PESTICIDE usage in Scotland came under scrutiny this week.

Scotland’s chief statistician published three separate reports into farm chemical use – on arable crops and potato stores in 2016; on soft fruit crops in 2016; and rodenticide use on arable farms 2016.

The first report recorded that 98% of arable crops in Scotland were treated with a pesticide in 2016, with a total combined application weight of 1490 tonnes. Fungicides were the most frequently used pesticides on arable crops, followed by herbicides and insecticides.

Overall, this level of pesticide application was very similar to that reported in the previous survey in 2014. But for the first time, information was collected about grower adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) measures in relation to risk management, pest monitoring and pest control, whihc resulted in a 32% reduction in the volume of chemicals used.

In relation to pesticide use on stored potatoes, 47% of seed potatoes and 11% of ware potatoes were treated with a pesticide in 2016. These proportions are also the same as reported in 2014.

The second report found 94% of soft fruit crops in Scotland were treated with pesticides, with a total combined weight of 14.7 tonnes. Insecticides/acaricides and fungicides were the main pesticide types encountered.

The third report estimated that rodenticides were used on 78% of arable farms in 2016. Approximately 91 tonnes of rodenticide bait, containing less than five kg of active substance, was estimated to have been used. This was 19% lower than in the previous survey in 2014. The rodenticides encountered were almost exclusively second generation anticoagulant compounds.