UK neonicotinoid ban invites spread of deadly virus yellows disease, sugar beet farmers warn

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Image: Dan Chung/Guardian
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When I was elected to the role of NFU Sugar vice-chairman, it was foremost in my mind that every grower’s business is different and that, when representing growers, we can only try to achieve what is in the best interests of the majority.

[An] issue that will make it difficult for sugar beet to compete against other crops on some farms is the ban on neonicotinoids.

[Editor’s note: Simon Smith is vice-chairman of the NFU Sugar Board in the UK.]

We worked very closely with British Sugar and the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) to put in a strong case to [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] for an emergency use authorization for the use of neonicotinoids on the 2019 crop. Understandably, we were disappointed by the UK government’s decision to reject our application.

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There are serious concerns within the industry that there is no viable solution currently available to protect the crop from the threat of virus yellows disease. The potential yield loss is significant if virus transmission is not controlled.

Read full, original article: East Anglia’s sugar industry must overcome mounting challenges, says leading beet grower

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