Appendix 3: Definitions and notes
1) ‘Pesticide’ is used throughout this report to include commercial formulations containing active substances (a.s.) used as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, molluscicides, nematicides, biological control agents, biopesticides, growth regulators, seed treatments and physical control. A pesticide product consists of one or more active substances co-formulated with other materials.
2) An active substance (or active ingredient) is any substance or micro-organism which has a general or specific action: against harmful organisms; or on plants, parts of plants or plant products.
3) In this report the term ‘formulation(s)’ is used to describe the pesticide active substance or mixture of active substances in a product(s). It does not refer to any of the solvents, pH modifiers or adjuvants also contained within a product that contribute to its efficacy.
4) A fungicide is a pesticide used to control fungal diseases in plants.
5) A herbicide is a pesticide used to control unwanted vegetation (weed killer). A desiccant is a pesticide used to dry out unwanted plant material.
6) A growth regulator is a pesticide used to regulate the growth of the plant, for example to prevent the crop from growing too tall.
7) An insecticide is a pesticide used to control unwanted insects. A nematicide is a pesticide used to control unwanted nematodes.
8) A molluscicide is a pesticide used to control unwanted slugs and snails.
9) A seed treatment is a pesticide applied to seed before planting to protect that plant against diseases and pests from the earliest stage of development. The pesticide can be a fungicide, an insecticide or a biological control agent.
10) In the pesticide tables, some pesticide treatments may be reported as ‘unspecified’. This description was used for occasions where the use of a particular treatment was reported by the grower, but they were unable to provide details of the product used. For these treatments, we are able to provide an area treated but no weight of pesticide used since the exact pesticide is unknown.
11) Some seed treatments were recorded as ‘no information seed treatment’. This description was used for occasions where the grower was unable to confirm whether the seed had received a treatment.
12) Basic area is the planted area of crop which was treated with a given pesticide or pesticide group, irrespective of the number of times it was applied to that area. Basic areas are not presented anywhere in the report, but their values are used to calculate the percentage of crop treated with a given pesticide or pesticide group.
13) Area treated is the basic area of a crop treated with a given pesticide multiplied by the number of treatments that area received. These terms are synonymous with “spray area” and “spray hectare” which have appeared in previous reports. For example, if a field of five hectares gets sprayed with the same fungicide twice, the basic area is five hectares, and the treated area is 10 hectares.
14) Farmers/growers can apply pesticides to crops by a number of different methods. Multiple pesticides can be applied to a crop in a single tank mix. For example a crop could be sprayed with two different fungicides and an insecticide at the same time.
15) In this report data are reported in two formats. For each pesticide formulation (mixture of active substances in a product) the area treated and weight applied is reported. Areas and weights for individual active substances are not included in this report but are published in Excel format as supplementary tables. These different formats are provided to satisfy the needs of all data users and allow them to assess pesticide use trends. Some users may be interested in use of pesticide products which contain a number of active substances, thus formulation data would be required. Other users are interested in particular active substances which may be formulated on their own or in combination with other active substances. In addition, both weight and area of pesticide applications are important indicators of changes in use over time. Different pesticides are applied at different dose rates and only by comparing both area and weight can trends in use be elucidated.
16) It should be noted that some herbicides may not have been applied directly to the crop itself but either as land preparation treatments prior to sowing/planting the crop, or to control weeds at the field margins.
17) The June Agricultural Census(13) is conducted annually by the Scottish Government's Rural and Environmental Science Analytical Services (RESAS). The June Agricultural Census collects data on land use, crop areas, livestock and the number of people working on agricultural holdings. For this report the June Agricultural Census was used to draw a sample of farmers growing the relevant crops to participate in the survey.
18) Throughout this report the term ‘census area’ refers to the total area for a particular crop or group of crops recorded within the June Agricultural Census. These are the areas which the sampled areas are raised to. Please see Appendix 4 – survey methodology for details. The June Agricultural Census Form is divided up into different categories which relates to a particular crop or group of crops. These are referred to as ‘census categories’ throughout this report.
19) During the survey, the wheat crop is differentiated as either winter wheat or spring wheat. In the census, wheat is not subdivided. Any data from the census refers to the wheat crop as ‘total wheat’, but the survey data refers to winter and spring wheat.
20) Where quoted in the text, reasons for application are the grower’s stated reasons for use of that particular pesticide on that crop and may not always seem appropriate.
21) Due to rounding, there may be slight differences in totals both within and between tables.
22) Data from the 2014(4) and 2016(3) surveys are provided for comparison purposes in some of the tables, although it should be noted that there may be minor differences in the range of crops surveyed, together with changes in areas of each of the crops grown. Changes from previous surveys are described in Appendix 4. When comparisons are made between surveys it is important consider changes in the area of crop grown. In order to take this into account, comparisons have been made on a per hectare grown basis, i.e. the number of hectares that have been sprayed (treated hectares) has been divided by the area of crop grown for each survey, and the weight (kilograms) applied has also been divided by the area of crop grown. This is to enable like for like comparisons between surveys, so that changes in pesticide use patterns are not masked by changes in crop area.
23) The average number of applications indicated in the text for each crop is based on the occurrence of a pesticide group on at least ten per cent of the area grown. The average number of applications is calculated only on the areas receiving each pesticide group and therefore the minimum number of applications is always one. Several pesticides may be applied as a tank mix as part of the same spray event; therefore the average number of pesticide sprays reported is less than the sum of sprays of each pesticide group.
24) There were a limited number of holdings with winter rye sampled. Therefore, no details of pesticide use on winter rye is reported separately, however it is included in the totals for ‘all cereals’ in the pesticide usage tables.
25) The crop type ‘dry harvest peas’ is used for consistency with the Fera Science Ltd UK pesticide usage reports. This equates to peas for combining on the Scottish Agricultural Census form and is synonymous with ‘combine peas’ which appeared in previous Scottish reports.