Use of agricultural pesticides stable

Total use of chemical pesticides in arable and horticultural farming was stable between 2000 and 2004. In 2004 as well as in 2000, arable and horticultural farmers on average applied 6.6 kg of active agent per ha, as against 7.3 kg per ha in 1998.

Use of chemical pesticides by sector

Application rate down in arable farming, up in fruit farming

In 2004, the average application rate per ha in arable farming was nearly 6 percent down on 2000. The use of pesticides among fruit farmers, on the other hand, increased by 60 percent over the same period. In flower bulb cultivation and flower cultivation under glass the use was all but stable.

Use of chemical pesticides, groups

Reduced use of fungicides and insecticides

Over half of pesticides were applied to inhibit the spread of fungi. Application strongly depends on weather conditions and fell steadily in recent years to 3.5 kg per ha in 2004. One quarter of pesticides is used to curb weed spread. The use of weed killers has hardly changed since 1998, but is marginally higher than in 2000. Only 2 percent of pesticides were applied to kill or repel insects in 2004. The use of insecticides was cut down in recent years to 0.14 kg per ha. The application of other agents is slightly on the increase.

Use of chemical pesticides

use of pesticides in lily cultivation  

The highest pesticide use rate per ha is found in lily bulb cultivation, where large amounts have been commonly used for years: in 2004, the rate had increased by 20 percent compared to 2000. The application rate also increased for various other types of crops which already required large amounts of pesticides per ha. Currently, pear growers use more mineral oil to prevent the spread of insects. Mineral oil is sprayed on tree trunks early in the season. Thus, treatment with other agents, harmful to the natural enemies of plague insects, can be reduced later in the season (May and June). Pesticide use depends on the type of crop. For instance, pesticide application was reduced dramatically (by more than 30 percent) in tomato and paprika cultivation. After the use of solid sulphur was banned, sulphur is only applied in evaporated form, because this method requires a much smaller amount of active agent.

Kees Olsthoorn and Tom Loorij