Pesticide losses come from both arable and grassland farms, with field losses through drain flow and run-off thought to account for 60% of losses - or more in arable areas. By following best practice guidance in the field you can reduce the risk of water pollution and the waste of crop protection product.
There are several things you can do when applying pesticides to protect watercourses:
Pesticide-specific advice is available in Water Protection Advice Sheets.
Grass buffer strips can reduce surface run-off losses of pesticide by at least half.
Grass buffer strips should be a minimum of 6m wide measured from the top of the watercourse bank. The wider, the better. Fields with slopes of more than 5% or with long runs to the field edge may need buffers of up to 20m or more. Get more guidance on establishing a grass buffer strip.
You could also consider planting a winter cover crop on land left fallow over winter, which can prevent pollutants reaching watercourses as well as reducing nitrate leaching and soil erosion.
© NFU 2018