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Forefront and Pharaoh return with new rules on use


Forefront and Pharaoh, Dow AgroSciences highly effective herbicides for weed control in grassland, return to the market under strict use conditions to minimise the risk of affected manure leaving farms.

Based on aminopyralid, these products were voluntarily withdrawn from the market during 2008 and approval for use suspended by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) after instances of manure with traces of the weedkiller affected allotments and gardens in some parts of Britain.

At the time we made it clear that we would only bring these herbicides back when we had found ways to remove the risk, said Dow Product Manager Robin Bentley. Farmers who had used the product wanted this effective weapon back in their crop protection armoury and farming unions supported the label changes and stewardship package. After careful consideration, CRD agreed to lift the suspension provided the label changes and stewardship package were fully implemented.

Forefront and Pharaoh gained a new approval for use on UK farms last autumn, but with new recommendations for its use and the management of any manure arising from treated pasture. Since then, Dow AgroSciences has been re-training advisers and supply routes to ensure the stewardship package is fully understood.

These products can now only be used on pasture grazed by cattle or sheep and cannot be applied to any grassland intended for silage or hay, said Mr Bentley. Additionally, all farmers who seek to use the product must seek appropriate advice from a BASIS-registered adviser and, before they buy, must sign off that they understand the implications regarding manure. Only distributors which formally sign up to the new requirements, which encompass staff re-training, will be able to supply products.

For 2010, Forefront and Pharaoh will only be available in the South West of England (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire), Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In our first year back we are focused on ensuring that all involved in advice and supply of the product understand the new stewardship programme and we can monitor use carefully. The areas chosen represent intensive grassland use and where there is a relatively higher need for effective weed control solutions. In addition, the likelihood of manure moving to allotments and gardens is less, added Mr Bentley.

Our aim is that through careful stewardship, Forefront and Pharaoh will return to UK-wide sales in 2011.

Key changes to Forefront recommendations are:

  • use restricted to pasture grazed by cattle or sheep
  • not for use on grass intended for conservation
  • not for use on horse-grazed pasture
  • any manure inadvertently generated to remain on farm
  • supplies only through trained distributors to farmers who acknowledge in writing their understanding of the new recommendations
  • Only for use, in 2010, in the South West, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Due to changed recommendations, old stocks of products containing aminopyralid, eg Forefront and Pharaoh cannot be used. Dow AgroSciences will arrange collection of any old stock. Anyone with stocks whether complete pack or part used packs should, in the first instance, contact Dow AgroSciences hotline 0800 689 8899 or email

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