Many of the slug pellets commonly used by farmers at this time of year contain the active ingredient metaldehyde, which, in heavy rainfall can run off farmland and flow through field drains into watercourses.
To help improve raw water quality in its Cheshire and North Wales drinking water catchment areas United Utilities is encouraging farmers to use an alternative type of slug pellet which is easier to treat.
More can be done
Kate Snow from United Utilities explained: “Good progress has been made in recent years to reduce the amount of metaldehyde getting into to watercourses but more can still be done.
“Ferric phosphate pellets are just as effective as metaldehyde pellets, and easier to treat, which is why we’re hoping more farmers will use them by offering 50% off the price.
“And if farmers have already bought metaldehyde pellets it’s not too late, we can help them make the switch at no extra cost.
“By controlling the amount of pesticides flowing into raw water we can reduce the need for costly treatment processes which is better for the environment and better value for our customers,” she added.
According to the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group, farmers should consult a qualified agronomist to ensure that pellet treatment is justified. It also recommends considering wider slug control factors and adopting an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach which includes factors such as soil and stubble management, planting methods, weather, trapping and monitoring. More information for farmers about metaldehyde stewardship and IPM for slug control is provided at www.getpelletwise.co.uk.
Find out if you’re eligible
· River Dee area contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
· River Dane area contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Llangollen Canal area contact: email@example.com