Pesticide Usage in Scotland: Outdoor Vegetable Crops 2015

Information from a survey of pesticide use on vegetable crops grown for human consumption in Scotland during 2015.

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Executive summary

This report presents information from a survey of pesticide use on outdoor vegetable crops grown for human consumption in Scotland during 2015. The crops surveyed included vining peas, broad beans, Brussels sprouts, calabrese, carrots, turnips & swedes and other minor vegetable crops.

The estimated area of outdoor vegetable crops grown in Scotland in 2015 was approximately 16,700 hectares ( Table 35). This represents a four per cent increase from the previous survey in 2013 and a nine per cent increase from 2011. Peas and beans accounted for 51 per cent of the outdoor vegetable crop area, leaf brassicas 18 per cent, carrots 18 per cent, turnips and swedes nine per cent and other vegetable crops four per cent ( Figure 2). Data were collected from a total of 90 holdings, representing 13 per cent of the total vegetable crop area grown. Ratio raising was used to produce estimates of national pesticide usage from sampled data.

The estimated total area of outdoor vegetable crops treated with a pesticide formulation (area grown multiplied by no. of treatments) was ca. 178,900 ha (± seven per cent Relative Standard Error, RSE) with a combined weight of ca. 67,300 kg (± eight per cent RSE). Overall, pesticides were applied to 98 per cent of the vegetable crop area. Herbicides were applied to 98 per cent of the crop area, insecticides to 90 per cent, fungicides 86 per cent, molluscicides to 12 per cent and 79 per cent of seed was treated.

When the pesticide application data are corrected for the area of crop grown, there were 11 pesticide treated hectares for each hectare of crop grown in 2015. This represents an increase of 15 per cent from 2013 and 19 per cent from 2011. The weight of pesticides applied per hectare of crop grown was four kilograms in 2015. This represents a 22 per cent increase from 2013 and an 18 per cent increase from 2011.

Overall pesticide application was higher in 2015 than that reported in 2013 as disease pressure was lower than average in 2013. The application of fungicides, sulphur and herbicides and to a lesser extent, insecticides and seed treatments have increased since 2013. Biopesticides and growth regulators were recorded in 2015, but were not recorded in the 2013 survey. The application of molluscicides has decreased since 2013.

In terms of area treated, the most used foliar fungicide active substance was azoxystrobin. However, when foliar and seed treatment use is taken into account, metalaxyl-M was the most commonly used fungicide. Lambda-cyhalothrin and pendimethalin were the most used insecticide and herbicide active substances respectively. Metalaxyl-M was the most used seed treatment active substance. The fungicide fenhexamid was recorded for the first time in 2015.

Data collected from growers about their Integrated Pest Management ( IPM) activities showed that growers were using a variety of IPM methods in relation to risk management, pest monitoring and pest control.


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