Pesticide usage report: Grassland & fodder crops 2003

Date published: 18 November 2004

Pesticide usage report: Grassland & fodder crops 2003



This is the fourth survey examining pesticide usage practices on grassland and fodder crops in Northern Ireland, providing data comparative to that obtained from previous surveys in 1989 (Jess et al., 1992), 1993 (Jess et al., 1995) and 1997 (Jess et al., 2000). In this survey information on all aspects of pesticide usage was collected from 307 farms throughout the Province, representing 2% of the total area of grassland and fodder crops grown. Quantitative data obtained were adjusted to provide estimates of total pesticide usage.   

Overall, the area of grassland and fodder crops grown in 2003 increased by 14%, 26% and 3% when compared to that recorded in 1989, 1993 and 1997, respectively. The area of established grassland crops was similar to that grown in 1997 but had increased by 14% and 22% when compared to both 1989 and 1993, respectively. In 2003, the area of sown crops was similar to that grown in 1989, representing more than a three-fold increase compared to 1993 and two-fold increase compared to 1997. The area of fodder crops grown in Northern Ireland in 2003 increased four-fold since 1997. This was principally due to the significant increase in fodder maize production.

The area of grassland and fodder crops receiving pesticide treatment increased by 62%, 95% and 48% when compared to that recorded in 1989, 1993 and 1997, respectively. A total of 103 tonnes of pesticides was applied to 178,149 spray hectares of grassland and fodder crops during 2003. This represented a 39% reduction in the weight of pesticides applied compared to 1997. Herbicides accounted for 84% of the pesticide-treated area, representing 95% of the weight of pesticides applied. Seed treatments accounted for a further 10% of the treated area. The weight of seed treatment active ingredients applied represented less than 1% of the total active ingredients. Fungicides, insecticides and growth regulators collectively accounted for the remainder of the total pesticide usage. No molluscicide use was recorded during this survey.

The areas of enclosed grazing and grass silage treated with pesticides increased when compared to previous surveys. However, the weight of pesticide used in these areas decreased to levels similar to those recorded in 1989. Pesticide usage on sown grassland crops increased significantly when compared with 1993 and 1997. In contrast, the area treated in 2003 was 14% lower than that recorded in 1989 and the weight of pesticides applied declined by 29% during this period. There was a significant increase in pesticide usage on fodder crops in 2003, especially when compared to 1993.

Herbicides remained the most extensively used pesticide type on grassland and fodder crops. Overall, applications of herbicides increased when compared with 1989, 1993 and 1997. However, the weight of herbicides applied reduced by 19%, 27% and 42%, respectively. The formulation of fluroxypyr/triclopyr was the most frequently used herbicide, principally applied to the first-cut of grass silage. The main reason given for herbicide applications was to control docks (Rumex spp.).

A total of seventy products comprising forty five active ingredients was recorded in use in this survey.  

A full list of published reports is available together with abstracts from other relevant published work.

For further information on this work please contact: Pesticide usage monitoring group