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AICC CONFERENCE 2019 - Minette Batters, NFU President

AICC CONFERENCE 2019 - Minette Batters, NFU President

22 January 2019

Green farming policy will put IPM at the heart of crop production

Integrated pest management (IPM) will play increasing role in UK crop production post-Brexit and independent agronomists are leading the way in its implementation on farm.

Speaking at the recent Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) Conference near Towcester, NFU president Minette Batters warned delegates that 42% of farm businesses will be loss making if direct payments are lost after the UK leaves the EU.

Farm output will need to be raised by 10% or more to counter this effect, but Defra secretary Michael Gove’s focus to deliver a “Green Brexit”, with less emphasis on food production, could restrict the arable sector’s ability to do so.

Whatever final details of any future agricultural policy holds, increasing output will have to be done in an environmentally sensitive way, with IPM an integral part, according to Ms Batters.

IPM is a practice based on prevention, monitoring and control of damaging organisms using a range of cultural and biological methods, using of plant protection products only when absolutely necessary.

She added that influencing outside views on the use of these vital tools will be important, putting safe and responsible use at the forefront of public perception.

“I have been very keen that the cropping sector looks at what the livestock sector has done with RUMA, which has been about responsible use of medicines and antibiotics.

“This isn’t about using less [inputs], this is about us as an industry being transparent and having an evidence base [for use] and I think that will become more and more important,” said Ms Batters.

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