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Pesticide Use on Planet (08/01/19)

The following image was an infographic developed from the FAO Statistical Yearbook, 2013 and developed by Stokstad and Grullon for Science, August 16, 2013, vol.341, issue 6147.

The following image was an infographic developed from the FAO Statistical Yearbook, 2013 and developed by Stokstad and Grullon for Science, August 16, 2013, vol.341, issue 6147. I found the image on social media recently and elected to write about it in Crop and Pest. The image depicts pesticide use including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.

There are several ways one can interpret the data based on your bias and perspective. Pesticide use ranged from 0.2 kg/ha in the countries of India and Mozambique to 59.4 kg/ha in the Bahamas. There did not appear to be any association between countries economic status and pesticide use. For example, pesticide use was 8.8 kg/ha in the Netherlands and 13.1 kg/ha in Japan. The authors suggested pesticide use was associated with education and training, the value of the crop produced and the environment where crops were produced. For example, Columbian coffee or tulips in the Netherlands.

The authors noted pesticide use was increasing in Asia, Central and South America and Eastern Europe. They attributed this increase to decreased price of older (generic) products which in some cases were less safe than more recently developed products that may be more expensive for the producer.

Finally, the authors suggested the lower use (decreased use) of pesticide in North America was attributed to development of biotech crops including Bt corn and cotton. Certainly, acceptance and widespread use of GMO technology in the United States and Canada has contributed to these totals. However, a word of caution. While pesticide use was less than 2.2 kg/ha in the United States and Canada, pesticide use still accounted for 20% of the world’s total in the United States, at least in 2007, the last years there were statistics.

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Tom Peters

Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist

NDSU & U of MN

 

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