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  1. The ideal flower initiation conditions from 2017 combined with the warm spell of weather we have all been enjoying has resulted in the best crop set that has ever been seen in the expanding GB wine grape industry, and crops are growing well. Vines are generally well adapted to dry conditions with good root systems that scavenge out water and nutrients.

  2. As the slug pellet application season fast approaches, the agricultural industry is being reminded of the importance of implementing enhanced metaldehyde stewardship.

    Alison Hall, spokesperson for the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG), explains that while it was hoped that metaldehyde product re-registrations would come through ahead of the 2018 slug pelleting season, the process is still ongoing.

    “There’s still no decision, but we’ve been making a strong case to the authorities as to how stewardship is delivering environmental benefits.

    “Which means it’s more important than ever that agronomists, farmers and contractors advise upon and use the molluscicide responsibly this season,” she adds.

    There are four key stewardship steps to follow.  

    “Firstly, no pellets should be allowed to fall within a minimum of 10 metres of any field boundary or watercourse,” says Alison.

    “The buffer was historically six metres and it only applied to watercourses. However, increasing it to 10 metres of all field boundaries helps protect birds and small mammals, and provides additional protection to water,” she adds.  

    “Secondly, with the view of helping to minimise slug infestations and reduce the need for treatment, metaldehyde slug pellets must only be used as part of a wider Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.

    “Factors such as soil and stubble management, planting methods, weather, trapping and monitoring should all be considered as part of slug control programmes. And, if treatment is necessary, it’s imperative to refer to the full set of MSG guidelines,” she says.

    “Think ‘Soil, Slope and Stream’. Your field’s soil type, topography and proximity to a water course are all key to understanding whether metaldehyde applications could impact drinking water quality.

    “And, last but not least, stop and think ‘B.I.R.D’ before applying. This stands for Buffer, I’m legal, Records, and Dose.”

    More information

    More information on the enhanced stewardship can be found at


    About the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG):

    The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) formed in 2008 in response to metaldehyde being detected in catchments used for water abstraction.

    The ‘Get Pelletwise’ stewardship campaign was launched to promote and encouraging best practice with metaldehyde slug pellets, to minimise environmental impacts and in particular protect water.

    Due to increasing regulatory pressure, the stewardship campaign enhanced in 2017 to include steps to ensure maximum protection of birds and small mammals, as well as water.

    Metaldehyde slug pellets MUST only be used as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme to help minimise slug infestations and reduce the need for treatment.

    Enhanced metaldehyde stewardship guidelines apply to all treatments.

    • No pellets to be allowed to fall within a minimum of 10 metres of any field boundary or watercourse
    • Use minimum active per hectare to avoid drainage and run-off losses
    • Maximum application rate 210g metaldehyde a.s/ha* For additional protection of water, suppliers/BASIS advisors may recommend rates reduced to 160g a.s/ha or less*
    • Maximum total dose from 1st August to 31st December: 210g metaldehyde a.s/ha* For additional protection of water, suppliers/BASIS advisers may recommend rates reduced to 160g a.s/ha or less*
    • Maximum total dose rate: 700g metaldehyde a.s/ha/calendar year**
    • Do not apply when heavy rain is forecast
    • If drains are flowing do not apply metaldehyde based slug pellets

    *from any combination of metaldehyde products **700g is also the statutory limit a.s.: active substance (or active ingredient)

    The MSG represents 100% of the UK agricultural market for metaldehyde slug pellets and comprises the manufacturers; Adama Agricultural Solutions UK Ltd, Certis Europe B.V, Chiltern Farm Chemicals, De Sangosse, Lonza and Sharda Cropchem.

    Visit for more information.

  3. Hutchinsons Enhanced Light interception Orchard System (HELIOS) is a ground breaking 10-year project that consists of two trial orchards planted this spring, one in East Kent, the other in Herefordshire. The project sets out to explore the question of how orchard design can be Improved to capture more sunlight and increase yield, but balanced against establishment costs, and also mindful of future developments in mechanisation such as robotic picking and mechanical pruning.

  4. Vines are generally carrying moderate to good crops, assisted by the warm weather at the end of June. Following a very late start, vines have shot through growth stages, with growing degree days being 25% higher than the equivalent period last year, leading to an early flowering, which potentially allows a longer period for fruit development. The implication of this is that it may be possible to ripen a larger crop than would otherwise be the case, but there is a long way to go, and the immediate concern this month is to start on canopy management and be vigilant against disease and pests.