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26 July 2018

40% of farmers still consider permanent rodenticide baiting essential

In a recent survey conducted by CRRU UK, permanent rodenticide baiting is still considered essential by more than 1-in-3 farmers - contrary to stewardship guidelines.

The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) with the support of the National Farmers Union (NFU) had 117 responses from farm owners and managers.

The primary concern, according to stewardship spokesman and CRRU chairman Dr Alan Buckle, is that permanent rodenticide baiting is still considered essential by a third of farmers.

Farmers were asked is rodenticide baiting essential 

As an incentive to take part, the survey included a prize draw to win a professional brushcutter - making the point that rat control should begin with keeping a tidy farmstead.

The results tell that just over 60% of farmers get this in theory, although arithmetically this means nearly 40% don't. Half of the participants scored their own farm's tidiness a mediocre five, six or seven out of ten.

The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU)

Impact on professional rodenticide usage

The Government panel that oversees the stewardship regime said earlier this year that its scrutiny "will focus on the extent of any behavioural change among those operating in the sector and the measurable effect this has on residue levels in non-target animals."

Compelling evidence of professional rodenticides being used without unacceptable effects on the environment means these products could remain available as they are today. However, without such evidence, we should anticipate further restrictions on where rodenticides can be used, and by whom. Clearly, a significant share of responsibility for which way this goes is in farmers' own hands.

Dr Alan Buckle, CRRU Chairman

In the survey, farmers were asked about increased rodenticide controls if stewardship was unsucessessful. 

Rodenticides in the future

When asked the posed with the hypothetical statement "high potency rodenticides might be restricted in future to professional pest controllers only" 40% rated this "probable" and 43% "possible".

We've been hearing our members frustrations when they encounter poor practice by amateurs or inadequately trained users. Our members were well prepared for rodenticide stewardship and seem to have understood the risks of it failing. We all want to keep rodenticides on the shelf so we can protect public health, but for that to happen, farmers and pest controllers all need to pull their weight when it comes to our rodenticide stewardship requirements.

Natalie Bungay, BPCA Technical Officer

The brighter side of the survey 

In their press release, CRRU said, "on a positive note, about one-in-five report using rodenticides only once a year or not at all, and another one-in-four use them just twice to four times a year." 

How are farmers controlling rats

How are farmers controlling rats?
  • 79% poison baits
  • 58% denying access to food
  • 40% traps
  • 31% rat-proofed buildings
  • 31% terriers 
  • 31% shooting.

You can learn more about stewardship at thinkwildlife.org

Source: Online

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