Pesticide usage report: Grassland & fodder crops 2005
This is the fifth 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), 1997 (Jess et al., 2000) and 2003 (Withers et al., 2005). In this survey information on all aspects of pesticide usage was collected from 294 farms throughout the Province, representing 2.2% 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 2005 decreased by 3% and 6% when compared to 1997 and 2003, respectively. The area of established grassland crops also decreased by 4% throughout this period. Conversely, the area of fodder crops grown in Northern Ireland in 2003 had increased fourfold since 1997 with a further increase of 28% being recorded in 2005. This was principally due to the increase in fodder maize production. A fourth cut of silage was recorded for the first time in 2005.
The area of grassland and fodder crops receiving pesticide treatment decreased by 28% when compared to that recorded in 2003. However, there was an increase of 17%, 41% and 7% when compared to that recorded in 1989, 1993 and 1997, respectively. A total of 86 tonnes of pesticides was applied to 128,786 spray hectares of grassland and fodder crops during 2005. This represented a 16% reduction in the weight of pesticides applied compared to 2003. Herbicides accounted for 92% of the pesticide-treated area, representing 98% of the weight of pesticides applied. Seed treatments accounted for a further 4% of the treated area. The weight of active ingredients applied as seed treatments 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 decreased when compared to the 2003 survey, returning to a level similar to that recorded in 1997. However, the weight of pesticide applied to enclosed grazing was comparable to that recorded in 2003. Pesticide usage on sown grassland crops decreased significantly when compared with 2003, returning to levels similar to those recorded in 1997. The increase in the area of fodder crops grown when compared to 2003 was mainly attributed to a 66% increase in the area of fodder maize grown. Although the pesticide treated area of the maize crop decreased by 10% the weight of pesticides applied more than doubled from 2.6t to 5.7t.
Herbicides remained the most extensively used pesticide type on grassland and fodder crops. However, the trend for increased use of herbicides since 1989 seems to have reversed, as it decreased by 21% in 2005 when compared with 2003. In contrast, the trend for reduced weight of herbicide applied since 1989 continued. The formulation of fluroxypyr/triclopyr was the most frequently-used herbicide, principally applied to the first-cut of grass silage to control docks (Rumex spp.). A total of sixty-one products comprising thirty nine active ingredients was recorded in use in this survey.
For further information on this work please contact the Pesticide usage group