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Why Should Crop Protection Practices be Recorded?

Why Should Crop Protection Practices be Recorded?

19 November 2013

ANALYSIS - Collecting and recording data on crop protection practices should not just be seen as a legal requirement, writes Chris Harris.

The information that is collected and stored should be part of the farm’s business plan a seminar on Documenting Plant Protection Measures at Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany heard.

The seminar organised by the German agricultural agency DLG was told that plant protection and recording the measures used is not a goal in itself, but part of taking stock of the whole process on the farm.

While there is a legal reason to document all the actions in crop protection, the information stored can also give the farmer valuable information about planting methods, technology that is used, fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides as well as yields and weather conditions together with much more information.

All these factors affect the decisions that are made in crop protection the seminar was told and the documentation has information that can be retrieved and used later on.

The storage of the information, planning the protection measures, the application of the measures the records of what was used on which plants and in which conditions and by whom are all part of the business practice and should be recorded and held as part of the farm’s business model.

Plant protection is not a single tool but part of the entire process, the seminar heard.

“Documentation is a legal obligation, but we should also hold documentation for other reasons,” said Achim Barten from the agricultural technology company Müller.

“If complaints are brought against the farm, the documents can be used to protect the farmer and if products don’t work, they can be used to back a complaint.”

Mr Barten added that it helps if the data that is taken is documented “just-in-time”.

The use of data gathered to fulfil the legal obligations of recording crop protection practices can also be used to help to keep costs down on the farm by understanding the usage of the protection products and ensuring they are used to effect and economically.

On a legal basis, if a farmer needs to produce the data covering crop protection practices, they have to be produced within four weeks, and Mr Barten advised that all documents should be held for up to three years.

How the documents are stored, he said, is up to the farmer but today new information technology is being used more frequently to store the data and in ways that the farmer can access it on the farm and in the field through smart phones and tablets as well as on the farm computer or even in paper form.

Mr Barten also advised that more information than is essential should also be recorded including information such as the water usage, batch numbers of products, what the problems were that were being treated, the spraying method and nozzle size of the spray as well as the droplet size and weather conditions to help not only meet the legal requirements but also to meet other potential issues that might arise and also to be able to better manage protection n practices in the future.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris

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