The EU Farm to Fork strategy plans to reduce the use of pesticides by 50% by 2030. With this in mind, AgriLand took a look at some of the statistics available here in Ireland on the use of plant protection products.

How a reduction in the use of pesticides will be carried out in Ireland is unclear. Over the next few days AgriLand will bring readers information on pesticide use in this country. Up first is sales data.

It should be noted that the figures below include sales of active ingredients for both professional and non-professional use.

Sales from 2013 to 2018

Figures from the Department of Agriculture, which examine plant protection product sales from 2013 to 2018, show that sales of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and plant growth regulators peaked in 2015.

The sales are calculated in tonnes of active ingredient sold.

Herbicides hit 2,482.2t of active ingredient sales in 2015 and declined each year to 2018 when it hit 1,833t.

Fungicides took a dramatic drop from 2015 to 2016; dropping from 687.7t to 596.6t and increasing again in 2017, but not to the same level.

2018 saw a reduction in the use of plant protection products overall, which was no doubt helped by the dry year.

The table below shows the tonnes of active ingredients sold of different pesticide products from 2013 to 2018.

Image source: DAFM

Herbicides account for the largest sales

Herbicides account for the largest area of sales. This will come as no surprise as herbicides have a use across all crops whether it be cereals, grassland, maize, beans, orchards or many others.

Herbicides are also commonly used by local authorities, amenities, sports grounds and gardeners.

However, fungicides, insecticides and growth regulators are limited to a small number of crops such as cereals, potatoes and legumes.

Non-professional use sales

AgriLand has reported figures from the Department of Agriculture which showed that 17% of all pesticides sold in Ireland in 2018 were sold for non-professional use.

450.7t of active ingredient out of a total 2,651t sold in 2018 were for non-professional use and are not regulated once they leave the point of sale. This is compared to professional users who follow strict regulations when applying pesticides.

Also Read: 17% of pesticides sold for non-professional use in Ireland

How do we compare to Europe?

A number of weeks ago, AgriLand published figures from Eurostat which showed that pesticide sales in Ireland were 28% less in 2018 than in 2011. Ireland had the second highest reduction in sales in that period. Portugal topped the list with a reduction of 43%.

In the same years, other countries had increased their pesticide sales. For example, Austria increased its sales by 53% and France by 39%.

Over the next few days, AgriLand will bring readers information on pesticide usage in Ireland on tillage, fodder and grass crops, along with information on pesticides not used in agriculture.