Pesticide usage report: Top fruit crops 2002

Date published: 18 November 2003

Pesticide usage report: Top fruit crops 2002



This report presents information from a survey of the pesticide usage practices of top fruit growers in Northern Ireland in 2002.

The total area of top fruit crops decreased by 14% compared with the previous survey in 1996, to 1,488 hectares in 2002. Approximately 92% of all top fruit crops were grown in County Armagh, with fruiting Bramley apple orchards accounting for 85% of the total top fruit grown in Northern Ireland.

Overall, an estimated 28.9 tonnes of pesticide active ingredients were applied to 27,341 spray hectares. The pesticide-treated area remained similar to that recorded in 1996, despite the 14% decrease in area grown. The 18% increase in quantity of active ingredients used represents a 36% increase in relative terms.

Fungicide usage, far outweighed insecticide/acaricides and herbicides. Fungicides, applied to 86% of the pesticide-treated area, accounted for 92% of the weight of pesticides applied. The fungicide mancozeb was the active ingredient most commonly used on top fruit crops. An estimated 88% of all fungicide applications were applied to control apple scab (Venturiainaequalis).

Insecticide and acaricide usage during 2002 decreased when compared with 1996. These pesticides were applied to 8% of the pesticide-treated area, accounting for 4% of the total weight of pesticide usage. The organophosphate chlorpyrifos was the insecticide/acaracide active ingredient most frequently used.

Herbicides accounted for 4% of the pesticide-treated area, representing 3% of the weight of pesticides applied. Glyphosate was the herbicide active ingredient most frequently used for ‘general weed control’ under the tree canopy and between rows.

An estimated 13 tonnes of ‘other products’, which included foliar feeds, trace elements and calcium-based products were also applied to the crops during this survey period, to address potential nutritional disorders.

An estimated 303 top fruit orchards were recorded in Northern Ireland in 2002 and orchard floor information for each orchard was calculated. Herbicide application in ‘strips’ under the tree canopy with inter-row grass being mowed was the most common weed-management practice (used on 62% of orchards). Mowing was the most common method of inter-row grass and weed control, practised in 94% of orchards. An estimated 38% of orchards had no herbicides applied for grass and weed control.

Data was also collected on post-harvest storage treatments applied to top fruit crops in 2002. An estimated 7,779 tonnes of top fruit crops (Bramley 97% and Dessert apples 3%) were stored. With the exception of 17 tonnes, all stored fruit were treated. The antioxidant fungicide diphenylamine was the most commonly used pesticide active ingredient applied to stored fruit. A total of six products (five fungicides and one trace element) were recorded in use on stored apple crops.

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