Farmers in the Severn Trent region have only got until 15 September 2019 to sign up to receive rewards of up to £5/ha for reducing metaldehyde levels in watercourses.
Laura Flower, Severn Trent catchment management scientist, explains that this year’s Farm to Tap scheme is maybe the last chance for farmers to receive funding for reducing metaldehyde, as it will potentially be withdrawn from use in December 2021.
“It’s essential for us to work in collaboration with farmers in the pesticide’s last few seasons of use, as it’s still a challenge to drinking water quality. It’s far easier and more cost effective to prevent metaldehyde reaching water at source than it is to remove at treatment works,” she says.
“For individual catchments with no exceedances over the drinking water standard of 0.1ppb during the testing period, we’re also offering a £100 bonus to each farm that signs up.
“In addition to the financial support Severn Trent is offering, farmers participating in Farm to Tap can talk to a local agricultural adviser, who can provide advice and resources bespoke to the individual farm,” says Laura.
Although the future of metaldehyde is short, Severn Trent is committed to working in partnership with farmers to extend the Farm to Tap scheme beyond 2019, by turning its focus towards OSR herbicides which can also impact water quality.