A POPULAR insecticide is the latest in potato growers' armoury against pests and diseases to be banned by the EU.

Ethoprophos – the active substance in Certis' Mocap 15G product – is an important part of arable farmers' crop protection toolkit, especially against wireworm and its loss will seriously affect the ability to fight pests, the NFU in England has said.

The decision to ban ethoprophos was made at a recent meeting of the standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed after the European Commission had put forward the draft regulation for a vote. The published position gives a maximum date of until September 21, 2019, to sell or distribute existing stocks of product and a maximum use up date for products of March 21, 2020.

EU member states can set their withdrawal dates within these boundaries but the UK has yet to publish its withdrawal notice for Mocap 15G.

Nick Badger, the potato product manager at Certis, said: “In early March, the European Commission published its final report confirming the non-renewal of our granular insecticide and nematicide Mocap (ethoprophos). We were disappointed to hear their decision, as we know how important wireworm control is for farmers as alternative options do not have the same level of control.

"However, we would like to assure growers that the 2019 planting season remains unaffected. As for the 2020 planting season, we are evaluating all the options and will communicate next steps in due course.”