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The Farmers Community

'By providing effective pest control solutions we can protect your business from multiple pest threats: Rats and mice are known to cause great damage to farm buildings and equipment. On top of the danger of disease, rodents also pose a fire hazard due to their ability to chew through electrical wiring and cables.Rodent control on UK farms has changed From 1 October, only rodenticide products with new and legally binding 'stewardship conditions' labels, arising from a compulsory re-authorisation process, will be available for professional use by farmers.

The supply of these products (also to gamekeepers and professional pest controllers) is now governed by the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime. At the point of sale, this requires purchasers to show approved documentation - details below - that demonstrates proof of competence in the use of rodenticides before being allowed to buy. Reporting to HSE, the regime is being implemented by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use UK (CRRU).

Effective rodent control is essential in the UK on all farming enterprises, but the way we do it is undergoing a revolution, according to Dr Alan Buckle, chairman CRRU.

"From 1st October 2016, everyone who wants to buy professional packs of rodenticides to be used outdoors will need to show either an approved certificate of competence or a document showing membership of an approved farm assurance scheme," he says. "This cornerstone of stewardship applies via all suppliers including internet."
Membership of approved assurance schemes is currently valid for rodenticide purchases until 31 December 2017.Between now and then, each scheme will be reviewed for consistency with the CRRU Code of Best Practice.

Those confirmed to be aligned with this will continue to provide certification from 01 January 2018. Otherwise, members of non-aligned schemes will then need to show a CRRU-approved training certificate.

Dr Buckle says this all comes about because rodent control practice has resulted in widespread contamination of UK wildlife with poisons, mainly anticoagulants, contained in rat baits. An updated list of List of approved assurance schemes can be found here.

"If we are to reduce residues in wildlife, the way we use rodenticides, especially when outdoors, must change," Dr Buckle continues.

"For many years it was thought best practice to set out bait points on farms and keep them permanently topped up with rodenticide. However, we now believe this practice is responsible, at least in part, for the contamination of wildlife that we now see UK-wide.

"Some birds of prey - barn owls and kestrels, for example - feed almost exclusively on wild small mammals, no Between now and then, each scheme will be reviewed for consistency with the CRRU Code of Best Practice.

Those confirmed to be aligned with this will continue to provide certification from 01 January 2018. Otherwise, members of non-aligned schemes will then need to show a CRRU-approved training certificate.

Dr Buckle says this all comes about because rodent control practice has resulted in widespread contamination of UK wildlife with poisons, mainly anticoagulants, contained in rat baits. An updated list of List of approved assurance schemes can be found here.

"If we are to reduce residues in wildlife, the way we use rodenticides, especially when outdoors, must change," Dr Buckle continues.

"For many years it was thought best practice to set out bait points on farms and keep them permanently topped up with rodenticide. However, we now believe this practice is responsible, at least in part, for the contamination of wildlife that we now see UK-wide.
t rats," he explains. "The availability of tamper-resistant bait boxes can give a false impression that it is acceptable for rodenticide baits to be put out for extended periods or even permanently."

The stewardship regime's requirement is clear: Except as a justifiable last resort against clear, sustained and documented threats to human or animal health, long term rodenticide baiting is ruled out around the outside of farm buildings.

Dr Buckle points out that the bait stations themselves are not the problem, so much as what they contain. "Indeed, a good reason for established baiting points is to overcome a natural aversion in rats to new objects in their home territory," he says.

A planned control strategy based on the CRRU Code of Best Practice does allow non-toxic material in fixed bait boxes as an early warning system for new rat activity. To be effective, Dr Buckle points out that this demands regular
"Some birds of prey - barn owls and kestrels, for example - feed almost exclusively on wild small mammals, not rats," he explains. "The availability of tamper-resistant bait boxes can give a false impression that it is acceptable for rodenticide baits to beterritory," he says.

A planned control strategy based on the CRRU Code of Best Practice does allow non-toxic material in fixed bait boxes as an early warning system for new rat activity. To be effective, Dr Buckle points out that this demands regular inspection. If non-toxic bait is being taken, and an inspection for droppings rules out mice, voles or other non-targets, he says it can be replaced temporarily with rodenticide bait.

The Code of Best Practice specifies a planned approach using a combination of methods, starting with those at lowest risk of adverse consequences. In particular, these include making the farm as inhospitable to rats as possible: Clearing rubbish, denying food and water sources, controlling vegetation around buildings and involving all members of farm staff in the control plan.

"It is simply not acceptable continually to provide 'bed and board' for rodents on farms and solve the problem by repeatedly poisoning them with rodenticides," says Dr Buckle. "Clearly, any use of rodenticide outdoors poses a risk to wildlife. Conducting an Environmental Risk Assessment will identify these risks and help minimise them.

:: Guidelines for farmers are avai put out for extended periods or even permanently."

The stewardship regime's requirement is clear: Except as a justifiable last resort against clear, sustained and documented threats to human or animal health, long term rodenticide baiting is ruled out around the outside of farm buildings.

Dr Buckle points out that the bait stations themselves are not the problem, so much as what they contain. "Indeed, a good reason for established baiting points is to overcome a natural aversion in rats to new objects in their home territory," he says.

A planned control strategy based on the CRRU Code of Best Practice does allow non-toxic material in fixed bait boxes as an early warning system for new rat activity. To be effective, Dr Buckle points out that this demands regular inspection. If non-toxic bait is being taken, and an inspection for droppings rules out mice, voles or other non-targets, he says it can be replaced temporarily with rodenticide bait.

The Code of Best Practice specifies a planned approach using a combination of methods, starting with those at lowest risk of adverse consequences. In particular, these include making the farm as inhospitable to rats as possible: Clearing rubbish, denying food and water sources, controlling vegetation around buildings and involving all members of farm staff in the control plan.

"It is simply not acceptable continually to provide 'bed and board' for rodents on farms and solve the problem by repeatedly poisoning them with rodenticides," says Dr Buckle. "Clearly, any use of rodenticide outdoors poses a risk to wildlife. Conducting an Environmental Risk Assessment will identify these risks and help minimise them.
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The Farmers Community Red Tractor Standards
The Farmers Community Red Tractor Standards