This report presents information from a survey of pesticide use on outdoor vegetable crops grown for human consumption in Scotland during 2017. The crops surveyed included vining peas, broad beans, calabrese, carrots, turnips & swedes and other minor vegetable crops.
The census area of outdoor vegetable crops grown in Scotland in 2017 was approximately 19,300 hectares. This represents a 16 per cent increase from the previous survey in 2015 and a 22 per cent increase from 2013. Peas and beans accounted for 50 per cent of the outdoor vegetable crop area, leaf brassicas 21 per cent, carrots 20 per cent, turnips and swedes seven per cent and other vegetables two per cent.
Data were collected from a total of 84 holdings, collectively representing 11 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 number of treatments) was ca. 170,900 ha (± 10 per cent Relative Standard Error, RSE) with a combined weight of ca. 66 tonnes (± seven per cent RSE). Overall, pesticides were applied to 93 per cent of the vegetable crop area. Herbicides were applied to 90 per cent of the crop area, fungicides and insecticides to 79 per cent, molluscicides to 13 per cent and 70 per cent of the seed was treated.
Taking into account changes in crop area, the 2017 total pesticide treated area was almost a fifth lower (18 per cent) than that reported in 2015 and six per cent lower than 2013. The weight of pesticides applied to vegetable crops in 2017 was 16 per cent lower than in 2015, but very similar to that encountered in 2013. The application of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and seed treatments in 2017 decreased from the 2015 survey (21, 20, 19 and 18 per cent decreases in treated area respectively). Only the use of molluscicides increased (37 per cent increase in treated area).
In terms of area treated, the most commonly used foliar fungicide active substance was pyraclostrobin. However, when foliar and seed treatment use is combined, metalaxyl-M was the most commonly used fungicide by area. Lambda-cyhalothrin and pendimethalin were the most used insecticide and herbicide active substances respectively. Metalaxyl-M was the most used seed treatment active substance.