Since 2010, there have been an increasing number of detections of herbicide in surface water bodies in Ireland.
Some of the incidents include water bodies used to supply drinking water. Even though the low levels detected do not pose any health risks, their regular findings are a major concern.
In our region, Longford County Council have found an increasing problem with pesticide exceedances.
They have identified MCPA residues as the biggest threat to water quality. MCPA is the chemical most often used on farms for rush control. It is typically sprayed on wet grasslands during the period June to September.
Unfortunately, with very wet summers, we tend to get increased growth of rushes and greater quantities of the chemical being applied.
Secondly, as MCPA is very mobile in saturated soils this leads to some chemical entering water bodies and threatening the public water supply.
One area of concern is the Lough Forbes water catchment that includes the following water bodies: Lough Boderg, Lough Bofin, Lough Scannal, Lough Rinn, Lough Forbes, the Rinn River, the Black River and part of the Shannon.
The farmland in the catchment borders three counties Longford, Leitrim and Roscommon and includes the towns/villages of Rooskey, Dromod, Mohill, Termonbarry, Newtownforbes, Drumlish, Ballinamuck and Bornacoola.
Teagasc are holding an event on ‘Responsible use of MCPA on Grassland and Implications for Water Quality’ today, Wednesday July 6 at 4pm on the farm of Joseph McGee, Cloonart, Bornacoola (the site is located on the N4 half way between Rooskey and Newtownforbes). The event will focus on improved MCPA application techniques, changes to product rates, buffer zones, best practice for using sprayers, sprayer inspections and the Sustainable Use Directive.
All farmers and contractors are welcome to this event.