Researchers at the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin (UCD) are carrying out research on the use of pesticides on Irish farms.

They are conducting a survey, which aims to collect views on the guidance for applying pesticides, and whether it is too strict, or not strict enough.

The survey also asks some general questions about how pesticides are used.

The survey will be live until May 23, 2022.

“How pesticides are applied is very important because it can change how safe they are for the health of the farmer, and the land they manage. So, it’s important that we know how farmers actually use pesticides,” a spokesperson for the research project said.

“Evidence from the US has found that farmers might not be fully protecting themselves from health risks, with just 8% using proper personal protective equipment like gloves and overalls where recommended.”

Similar research has never been carried out in an Irish or European context, so it is currently unknown whether similar behaviours are occurring here, the spokesperson said.

The UCD researchers are aiming to reach up to 2,000 farmers in order to get as broad a sample as possible. But anyone who’s ever used pesticides on an Irish farm – whether grassland or tillage – can take part.

Agricultural contractors, however, are not requested to complete the survey.

Results will be broken down by farm type, so industry-specific responses can be measured.

The survey takes just 10 minutes, and it is completely anonymous and confidential.