How Often Are Pesticides Used? 

The United States uses over 205 million pounds of pesticides each year. This number represents a slight decrease compared to the previous year. Sulfur, petroleum, 1,3-dichloropropene, glyphosate, and metam-potassium were the five most-used pesticides in 2017, accounting for nearly 23 percent of all pounds used. These chemicals are often used to control weeds and other types of insects, as well as to prevent the spread of diseases and pests.

(Searching in Google “Cockroach Exterminator Near Me“? Contact us today!)

Image of Termites

Crops with the greatest increase in pesticide use 

Pesticides are widely used in modern agriculture. They are a cost-effective way to boost crop yields, ensuring food security for an increasingly populated world. Globally, pesticides account for about 2 million tonnes of use, with China as the largest contributor. USA and Argentina are the next-largest contributors. By 2020, that amount is expected to grow to 3.5 million tonnes. However, pesticide use can have serious consequences due to its bio-magnification and persistence. 

The use of herbicides has decreased over the last decade. In the U.S., herbicide-resistant crops have reduced the use of 527 million pounds of insecticides, but their use has increased by 183 million kilograms or 404 million pounds, or about 7%. It is important to note that herbicide-resistant crops aren’t completely free of weeds, and many have emerged resistant to certain types of herbicides. Therefore, farmers are forced to increase their herbicide application rates, apply them more frequently, and use alternate modes of action. 

The use of herbicides on HR soybeans has increased by approximately 6% compared to the year before. The increase in herbicide use can be attributed to the presence of herbicide-resistant weeds. GE crops are a big contributor to increased pesticide use. According to Dr. Benbrook’s report, “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on U.S. Pesticide Use in the First Thirteen Years” published by USDA in 2009, GE crops have increased herbicide use by 383 million pounds in the U.S. over that time. 

Crops with the greatest decrease in pesticide use 

Compared to previous years, the number of pesticides used on various crops decreased most between 2016 and 2017. The biggest reductions were in the use of the two most common pesticides, glyphosate, and dicamba. These two chemicals are most commonly used on cotton, walnut, and orange. This decrease in use is because these crops have a higher demand than most other crops. 

The percent of acres treated with oil-based pesticides has increased since 2016, though acres treated with petroleum and mineral oils decreased in 2017. These oils are used as alternatives to more toxic pesticides and some organic farmers also use highly refined petroleum-based oils in their farming practices. Crops with the greatest decrease in pesticide use may also have more sensitive soils or different pest pressures. In general, the decrease in pesticide use was greatest among crops grown in the California Central Valley and the Sacramento region. 

The number of acres treated with pesticides for processing tomatoes decreased by 21 percent in 2017. The most commonly used nonadjuvants were 1,3-dichloropropene, chlorothalonil, and s-metolachlor. Fungicides were also widely used in these crops. Copper, flupyram, and propiconazole were the top five fungicides.