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Pesticide Usage in Scotland

Published: 7 Oct 2015 09:30

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published three reports in relation to Pesticide Usage in Scotland. These were: Arable Crops and Potato Stores 2014, Soft Fruit Crops 2014 and Rodenticides on Arable Farms 2014.

Ninety eight per cent of arable crops were treated with pesticides, with a total combined application weight of 1,510 tonnes. Herbicides and fungicides were the main pesticide types encountered, applied to 95 and 94 per cent of the crop area respectively. Overall, the total area of pesticide formulations applied to arable crops, and the total weight used in 2014, was very similar to that reported in the previous survey in 2012. In relation to pesticide use on stored potatoes, 47 per cent of seed potatoes were treated with a pesticide in 2014, an increase from the 20 per cent treated in 2012. Conversely, 11 per cent of ware potatoes were treated with a pesticide, a decrease from the 35 per cent treated in 2012. Fungicides and plant growth regulators were the only pesticides encountered. The reasons for changes in pesticide use pattern on stored potatoes are complex but may have been influenced by disease levels, demand for high quality seed exports and consumer and industry pressure to reduce pesticide use in ware potatoes.

This is the first time that pesticide use has been reported together for both soft fruit crops grown in the open and under temporary and permanent protection. Previously crops grown under permanent protection were reported in the protected edible report and the production of a single report for pesticide use on soft fruit crops represents a significant improvement in data quality for users. Overall, 94 per cent of the soft fruit crop was treated with pesticides with a combined application weight of 24.5 tonnes. Insecticides/acaricides and fungicides were the main pesticide types encountered, applied to 87 and 85 per cent of the crop area respectively. There was little change in the area of pesticides applied in 2014 compared with the previous surveys (2011/12) although pesticide weight increased by seven per cent, primarily due to increased sulphur and herbicide applications.

It was estimated that rodenticides were used on 87 per cent of Scottish arable farms in 2014. Approximately 113 tonnes of rodenticide bait, containing less than six kg of active substance, was estimated to have been used. This is 13 per cent lower than in the previous survey in 2012. The rodenticides encountered were almost exclusively second generation anticoagulant compounds, primarily bromadiolone and difenacoum. Use of first generation anticoagulant rodenticides has been declining over time and this is the first survey in which their use has not been encountered.

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publications are available at:

Pesticide Usage in Scotland: Arable Crops and Potato Stores 2014

Pesticide Usage in Scotland: Soft Fruit Crops 2014

Pesticide Usage in Scotland: Rodenticides on Arable Farms 2014

These reports are part of a series of surveys which are produced to estimate pesticide usage in Scotland. Each crop report details pesticide usage in terms of weight, area and percentage of crop treated with pesticides. The Rodenticide report estimates rodenticide use on Scottish arable farms. Rodenticides are used to control rodents (rats and mice). Commentary is also provided on recent changes in survey data and longer term trends.

These statistics are used for a variety of purposes including informing Scottish Government Policy about the post-approval use of pesticides.

Further information on Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: