As the new growing season approaches, the State Plant Protection Service reminds farmers about the safe and well-founded use of plant protection products. It is important to remember that it is permitted to use only plant protection products registered in Latvia, that the equipment for using plant protection products must be certified, that professional use of plant protection products may only be organised and carried out by trained persons who have received a certificate issued by State Plant Protection Service, and that when using plant protection products, the restrictions prescribed in the legislation and on the label of plant protection product used, including the established protection zones for water bodies and adjacent territories, must be respected.
"The situation in Ukraine and global economic conditions pose a challenge for farmers to grow enough food this season. A harvest that meets safety and quality standards requires plant protection measures, but we must not forget to respect environmental safety requirements. State Plant Protection Service inspectors will continue to actively monitor the use of plant protection products this season, paying particular attention to the respect of protection zones. Last year, 1853 inspections on the usage of plant protection products were carried out and fines were issued for 67 violations," said State Plant Protection Service Director Vents Ezers.
The register of plant protection products is constantly being updated, therefore, before purchasing plant protection products, it is advisable to check on the State Plant Protection Service's website (www.vaad.gov.lv/registri) whether the product is authorised for use, whether any changes have been made to its usage restrictions, and to read the current labeling. If in doubt, staff of the State Plant Protection Service can be consulted. When using plant protection products, the stage of crop development specified on the label, the requirements for dilution and preparation of mixtures before use, the specified dose, special safety requirements to protect pollinators, the number of treatments per season, the waiting period between the last treatment and harvest, personal protection and other safety requirements must be strictly observed.
According to the Protected Zones Act, a 10 metre protection zone to water bodies and watercourses must be respected to protect aquatic organisms, but labels of plant protection products may also specify wider protection zones to water bodies and watercourses, as well as a protection zone to adjacent fields and/or land not used for agriculture.
Spraying of plants is allowed at wind speeds not exceeding four metres per second. Where the sprayer is equipped with factory-fitted auxiliary devices (auxiliary equipment) which reduce the effect of the wind on the spray by ensuring that the spray reaches only the intended surface to be treated, plants may be sprayed if the wind speed does not exceed eight metres per second.
In order to be able to carry out activities with plant protection products of the first and second registration classes (sale, purchase, use of plant protection products), a person must pass a written test and be issued with the appropriate certificate. A State Plant Protection Service inspector will check the certificate during an inspection on the usage of plant protection products.
Equipment for using plant protection products must be inspected every three years. New equipment should be inspected five years after the date of purchase. Inspections of equipment should be carried out by certified inspectors of such equipment. During an inspection on the usage of plant protection products, a State Plant Protection Service inspector verifies that the equipment has been tested.