First national maps of pesticide and fertiliser use

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Innovative new datasets, estimating the amount of pesticides and fertilisers used in each 1km square in England annually, have been produced by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

The data will provide researchers, water companies and policy-makers with more information on the likely extent of pesticide and fertiliser use across landscapes so they can work with the agricultural industry to develop more sustainable farming methods, including greater efficiency in agrochemical application.

John Redhead, Spatial Ecologist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said: “These sophisticated datasets are based on comprehensive modelling. They are the first of their kind to provide estimated usage rates of about 130 different pesticides and the main types of manufactured fertiliser at such a detailed resolution – 1km by 1km squares – on a national scale.”

The two new products, CEH Land Cover® plus Pesticides and CEH Land Cover® plus Fertilisers, will have a number of benefits. They will:

  • Enable researchers to make better informed assessments about relative chemical exposure risk to wildlife, including pollinating insects.
  • Provide water companies with indications of areas where there could be potential for chemical contamination of water courses through runoff, so they can work with farmers to reduce these risks.
  • Provide a sound evidence base to inform policies to support sustainable agriculture.

Mr Redhead says: “Many in the agricultural sector are concerned about increased regulation of pesticides and limited options for controlling pests. These datasets ensure researchers and policymakers can work with detailed information so future strategies and policies can be well designed to keep agriculture sustainable from the perspective of both the environment and the farmer.”

Read the full article on the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology website here.

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