Reports 2019/23

Pesticide use in agriculture in 2017

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Statistics Norway carried out an electronic sample survey concerning pesticide use in 2017. Similar surveys were carried out in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014. The survey results serve as information to national authorities when monitoring the pesticide use and in the ongoing work to reach stipulated goals on reduced health and environmental hazard from such substances.

The survey comprised the following crops: Potatoes, onions, common cabbage, carrots, strawberries, apples, meadows and pastureland, barley, oats, spring wheat, winter wheat and oil-seeds. These crops comprised about 97 percent of total agricultural area in use in 2017.

The population for the survey was 40 338 holdings applying governmental subsidies as per October 2017. The gross sample included 4 089 holdings. It was voluntary to respond the questionnaire. The survey as a whole had a response rate of 77.4 percent. However, the response rate varied significantly by crop, from 68.2 for onions to 83.1 for cabbage. When considering the results from this survey, one should bear in mind that pesticide use varies significantly from one year to another, mainly depending on weather conditions.

32 percent of the areas in the survey were treated with pesticides in 2017. Only 6 percent of meadows and pastureland were treated. Except for meadows and pastureland, the percentage of area treated with pesticides at least once varied by crop from 76 to almost 97. The proportion of onions areas treated were 76 percent and oil-seeds areas treated were 81 percent, while 82 percent of the carrots areas were treated. Furthermore, between 85 and 86 percent of apple tree plantations, cabbage and oats areas were treated with pesticides. 89 percent of barley areas were treated with pesticides. Among the remaining crops between 95 and 97 percent of the areas were sprayed.

Main types of pesticides used varied greatly by crop. Herbicides were used in all the specified crops. Fungicides were most common in onions, potatoes and wheat. The highest proportions of areas sprayed with insecticides were in cabbages, strawberry beds and apple tree plantations.

Treatment against weeds was mainly carried out in May and June. Some areas of grains and oil-seeds were treated after harvesting in September and October. Most areas of grains and oil-seeds were treated with fungicides in June and July. Onions were treated in June, July and August. The largest proportion of areas with carrots was treated in August. Potatoes were treated with fungicides mainly in July and August. Most of the treatments with insecticides were done in June and July. The survey results show that almost all areas were treated in accordance with recommended application rates or under this level.

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