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Think Water campaign

The Think Water initiative has launched a new set of guidelines to provide farmers and spray operators with practical advice to prevent OSR herbicides entering water.
Water drop

Nigel Chadwick, operations director of The Voluntary Initiative and spokesperson for the Think Water campaign, explains that OSR herbicides are critical to growing a successful crop and that any restrictions on their use could threaten its economic viability.

“It’s vital that stewardship steps are followed this season to help protect water and, as a result, the actives themselves,” he says.

The Think Water campaign is working with water companies and farmers to raise awareness of the issue and promote best practice usage of the weed control treatments containing metazachlor, propyzamide, quinmerac or clopyralid.

He summarises that there are three practical steps which boil down to managing tramlines, understanding risks in the field, employing appropriate buffer zones and abiding by product label conditions.

“This applies to everyone, but if land falls within a Drinking Water Safeguard Zone (DWSgZ), you need to take extra care. Visit and enter your postcode to find out if you’re in a DWSgZ,” he says.

“If your land is in one of these areas, speak to your local water company catchment officer or agronomist to establish the potential risk on a field-by-field basis.

“It then comes down to employing best practice agronomy and getting ahead of the season as much as possible, while using an IPM approach all year round.

“Essentially if we work together to ensure these steps are followed, the risk of OSR herbicides entering drinking water will be reduced,” he adds.

For more information on the Think Water initiative please visit:

Think Water IPM steps:

  • Manage tramlines, pathways and gateways to minimise compaction and reduce surface water run-off
  • Implement a six metre vegetative buffer strip between OSR fields and surface water
  • Before making applications, always refer to product specific labels and the VI Water Protection Advice Sheets (WPAS) which can be found on the Think Water website