Herbicides are applied to 92–97% of acreage planted in corn, cotton, soybeans, and citrus; 87% of potato acreage; three-fourths of vegetable acreage; and two-thirds of the acreage planted in apples and other fruit (ERS, 1997; see Table 2-1). Herbicide use is least extensive on winter wheat (56%). In contrast, insecticide use is much less widespread. Among row crops, insecticides are used most extensively in cotton, tobacco, and potatoes. About 30% of corn acreage is treated annually with insecticides, and insecticides are applied to 12% or less of wheat and soybean acreage. Insecticide use is quite prevalent, however, on fruit and vegetable crops. Nearly all apples, citrus, and potatoes and about 90% of other vegetable and other fruit crop acreage are treated with insecticides (ERS, 1997). Fungicide use is similarly highly prevalent on potatoes and fruit crops. Among row crops, only in cotton, tobacco and potato are fungicides used regularly; less than 10% of cotton acreage is typically treated with fungicides. The category “other pesticides ” includes defoliants, growth regulators, and soil fumigants, which are used widely on cotton and potatoes. Potatoes are particularly pesticide intensive—almost 90% of the acreage is treated, with fungicides and soil fumigants as the dominant types of treatment (ERS, 1997).

One measure of the intensity of pesticide use is reflected by calculat-

TABLE 2-1 Pesticide Use in US Row Crops, Fruits, and Vegetables

 

Proportion of Area Treated, %

Crop

Herbicide

Insecticide

Fungicide

Row cropsa

 

Maize

97

30

<1

Cotton

92

79

6

Soybean

97

1

<1

Winter wheat

56

12

1

Spring wheat

88

3

<1

Tobacco

75

96

49

Potato

87

83

89

Fruits and vegetablesb

 

Apple

63

98

93

Oranges

97

94

69

Peaches

66

97

97

Grapes

74

67

90

Tomato, fresh

52

94

91

Lettuce, head

60

100

77

aData for 1996. Fungicide amounts do not include seed treatments. Source: Agricultural Chemical Usage 1996 Field Crop Summary USDA September 1997.

bData for 1995. Source:Agricultural Statistics 1997, NASS Crop Branch (202) 720-2127.



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