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

May 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 find out what the team have been up to recently.

Senior Plant Health Adviser, Emma Hamer, said "I have been pretty involved with flying the flag for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) over the last few months. I met with staff at AHDB staff to discuss how they are driving forward R&D in the IPM area and most projects they fund now have an element of IPM. This is all the more important now as we continue to lose important active ingredients, we need solutions on how to manage pests, weeds and diseases in our crops. I am also ensuring that the Voluntary Initiative makes IPM a key strategy going forward. This is particularly important in the light of PAN and RSPB making a public withdrawal from the VI.

"I have started a series of meetings with non-farming audiences, to raise awareness of how growers produce food and why we use pesticides. As well as speaking to NFU members at branch meetings, I have several opportunities to speak to Womens’ Institutes. The audiences are keen to hear details of the work of the NFU and issues that we are involved with. The talks generate questions on bees, glyphosate, plastic packaging, Red Tractor and how farmers learn to farm! There was a huge amount of support for farmers and a generous donation was given to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. Several more of these talks are planned for 2019."

IN BRIEF: • Helen, Chris and Environment Forum Chair Phil Jarvis met with Defra Chief Scientist Prof Ian Boyd • Chris was also busy making representations to both UK and EU institutions ahead of a vote on the future of CIPC at an EU Appeals Committee • Tom attended the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on trailer and towing safety • Tammie organised a meeting between the NFU, AHDB and Food & Drink Sector Council to discuss how to better coordinate communications on workforce and skills activity • Ian attended a meeting of the English, Welsh & Scottish Farm Safety Partnerships to harmonise work on farm safety across Britain

Click here to meet the team and find out who does what

QUIZ: According to a report on the BBC's Breakfast show this morning (3 May), how many scientific studies attest to the safety of glyphosate?

A: 8
B: 80
C: 800

Scroll to the bottom for the correct answer...

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency continues to find there are ‘no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen’ - read more and find out what you can do to help minimise glyphosate resistance in the UK.


The HSE has announced it will be carrying out livestock inspections around the country to remind farmers of their duty to protect themselves, their workers and the public from the risks connected with livestock – find out more about the inspections and what you can do to prepare.

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NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Adviser, Emily Roads, looks at the importance of engaging with your local MP on the vital issue of labour – contact your MP today and help us make a difference.

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The NFU has produced a guide as part of the Good Neighbour Initiative to help sprayer operators meet legal requirements and build good relationships with neighbours when using pesticides this season

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Read the latest NFU briefing on key labour market indicators and get the inside line on labour market conditions and the wider economic picture.

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Non-integrated work platforms can be useful for carrying out certain kinds of work at height on farm but they must be used with an appropriate vehicle to ensure the safety of those involved - keep yourself and others safe when working at height.

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Potato growers are being reminded to follow the best practice granular nematicide use protocol this spring to ensure products are used safely and effectively – brush up on the guidance and visit the Nematicide Stewardship Programme website.

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With potato planting just around the corner for many, the launch of the second granule nematicide training course module is set to help operators and growers refresh their knowledge on best practice use of nematicides – find out more and sign up.

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The NFU is looking to produce several member case studies highlighting the issues that shortage of labour can have on a dairy farm business - please get in touch if you can help.

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On 11 April, UK MEP Anthea McIntyre (West Mids, Cons), launched a report setting out an alternative vision for the future of EU Pesticide rules - read the main recomendations and access the full report.

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Crop Health & Protection (CHAP) is hosting a one-day event on 9 May to discuss the future of agricultural biosolutions - find out more and register.

Updated news articles

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Chlorothalonil, a highly effective multi-site fungicide used across the world for over 50 years, has been banned by the European Union and you can now get the maximum use-up date for products containing the active.

Meanwhile, an EU Appeals Committee voted on the future of chlorpropham – also known as CIPC – in April, but was unable to reach a decision - read more.

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The NFU has pulled together a list of agriculture-related courses on offer across England and Wales between April and June 2019, including an online farm business management course, a one-day emergency first aid at work course in the North East and a four-day course on DIY AI in the South West

Find the right course for you: Online CoursesNorth WestNorth EastWest MidlandsEast MidlandsSouth WestSouth EastEast AngliaWales

Quiz answer

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At the top of the newsletter, we asked you how many studies attest to the safety of glyphosate, according to a report on the BBC's Breakfast show this mroning (3 May)? The correct answer is C: 800 - get all the latest news on glyphosate from the dedicated section of the NFU website.

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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 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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