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Industry News – Amenity Forum Question Time at Saltex 2014
The Spray CDA team have had a busy couple of weeks with 2 of the largest trade shows Saltex and Four Oaks running simultaneously which has given us a great opportunity to catch up with customers and industry colleagues. Whilst at Saltex Vicki Wall went along to the Amenity Forum open panel debate on the Control of Weeds, Pests and Diseases. These events are now a regular fixture on the Saltex Education Program and it’s good to see the pesticides industry having a continued strong presence across this varied industry. The session was chaired by John Moverley the Amenity Forum Chair and the panellists were Paul Singleton of Basis, Nick Von Westenholz of the Crop Protection Association, Will Kay of Languard, a large national vegetation management contractor and Leo de Montaigna of Foamstream who produce chemical free methods of weed control so the panel had a good cross section of the industry stretching from regulation to application and innovation.
Prior to the debate there had been chance to post questions to the group which formed the basis for debate. The questions ranged from how to best police the amenity sector and did the panel think that all pesticides could be banned through public pressure to a discussion on what exactly constitutes an Integrated Approach and how to best inform and educate the public on what amenity pesticide use actually entails and why it is important. The group were unanimous on their replies for the majority of questions and proved yet again that when it comes to best practice the majority of us are singing from the same songsheet.
The group had an interesting discussion on what constitutes integrated management, it was the feeling of the panel that a lot could be gained from increased communication within Local Authorities to co-ordinate cleansing. There is perhaps a misperception that integrated management means the eradication of pesticide use where in reality it is one of a number of essential parts of the management arsenal. Well timed herbicide application in conjunction with a good street cleansing program could significantly reduce the requirement for additional herbicide applications saving time and resources so it could be argued that the most effective tool of all is good communication. Used correctly there will always be a need for pesticides as often spraying is the most cost effective and practical option however we should not be scared to investigate and incorporate new technology into our management plans. These integrated approaches can be aided greatly by using low volume technologies such as the Spray CDA Easyspray PKS unit which allows weed control operations to be fully integrated into street sweeping. CDA technology allows for reduced water and chemical inputs which in turn gives significant cost savings and helps to demonstrate an integrated approach to weed control through pesticide minimisation.
One key theme which ran through the debate is the need for increased emphasis on training and continual development as well as a need to educate the public on what is involved in weed control. Training with any method of weed control equipment is essential to ensure that chemical is being applied accurately and in a timely fashion. Training in application techniques and basic weed identification along with advice from a BASIS qualified advisor allows sprayer operators to accurately identify the weed issues and select an appropriate herbicide at the correct rate; all of this couple with efficient, modern application equipment can help significantly reduce the amount of pesticide applied.
Finally John Moverley posed the panel one final question each; in an ideal world what would you change about the industry as it stands?
Paul Singleton of BASIS wanted to see full implementations of the rules that are there already with better compliance and policing. Will Kay of Languard hoped for better public education and less scare tactics when it came to the use of pesticides in public places. Leo de Montaigna of Foamstream who supply a hot foam and steam method of weed control wished to see more money for research into alternative technologies to drive this sector of the industry forwards. Finally Nick von Westenholz of the Crop Protection Association echoed Will’s wish to see more emphasis on evidence and facts rather than opinion and conjecture.
In summary the debate could have quite happily gone on for another hour and many of the issues raised are ones we all come across regularly, I don’t think many people would argue against the need for training, raising standards and better communication.
The Amenity Forum will be holding its Annual Conference on October 16th at Leicester City Football Club where Spray CDA will be one of the Sponsors, come along and have a chat with us about how you can reduce pesticide use and save money.