you, your family and your staff stay safe in the workplace.

This is your last chance to complete a short survey to help shape the future management of landscapes for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Applications have opened for the latest round of funding from the Transforming Food Production Challenge for the development of future food production systems.

On the 14th December 2019 the new Plant Health Regulation will be implemented. This will require significant changes to the plant passporting of some horticultural products intended for planting, with an aim to increase biosecurity and protection from plant pests.

BASIS (Registration) Ltd and The Allerton Project with GWCT have come together to provide a new training course for environmental management advisors.

The Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) is holding a free-to-enter event in York on 16 October 2019 to share updates on its work over the past year.

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Defra has launched an online survey as part of its review of general licences to manage wild birds in England.

We have provided our latest guidance and resources as well as a round up of the NFU's work on this issue to date.

The Board of Trustees is accountable for the overall management and direction of BASIS Registration, an independent organisation setting professional standards for training in the areas of crop protection, crop nutrition and professional pest control.

A PhD student at the University of Sheffield is looking for arable farmers to take part in discussions as part of research into perceptions of soil health.

BeeConnected is a simple and effective tool that allows farmers to inform local beekeepers of their intention to apply an insecticide.

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National news from NFU HQ is an email service offered to all NFU members and staff only. For more information on anything you have read, please visit www.nfuonline.com or call NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458. Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy neither the NFU nor the author can accept liability for errors and omissions.

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