UK herb growers will be able to protect their crops with a new weed control product approved in record time, following successful trials as part of a £1.4 million crop protection project.
Within the first year of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) SCEPTREplus project, a new product - Centurion Max - has now been approved for the market.
To achieve approval so quickly, the team used intelligence from other EU countries; collaborating closely with other manufacturers and growers, to ensure trials on control products fulfil market needs and are likely to gain authorisation for use.
Claire Donkin, chairwoman of British Herb Growers, said: “Weed control is the number one concern for most herb growers.
With recent withdrawals of products, and the fact that herbs are a sensitive crop, we are left with a limited choice of products to use.
"Innovative projects like SCEPTREplus are important to give us continued access to products as part of our integrated weed management programmes. Centurion Max will be particularly useful in the control of annual meadow grass.”
Bolette Palle Neve, an AHDB crop protection scientist, said: “We wanted to quickly get growers access to a product that will have a real impact for their businesses.
"We found out that Centurion Max was approved for use in Poland and included the product in our herb trials, to check crop safety for UK growers. When the product showed promise, we were able to replicate approvals gained by our European counterparts - so growers can now use it to protect their herbs.”
The SCEPTREplus trials may have also identified another plant protection product, which showed great potential and could give growers another herbicide in the next year - while supporting residues data is collected by AHDB.
Angela Huckle, a researcher at ADAS who conducted the trials, said: “As part of the SCEPTREplus trials, Centurion Max was screened for crop safety for selected herb species. In the pot trial, it was seen to be safe to use for coriander and dill - as well as parsley at a reduced rate.”
Centurion Max already has an on-label approval for oilseed rape and sugar beet. AHDB worked closely with Arysta to generate an EAMU for Brassicas, legumes, carrots and onions in 2016, and has also recently delivered an approval for soft fruit and root vegetable crops too.
Don Pendergrast, product development manager at Arysta, said: “SCEPTREplus as an initiative benefits the whole agronomy sector, the collaborative approach allows specialist growers access to crop protection solutions that financially would be difficult to build a business case for without industry collaboration.
Centurion Max will benefit herb growers as Clethodim – the active ingredient – can be used to effectively control troublesome annual and perennial grasses. In particular, this ingredient can still offer control of black-grass that is resistant to other graminicides, used to control weedy grasses.”
The product has been approved for use through the Chemical Regulations Division of the Health and Safety Executive.
The priorities for the second year of the trial are due to be finalised later this month.