Sprays to manage crops, rushes and clover could face a complete ban in Ireland by 2024 under the new EU sustainable pesticides directive.
The Irish Farmers Journal can reveal that the fine print in the revised directive indicates that Ireland would face a 100% reduction in pesticide usage because the country is classed as one nitrates vulnerable zone.
This would mean no herbicides, fungicides, insecticides or other plant protection products if the proposal is passed in its current form.
All farmers would be affected by the new rules and Ireland may not be the only country that would be affected.
As well as pesticide use reduction, the proposals also call for increased scrutiny around the application and storage of pesticides.
For example, there could be more stringent rules around electronic recording of chemical controls; a national register of pesticide application equipment; mandatory use of independent advisers for integrated pest management (IPM); and the growing of crops to member state IPM standards.