Frequently Asked Questions
In response to concerns about the use of aminopyralid, we have compiled some questions to help you find the answers you are looking for.
Q: If these products cause problems, why are they used by farmers?
For grassland farmers, these products offer the most effective weed control on the market today. Aminopyralid sprays work especially well on difficult to control weeds, such as thistles and docks as well as weeds that are potentially dangerous to livestock, such as ragwort.
These sprays deliver a level of control that frequently removes the need for follow-up treatment, so less herbicide is used overall.
If herbicide users follow the clearly stated recommendations on the label printed on each pack, there is very little change that they will be found in manure in your garden.
Q: Is food from affected crops safe to eat?
Assessments reviewed by CRD (previously PSD) indicate that the levels of residues found in affected crops do not have any implications for human health.
Q: Which plants are affected by the presence of aminopyralid residues?
Sensitive plants include peas, beans, and other legumes, carrots, sugar beet, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuces and spinach. Dahlia corms and a few species of rose are also affected.
Q: What are the symptoms of aminopyralid damage on sensitive plants?
Symptoms are expressed as cupping of leaves, stunting of plants, and curling of the growing point, giving it a fern-like appearance. See examples.
Q: I have used manure in my garden, and some of the vegetables have been affected, while others have not. Is aminopyralid the culprit?
If peas, beans, or potatoes (the most sensitive crops) are not affected, it is unlikely that aminopyralid is to blame.
Q: Will my dahlia corms be OK next year if I plant it in an affected allotment?
Assuming that any affected manure has been thoroughly incorporated this year, it should be safe to plant any crop.
Q: How can I test for aminopyralid residue in my manure?
The simplest and quickest option is to ask your manure supplier the following questions:
- Did their animal manure come from a farm or equine business where the herbicide product Forefront T was used? If the answer is no, then the animal manure should be free of aminopyralid .
- Were the animals that produced the manure fed on forage e.g. Hay, haylage or silage that could have been inadvertently been produced from grass treated with Forefront T? If the answer is no, then the animal manure should be free of aminopyralid.
- Thoroughly mix manure with a multi-purpose compost in a clean bucket using 1 part manure to 1 part compost. Prepare enough to fill four 5-inch pots.
- Fill another four clean pots solely with multi-purpose compost. These will be the untreated comparisons.
- Place each of the pots in a separate saucer to prevent water from one pot reaching another.
- Water the pots and leave to stand for 24 hours.
- Plant each pot with four broad bean seeds.
- Observe subsequent growth over a four-week period and note any ill effects in the pots containing the manure mix, such as cupped leaves and fern-like growth on new shoots. See photographs for examples.
These symptoms may indicate aminopyralid residue in the manure. Signs of other kinds of damage will most likely indicate other issues such as damping off or bacteria-infected soil, etc.
Q: How is aminopyralid broken down?
Aminopyralid is broken down by soil micro-organisms, which live in damp, well-aerated soil. These conditions are best achieved by watering and cultivating the soil.
Q: I believe I used manure containing aminopyralid in my allotment this year. What should I do?
Rake away any visible signs of manure, then keep the land turned over.
The best way to reduce the likelihood of a problem next season is to keep the land turned over to aerate the soil which encourages breakdown of the cellulose material in manure. As it breaks down aminopyralid is released into the soil and then broken down rapidly by naturally occurring micro-organisms
Q: Can manure containing aminopyralid be used in the garden?
No. We would advise that affected manure is not used where sensitive crops like potatoes, beans, lettuce and tomatoes are likely to be grown.
Q: Does aminopyralid break down in a rotting manure heap?
No. Until the aminopyralid is released from the cellulose and comes into contact with soil dwelling micro-organisms it will be stable. Breakdown will occur only after manure is incorporated into aerobic soil.
Q: How long does it take before muck containing aminopyralid is safe to use?
If manure containing aminopyralid is well-rotovated into the soil after harvest or forked over frequently, you can plant non-sensitive vegetables as soon as the following spring (after about six months).
If properly cultivated, soil which has received manure containing aminopyralid can be considered aminopyralid free after 12 months.
Q: What can I do with affected manure?
The following options are available to you:
- Return to your source of supply
- Supply it to a local farmer for use on grassland or land intended for grass, cereals or maize, as these plants are not sensitive to aminopyralid.
- Contact your local council to see if it can be disposed of in your household waste. Do NOT dispose of affected manure in your green waste.