Pesticide usage report: Soft fruit crops 2012
This report presents information from a survey of pesticide usage practices on soft fruit crops in Northern Ireland in 2012. Data was collected from 20 growers representing 67% of all soft fruit holdings in Northern Ireland. No soft fruit crops were grown in County Fermanagh during this survey period. The data have been raised using IBM SPSS Statistics software to give estimates of regional pesticide usage.
Compared with the previous survey, carried out in 2010, the total area of soft fruit crops grown has increased by 8% to approximately 18 hectares, whereas the quantity of pesticide used decreased by 31%. The area treated with pesticides (spray hectares) decreased by 39% between 2010 and 2012.
A total of 40 kilograms of pesticides were applied to 72 spray hectares of soft fruit crops in 2012. Strawberries were the most commonly produced soft fruit (protected, semi-protected and non-protected), with 36 kilograms of pesticides being applied to 64 spray hectares. This represented 89% of both the total weight of pesticides applied and the area treated.
Fungicide usage decreased by 39% compared with 2010. Fungicides were applied to 70% of the total pesticide-treated area representing 76% of the total weight of pesticides used in 2012. Iprodione and myclobutanil were the fungicides applied to the largest area whilst iprodione and foestyl-aluminium were the most frequently used fungicides by weight applied. Sulphur has been used as a fungicide on protected and semi-protected strawberries for the treatment of strawberry powdery mildew (Podosphaera aphanis).
Herbicide usage decreased by an estimated 13% compared with 2010. Herbicide active ingredients were applied to 8% of the total pesticide-treated area (18% of the total weight of pesticides used) with pendimethalin being the most commonly used herbicide.
Insecticide and acaricide usage decreased by 39% compared with 2010, and 66% compared with 2006. Insecticide and acaricide active ingredients accounted for 18% of the total pesticide-treated area and 6% of the total weight of pesticides applied in 2012. The ovicidal tetrazine acaricide clofentezine was the most frequently applied, primarily on strawberries, replacing chlorpyrifos as the most commonly used insecticide/acaricide type.
Biopesticides (including invertebrate parasites and predators) were applied to 3% of the treated area in 2012, compared with 6% in 2010. Applications were principally to control two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), with Phytoseiulus persimilis being the most commonly used biopesticide.
Molluscicides were applied to approximately 1 hectare of strawberries (both protected and non-protected), for the control of slugs. Methiocarb was the only recorded molluscicide active substance used during soft fruit production in 2012
For further information on this work please contact: Pesticide Usage Monitoring Group