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More data on pesticide use required

Corn field

With pesticides more routinely used to coat seeds, farmers may unwittingly treat crops with more chemicals than needed.

11 May 2020

Using pesticides to coat seeds of major field crops is increasing, but the use of these products is under-reported. Researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology say that reliable data on pesticide use is needed by regulators, farmers and researchers to increase agricultural production and profitability, as well as protecting human health and the environment from the adverse impacts of pesticides.

Researchers point out that seeds are treated with a mix of different active ingredients and the treated seed is exempt from some labelling requirements.  The lack of information the researchers say, means that a significant portion of pesticide use, particularly for active ingredients that are applied almost exclusively as seed treatment, is not being captured.

This has implications for farmers who might be spraying a fungicide on crops that may already be present on the seed.  This could lead to greater use of fungicides than intended and ultimately cause the development of resistance in fungal populations. The researchers assert that without accurate information on the use of these chemicals, it is difficult to make effective regulatory decisions.

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