Pesticide usage report: Top fruit crops 2006
This report presents information from a survey of the pesticide usage practices of top fruit growers in Northern Ireland in 2006. It is the fourth pesticide survey to be conducted on top fruit crops in the region.
The total area of top fruit crops grown in 2006 decreased by 2% to 1,455 hectares when compared with the previous survey in 2002. Approximately 96% of all top fruit crops were grown in County Armagh, with fruiting Bramley apple orchards accounting for 92% of the total top fruit grown in Northern Ireland.
Overall, an estimated 22 tonnes of pesticide active ingredients were applied to 28,914 spray hectares. The pesticide-treated area increased by 6% compared with 2002, but the quantity of active ingredients used decreased by 24%.
In common with previous years, fungicide usage exceeded that of insecticide/acaricides and herbicides, while fungicides applied to the pesticide-treated area increased by 6%, the quantity decreased by an estimated 24% compared with 2002. Fungicides, applied to 86% of the pesticide-treated area, accounted for 91% of the weight of pesticides applied. The fungicides dithianon and mancozeb were the active ingredients most commonly used on top fruit crops. An estimated 89% of all fungicide applications were applied to control apple scab (Venturia inaequalis).
Insecticide and acaricide applications decreased by 3% in pesticide-treated area in 2006 compared with 2002. Insecticides and acaricides were applied to 8% of the entire pesticide-treated area, accounting for 4% of the total weight of pesticides applied. The organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos was the most frequently used insecticide/acaricide. An estimated 33% of insecticide/acaricide applications were to control aphids.
Overall, while herbicides applied to the pesticide-treated area decreased by 10%, the quantity remained similar to that applied in 2002. Glyphosate was the herbicide active ingredient most frequently used for ‘general weed control’ under the tree canopy.
Growth regulators accounted for 3% of the pesticide-treated area but less than 1% of the total weight of pesticide usage. Paclobutrazol was the growth regulator active ingredient most frequently used.
An estimated 9 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 treat potential nutritional disorders.
An estimated 260 top fruit orchards were surveyed in Northern Ireland in 2006 and orchard floor information for each orchard was recorded. Herbicides applied in ‘strips’, under the tree canopy with inter-row grass being mowed was, as in previous years, the most common weed-management practice (used in 68% of orchards). The inter-row areas of all orchards surveyed were mown for grass and weed control. An estimated 32% 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 2006. An estimated 13,624 tonnes of top fruit crops was stored, 13,216 tonnes of which was treated. The antioxidant fungicide diphenylamine was the most commonly used pesticide active ingredient applied to stored fruit. A total of seven products (six pesticide active ingredients and one trace element) were recorded in use on stored apple crops.
For further information on this work please contact: Pesticide Usage Monitoring Group