UK pesticides authority the Chemicals Regulation Division has confirmed the imminent withdrawal of a number of key seed treatments widely used by UK vegetable growers.

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Syngenta says the withdrawal conditions mean that the sale and open field sowing of any seed treated with metalaxyl-M products (including the company’s Wakil XL, Maxim XL and Vibrance SB) must cease on June 30th 2021 in Great Britain and June 1st 2021 in Northern Ireland.

Produce from crops sown from seed treated with metalaxyl-M products according to respective label conditions and regulatory notice dates, may still be marketed this season.
The active has been a popular fungicide seed treatment for crops including peas and beans (Wakil XL) and sugar beet (Vibrance SB).

An amended authorisation for the metalaxyl-M seed treatment Apron XL for selected brassica crops will be retained, but with usage restricted to seed sown and raised under fully protected conditions, with a minimum of 21 days from sowing to planting out.

Syngenta says it has warned growers of the potential threat to metalaxyl-M availability at industry meetings earlier this year. But the CRD letters of withdrawal were issued just days before the decision came into effect in Northern Ireland – and after many growers had already made their cropping decisions for this season.

The withdrawal of metalaxyl-M as a seed treatment will put further onus and pressure on foliar fungicide programmes to control early disease infections, warns Syngenta. It says there are limited alternative seed treatments available for vegetable growers of some crops, such as Maxim 480S based on the fludioxonil active ingredient.

Syngenta advises that grower associations may now wish to consider emergency use applications to CRD to gain access to the withdrawn metalaxyl-M products.

Full details of the amended authorisation for Apron XL and the withdrawal of other seed treatments will be available on the CRD website.