Update on maize seed dressings

We have been contacted by some members regarding the use of seed dressing on maize seed and the forthcoming restrictions. From next year, the UK will prohibit the import of maize seed treated with widely-used chemicals from Europe. These treatments are designed to protect the seed from pests and diseases. These restrictions will likely impact the production of maize and in turn the production of biogas, and the associated decarbonisation of agriculture. We are aware that the NFU and the Maize Growers Association are working on this topic and we have various members in discussion with Defra and DES-NZ regarding emergency applications for the use of the seed treatments.

The UK imports all the maize seed from the EU. Due to climatic conditions it is not possible to produce the seeds in the UK. Almost all the seeds have been treated with three different chemicals: Redigo (fungicide); Korit (bird deterrent); Force (insecticide). These chemicals are not yet included on the UK’s pesticide register despite being licensed for use in the EU. There are currently no seed treatments licenced for application to maize or fodder beet in the UK. From the start of next year, farmers will not be able to import and use treated maize seeds which will have large implications on the yields of maize next year. In 2020 the area of maize being grown for AD in the UK was 75 thousand hectares. This equates to 34% of the total maize area in 2020 and 1.3% of the total arable area.

With thanks to Future Biogas for the above information. If you would like further information, please contact [email protected]