The European Commission’s pesticide reduction targets will not be reached with current technologies and increased investment in the sector will be required, Bobby Miller, chair of the Irish Grain Growers Group, has said.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal this week, he said that Irish tillage farmers are already on the road to reducing pesticide use.

“Targets won’t be reached with current technologies. We have to see increased investment from Europe to reach these goals via technology such as spot spraying,” he said.

He said targets were being written into law but that there is no roadmap for farmers to follow in order to reach those targets.

“We’re going in a bit blind. We’re not against reducing pesticides but how are we expected to take a leap of faith when we’re already suffering financially as a result of products going off the market?”

He questioned what route farmers are expected to take to meet the targets. “Is it going to be drone or spot spraying or will there be more biological solutions? What route do they want us to take?”

IFA grain chair Kieran McEvoy warned that without pesticides, tillage yields could halve.

“It’s an important tool for farmers. Without it, yields will drop off significantly. We want to promote the use of native grains as much as possible. Reducing crop production across the EU, only for other global regions to step in, would be a massive mistake,” he said.