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Changes in Pesticide Use in Vegetables Since 2007 – A Review of the Recent 2011 FERA Survey of Pesticide Use in Edible Protected and Outdoor Vegetable Crops

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The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP), which advises government on all aspects of pesticide use, needs accurate data on the usage of individual pesticides. Pesticide usage data are also required under the EU Statistics Regulation 1185/2009/EC. This requirement is fulfilled by the Pesticide Usage Survey Teams of the Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA), an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra); Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), a division of the Scottish Government?s Agriculture, Food and Rural Communities Directorate and the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI), a Non-Departmental Public Body of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development N Ireland (DARDNI). For both the edible protected and outdoor vegetable crop surveys the sampled farms/holdings were drawn from the June Survey returns in each country to represent the area of each commodity group (edible protected or outdoor vegetable crops) grown throughout England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Surveys were conducted by each team by visiting holdings throughout the United Kingdom during the winter of 2011/12. All three survey teams followed the same methodology for data collection and used the same forms and instructions for their completion. For the purposes of the survey the following crop categories were used: edible protected crops: tomatoes; cucumbers; lettuce; peppers; celery; other veg; other fruit; strawberries; edible plants for propagation: and outdoor vegetables: brassicas etc.; root crucifers; peas & beans for harvesting green; onions & leeks; carrots, parsnips & celery; lettuce, endive etc.; sweetcorn; other root vegetables; cucurbits; and other vegetables. These two surveys complement each other with a number of holdings growing both edible protected and outdoor vegetable crops. In particular, much of the information collected on vegetables for propagation as part of the edible protected crops survey relates directly to field plantings of a number of the outdoor vegetable crops, such as brassicas. All pesticide usage surveys are voluntary and an introductory letter is sent to the occupiers of selected holdings explaining the purpose of the survey. The fact that all data collected are confidential and that the survey is not part of any enforcement activity is of particular importance. Most holdings are willing to take part in the surveys and only 3% of the 296 nurseries contacted and growing edible protected crops in England and Wales indicated they were unwilling to help. The picture for outdoor vegetable crops was similar, with 8% of the 634 farms contacted in England & Wales indicating that they were unwilling to help. These were the original numbers of holdings contacted in England & Wales and not all were able to provide data before the reporting deadlines. In total, 221 edible protected and 493 outdoor vegetable holdings in England and Wales provided data for the surveys. The pesticide usage data collected from each holding were adjusted by two factors to give an estimate of regional usage; the first factor is dependent on farm size group and region and the second dependent on crop area and region. The data were further adjusted by a third factor to compensate for regions in which specific crops were not sampled and to make estimates of total pesticide usage related to the national cropping areas in Great Britain.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2012

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