ArticlePDF Available
Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo
Richard Nehring
Craig Osteen
Seth Wechsler
Andrew Martin
Alex Vialou
Economic
Research
Service
Economic
Information
Bulletin
Number 124
May 2014
United States Department of Agriculture
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture:
21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008
Economic Research Service
www.ers.usda.gov
e U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on
the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and, where applicable, sex, marital status, familial
status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because
all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited
bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of
program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)
720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To le a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Oce of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence
Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA
is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
United States Department of Agriculture
Cover images: Shutterstock.
Use of commercial and trade names does not imply approval or constitute endorsement by USDA.
Access this report online:
www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib124.aspx
Download the charts contained in this report:
Go to the report’s index page www.ers.usda.gov/publications/
eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib124.aspx
Click on the bulleted item “Download eib124.zip”
Open the chart you want, then save it to your computer
Recommended citation format for this publication:
Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, Richard Nehring, Craig Osteen, Seth Wechsler, Andrew
Martin, and Alex Vialou. Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008,
EIB-124, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, May 2014.
United States Department of Agriculture
Economic
Research
Service
Economic
Information
Bulletin
Number 124
May 2014
Abstract
Pesticide use has changed considerably over the past five decades. Rapid growth char-
acterized the first 20 years, ending in 1981. The total quantity of pesticides applied to
the 21 crops analyzed grew from 196 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients in
1960 to 632 million pounds in 1981. Improvements in the types and modes of action of
active ingredients applied along with small annual fluctuations resulted in a slight down-
ward trend in pesticide use to 516 million pounds in 2008. These changes were driven
by economic factors that determined crop and input prices and were influenced by pest
pressures, environmental and weather conditions, crop acreages, agricultural practices
(including adoption of genetically engineered crops), access to land-grant extension
personnel and crop consultants, the cost-effectiveness of pesticides and other practices in
protecting crop yields and quality, technological innovations in pest management systems/
practices, and environmental and health regulations. Emerging pest management policy
issues include the development of glyphosate-resistant weed populations associated with
the large increase in glyphosate use since the late 1990s, the development of Bt-resistant
western corn rootworm in some areas, and the arrival of invasive or exotic pest species,
such as soybean aphid and soybean rust, which can influence pesticide use patterns and
the development of Integrated Pest Management programs.
Acknowledgments
The authors thank Marc Ribaudo and James MacDonald, USDA, Economic Research
Service; Sheryl Kunickis, David Epstein, Julius Fajardo, and Teung Chin, USDA, Office
of Pest Management Policy; Cynthia Doucoure, U.S. EPA; Scott Swinton, Michigan State
University; and David Shaw, Mississippi State University. We are grateful to Dale Simms
for valuable editorial assistance and Cynthia A. Ray for graphics and layout.
Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo, Richard Nehring,
Craig Osteen, Seth Wechsler, Andrew Martin,
and Alex Vialou
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture:
21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008
ii
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Contents
Summary .....................................................................iii
Introduction ....................................................................1
Data ........................................................................2
Box 1—Agricultural Pests and Pesticides ...........................................2
Economic Factors Influencing Pesticide Use. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Farmers’ Choice of Pesticides ....................................................7
Box 2—Pesticide Expenditures ...................................................9
Trends in Pesticide Use ..........................................................11
Early Growth Driven by Herbicide Adoption for Major Crops ..........................11
Herbicide Adoption Driven by Relative Prices ......................................15
Stabilization of Herbicide Use and Decline in Insecticide Use Driven by Demand
and Supply Factors ...........................................................16
Box 3—Pesticide Prices and Relative Price Trends ...................................17
Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Transform Herbicide Mix ..................................19
Insecticide Use Declines as Herbicides Grow .......................................22
Fungicides Used Mainly on Fruits and Vegetables ...................................26
Cotton and Potatoes Are Major Users of Other Pesticides ..............................26
Five Major Crops Account for Four-Fifths of Pesticides Use ............................27
Pesticide Quality .............................................................27
Box 4—Quality Adjustment of Pesticides ..........................................28
Conclusion ....................................................................30
References ....................................................................32
Appendix 1—Human Health Effects and Pesticide Regulation .........................40
Appendix 2—Data Sources ......................................................42
Appendix 3—The Economics of Pesticide Use .......................................59
Appendix 4—Trends in Pesticide Use on Five Major Crops ............................62
Corn Pesticide Trends .........................................................62
Soybean Pesticide Trends .......................................................66
Cotton Pesticide Trends ........................................................69
Potato Pesticide Trends ........................................................72
Wheat Pesticide Trends ........................................................74
www.ers.usda.gov
What Is the Issue?
Pesticides—including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides—have contributed to substantial
increases in crop yields over the past five decades. Properly applied, pesticides contribute to higher
yields and improved product quality by controlling weeds, insects, nematodes, and plant pathogens.
In addition, herbicides reduce the amount of labor, machinery, and fuel used for mechanical weed
control. However, because pesticides may possess toxic properties, their use often prompts concern
about human health and environmental consequences. The examination of pesticide use trends
is critical for informed pesticide policy debate and science-based decisions. This report analyzes
pesticide use trends using a new pesticide database compiled from USDA and proprietary data,
focusing on 21 crops.
What Did the Study Find?
Total pesticide use, as well as the specific active ingredients used (for example, with novel target sites
of action or improved toxicological profiles), has changed considerably over the past five decades.
Pesticide use on the 21 crops analyzed in this report rose rapidly from 196 million pounds of active
ingredient (a.i.) in 1960 to 632 million pounds in 1981, largely because of the increased share of
planted acres treated with herbicides to control weeds. In addition, the total planted acreage of corn,
wheat, and, in particular, soybeans increased from the early 1960s to early 1980s, which further
increased herbicide use. Most acres planted with major crops (particularly corn and soybeans)
were already being treated with herbicides by 1980, so total pesticide use has since trended slightly
downward driven by other factors, to 516 million pounds in 2008 (the most recent year for which
we have enough complete data).
The rapid adoption of herbicides was mainly driven by relative price declines that helped reduce
the cost of herbicides relative to other pest control practices and encouraged substitution of herbi-
cides for labor, fuel, and machinery use in mechanical weed control. The fluctuations in pesticide
use over 1982-2008 were driven by several factors, including changes in planted acreage, crop and
input prices, weather, pesticide regulations, and the introduction of new pesticides and genetically
engineered (GE) seed. Changes in the acreages of corn, cotton, soybeans, potatoes, and wheat
contributed to fluctuations in pesticide use from 1981 to 2008, with many high and low years in
herbicide and pesticide use coinciding with high and low years in total acreage of these crops.
The pesticide types applied by U.S. farmers for the 21 crops analyzed changed considerably from
1960 to 2008. Insecticides accounted for 58 percent of pounds applied in 1960, but only 6 percent
in 2008. On the other hand, herbicides accounted for 18 percent of the pounds applied in 1960 but
76 percent by 2008. The growth of herbicide use is also illustrated by the percent of acres treated.
United States Department of Agriculture
A report summary from the Economic Research Service May 2014
ERS is a primary source
of economic research and
analysis from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture,
providing timely informa-
tion on economic and policy
issues related to agriculture,
food, the environment, and
rural America.
Find the full report
at www.ers.usda.
gov/publications/eib-
economic-information-
bulletin/eib-124.aspx
Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo
Richard Nehring
Craig Osteen
Seth Wechsler
Andrew Martin
Alex Vialou
Economic
Research
Service
Economic
Information
Bulletin
Number 124
May 2014
United States Department of Agriculture
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture:
21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008
Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo, Richard Nehring, Craig Osteen,
Seth Wechsler, Andrew Martin, and Alex Vialou
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture:
21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008
Approximately 5-10 percent of corn, wheat, and cotton acres were treated with herbicides in 1952. By 1980, herbicide
use had reached 90-99 percent of U.S. corn, cotton, and soybean acres planted. Notably, the four most heavily used
active ingredients in 2008 (glyphosate, atrazine, acetochlor, and metolachlor) were all herbicides. Fungicides’ share
of pesticide use has remained at 7 percent or less since 1971, down from 11-13 percent in the early 1960s. Other pesti-
cides—which include soil fumigants, desiccants, harvest aids, and plant growth regulators—generally accounted for
5-11 percent of total pesticide use from 1960 to 1992, increased to 17 percent of use in 2002, and then declined to 13
percent in 2008.
Tota l pesticide expenditures in U.S. agriculture reached close to $12 billion in 2008, a 5-fold increase in real terms
(adjusted for inflation) since 1960, but well below the $15.4-billion peak reached in 1998.
In 2008, corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, and potatoes accounted for about 80 percent of the pesticide quantity (measured
in pounds of a.i.) applied to the 21 crops examined. Corn has been the top pesticide-using crop in the United States since
1972 and received about 39 percent of the pesticides in 2008 (mostly herbicides). While corn is a major component of
livestock feed, expansion of ethanol production for fuel use has boosted corn acres in recent years. The increase in corn
acreage led to an increase in pesticide use and change in the active ingredients used. The change in active ingredients
also reflects increased glyphosate use associated with the adoption of HT crops.
Soybean production had the next largest share in 2008 (22 percent), almost all of which were herbicides. Potatoes
share rose significantly in the 1990s and reached about 10 percent by 2008. Other pesticides, including soil fumigants
and desiccants, constituted a large portion of the pesticides applied to potatoes in 2008. Cotton accounted for just over
7 percent of the pesticides, mostly insecticides, in 2008, a major reduction from its 40-percent share in the early 1960s.
The quantity applied to cotton trended downward since 1972 due to the replacement of DDT and other older insecticides
with more effective products, eradication of the boll weevil, and adoption of Bt cotton. Wheat accounted for less than 5
percent of the pesticides, mostly herbicides, in 2008.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The study analyzes a new pesticide database that was compiled from pesticide use surveys carried out by USDA’s National
Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Economic Research Service (ERS), supplemented by proprietary data provided
by a market research company to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and shared with ERS under an agree-
ment between the two agencies.
The data were collected for 1960-2008
and focus on 21 crops: apples, barley,
corn, cotton, grapefruit, grapes,
lemons, lettuce, peaches, peanuts,
pears, pecans, potatoes, oranges,
rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugarcane,
sweet corn, tomatoes, and wheat.
These crops account for roughly 72
percent of total conventional pesticide
use in U.S. agriculture. This report
discusses “conventional” pesticides
defined by the EPA as substances
developed and produced primarily
or only for use as pesticides and
excludes sulfur, petroleum distillate,
sulfuric acid, and hydrated lime. In
addition to data described above, the
study used pesticide expenditure data
covering all U.S. agriculture drawn
from ERS publications.
www.ers.usda.gov
Pesticide use by crop, 21 selected crops, 2008, percent total pounds of
active ingredient applied
Note: "Other Crops" include: lettuce, pears, sweet corn, barley, peaches, grapefruit, pecans,
and lemons.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
Corn
39.5%
Soybeans
21.7%
Potatoes
10.2%
Cotton
7.3%
4.5%
2.7%
2.5%
2.0%
1.9%
1.5%
1.5% 1.4%
0.8%
2.5%
Wheat
Sorghum
Oranges
Peanuts
Tomatoes
Grapes
Rice
Apples
Sugarcane
Other Crops
1
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture:
21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008
Introduction
Prior to World War II, farmers managed pests using cultural practices and a few inorganic pesti-
cides (see box, “Agricultural Pests and Pesticides”). After World War II, new, synthetic organic
materials—such as the insecticide DDT and the herbicide 2,4-D—enhanced farmers’ pest control
options. These pesticides made crop production more efficient by providing superior crop protection
and reducing the need for tillage (Padgitt et al., 2000).
Pesticides, together with fertilizers and improved seed varieties, have contributed to substantial
increases in crop yields over the last 80 years. Average corn yields rose from 20 bushels per acre in
1930 to more than 150 bushels per acre in recent years. During the same period, cotton yields rose
nearly fourfold, and soybean yields increased more than threefold (Fernandez-Cornejo, 2004).
Pesticides are used to prevent or manage pests such as weeds, insects, and plant pathogens, while
reducing the amount of labor, fuel, and machinery used for pest control (Osteen and Szmedra, 1989;
Fernandez-Cornejo et al., 1998; Gardner et al., 2009). These benefits translate into lower produc-
tion costs, higher crop yields and/or quality, and increased profits for farmers. The benefits for U.S.
farmers are evidenced by their willingness to spend approximately $12 billion on pesticides in
2008 (USDA/ERS, 2010b). Many consumers also benefit from abundant, and relatively inexpen-
sive, unblemished foods (Fernandez-Cornejo et al., 1998).1 However, not all consumers feel that the
benefits of heavier reliance on pesticide use outweigh the costs, accounting for the recent growth in
organically grown food sales.
The benefits of pesticide use are accompanied by potential risks to human health and the environ-
ment. Human health risks can result from direct exposure of farm workers to pesticides or from
consumer exposure to pesticide residues on foods.2 Environmental risks can result from the move-
ment of pesticides into ground and surface water and into the food chain (Council of Environmental
Quality, 1993).
By the 1960s, concerns about wildlife and human health led to calls for more stringent pesticide
regulation. In 1972, Congress empowered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
review the safety of existing pesticides (table 1). The EPA determined that some pesticides, such
as DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane, and heptachlor, posed unreasonable risks and their registra-
tions were subsequently canceled. Other compounds faced rigorous scrutiny in the 1990s and
2000s, as the EPA required additional studies of individual chemicals’ toxicity and focused on the
human health risks associated with pesticide residues (see Appendix 1, “Human Health Effects and
Pesticide Regulation”).
1By controlling insects, diseases, and other pests, pesticides can provide less costly food that is also free from harmful
organisms and blemishes.
2The EPA sets pesticide residue limits (known as tolerances) on food to protect consumers from harmful levels of
pesticides (EPA, 2008).
2
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
This report examines trends in pesticide use in U.S. agriculture from 1960 to 2008 focusing on 21
crops that account for more than 70 percent of pesticide use and identifies the factors affecting these
trends. The report also provides a detailed analysis of trends for the five crops that represent the
largest users of pesticides: corn, cotton, potatoes, soybeans, and wheat.
Data
The data were compiled from pesticide use surveys carried out by USDAs Economic Research
Service (ERS) and National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as well as from proprietary data
provided by a market research company to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and shared
with ERS under an agreement between the two agencies (proprietary data for short). This report
only uses published EPA estimates of aggregate pesticide use for comparison, because the EPA does
not publish estimates of pesticide use for individual crops, as this report does.
The ERS surveys covered various crops and were conducted mainly in the 1960s and 1970s (Eichers
et al., 1968, Eichers et al., 1970, Andrilenas, 1974; Eichers et al., 1978, Delvo et al., 1983; USDA/
ERS, 1984). The NASS pesticide surveys (USDA/NASS, various years) began in 1990, but not all
crops were covered every year.
Agricultural Pests and Pesticides
From the point of view of agriculture, pests are “organisms that diminish the value of resources
in which man is interested as they interfere with the production and utilization of crops and live-
stock” used for food and fiber (NRC, 1975). The term pest includes insects, mites, nematodes,
plant pathogens, weeds, and vertebrates. Pests can reduce crop yields or quality of production,
while costs of managing pests increase production costs.
The term pesticide includes the substances used to control pests. It includes herbicides (to control
weeds and other plants), insecticides (to control insects), fungicides (to control fungi or other
plant pathogens), nematicides (to control parasitic worms), and rodenticides (to control rodents).
The term pesticide also encompasses soil fumigants, plant growth regulators, defoliants, and
desiccants. Pesticides can be synthetic (developed in laboratories and manufactured) or natural.
According to a study conducted using 1996 data (Fernandez-Cornejo and Jans, 1999), weeds
are by far the most important pests in U.S. agriculture in terms of the share of treatments used
to control them.
The active chemicals used to control pests (the biologically active part of the pesticide) are
called pesticide active ingredients. Pesticides are sold as mixtures of these active ingredi-
ents with inert materials used to improve safety and facilitate storage, handling, or application.
Appendix table 1.2 provides a list of the pesticide active ingredients included in this report. All
pounds of pesticides referred to in this report are in terms of active ingredients.
The term pesticide used in this report includes what EPA defines as “conventional pesticides”
(EPA, 2011). This means pesticides that are chemicals or other substances developed and
produced primarily or only for use as pesticides. It excludes sulfur, petroleum oil and other
chemicals used as pesticides (for example, sulfuric acid, hydrated lime, and insect repellents).
3
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Tab l e 1
Basic Pesticide Legislation
The Insecticide Act of 1910 – Prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transport of adulterated or misbranded pesti-
cides; protected farmers and ranchers from marketing of ineffective products.
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FFDCA) – Provided that safe tolerances be set for residues of
unavoidable poisonous substances, such as pesticides, in food.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act of 1947 (FIFRA) – Required pesticides to be registered
before sale and the product labeled to specify content and whether the substance was poisonous.
Miller Amendment to FFDCA of 1954 – Amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA)
to require that tolerances for pesticide residues be established (or exempted) for food and feed (Section 408).
Allowed consideration of risks and benefits in setting tolerances.
Food Additives Amendment to FFDCA of 1958 – Amended FFDCA to give authority to regulate food addi-
tives against a general safety standard that does not consider benefits (Section 409); included the Delaney Clause
prohibiting food additives found to induce cancer in humans or animals. Pesticide residues in processed foods
were classified as food additives, while residues on raw commodities were not. When residues of a pesticide
applied to a raw agricultural commodity appeared in a processed product, the residues in processed foods were
not to be regulated as food additives if levels were no higher than sanctioned on the raw commodity.
FIFRA Amendments of 1964 – Increased authority to remove pesticide products from the market for safety
reasons by authorizing denial or cancellation of registration and the immediate suspension of a registration, if
necessary, to prevent an imminent hazard to the public.
Federal Environmental Pest Control Act (FEPCA) of 1972 – Amended FIFRA to significantly increase
authority to regulate pesticides. Allowed registration of a pesticide only if it did not cause ”unreasonable adverse
effects” to human health or the environment; required an examination of the safety of all previously registered
pesticide products within 4 years using new health and environmental protection criteria. Materials with risks
that exceeded those criteria were subject to cancellation of registration. Specifically included consideration of
risks and benefits in these decisions.
FIFRA Amendment of 1975 – Required consideration of the effects of registration cancellation or suspension on
the production and prices of relevant agricultural commodities.
Federal Pesticide Act of 1978 – Identified review of previously registered pesticides as reregistration; eliminated
the deadline for reregistration but required an expeditious process.
FIFRA Amendments of 1988 – Accelerated the reregistration process by requiring that all pesticides containing
active ingredients registered before November 1, 1984, be reregistered by 1995; provided EPA with additional
financial resources through reregistration and annual maintenance fees levied on pesticide registrations.
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) – Amended FIFRA and FFDCA to set a consistent safety stan-
dard for risks from pesticide residues in foods: “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result
to infants and children from aggregate exposure.” Pesticide residues are no longer subject to the Delaney Clause
of FDCA; both fresh and processed foods may contain residues of pesticides classified as carcinogens at tolerance
levels determined to be safe. EPA was required to reassess existing tolerances of pesticides within 10 years, with
priority to pesticides that may pose the greatest risk to public health. Benefits no longer have a role in setting new
tolerances, but may have a limited role in decisions concerning existing tolerances. Included special provisions to
encourage registration of minor-use and public health pesticides.
Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2003 – Amended FIFRA to provide for the enhanced review of
covered pesticide products, to authorize service fees for registration actions in the Antimicrobials, Biopesticides
and Pollution Prevention, and Registration Divisions of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.
4
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
The dataset aggregates pesticides applied by year, State, crop, and active ingredient (a.i.). When both
USDA and proprietary data are available, ERS and NASS data are used. Proprietary data are used
when USDA data are not available. If neither USDA data nor proprietary data are available for a
specific year, crop, State, and active ingredient, estimates are made based on application rates (e.g.,
pounds of a.i. per acre) from contiguous years and planted acres reported by USDA (see appendix
table 2.1 for a list of main sources). ERS did not have access to the proprietary data needed to esti-
mate pesticide quantities beyond 2008 using this method.
The 21 (7 major and 14 minor) crops included in this report —apples, barley, corn, cotton, grape-
fruit, grapes, lemons, lettuce, peaches, peanuts, pears, pecans, fall potatoes, oranges, rice, sorghum,
soybeans, sugarcane, sweet corn, tomatoes, and wheat—account, on average, for 72 percent of the
total conventional pesticide use in U.S. agriculture (including all crops) as estimated by EPA from
1964 through 2007 (EPA, 1999, 2011). Additional information is included in Appendix 2.
This report also contains charts showing trends in the share of acreages treated with major pesti-
cide types for cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, and potatoes to provide insight into factors influencing
trends in pesticide quantities. These charts only include published NASS estimates and linear inter-
polations between published estimates for years when NASS estimates were not available, because
the estimates were difficult to obtain from the proprietary data.
In addition to data described above, the study used pesticide expenditure data covering all U.S.
agriculture developed for annual farm income accounts (USDA/ERS, 2010b). Additionally, a set of
physical characteristics was obtained for nearly 200 of the active ingredients (appendix table 2.2)
used in corn, cotton, sorghum, and soybean production (Wauchope et al., 1992; Kellogg et al., 2002)
to illustrate the estimation of quality-adjusted indices for pesticide prices and quantities for four
major crops.3
This report discusses conventional pesticides, defined by EPA as “chemicals or other substances
developed and produced primarily or only for use as pesticides” (EPA, 2011). Conventional pesti-
cides exclude chemicals “that are produced and marketed mostly for other purposes (i.e. multi-use
chemicals).” Notably, this report excludes sulfur, petroleum distillate products, sulfuric acid, and
hydrated lime. This report maintains consistency with previous ERS reports and comparability of
these 1960-2008 estimates with the EPA 1964-2007 agricultural pesticide use estimates.4 (Unlike
this report, which focuses on crop-specific pesticide use, EPA reports estimates of pesticide use
for the whole agricultural sector.) Previous ERS pesticide use reports either separated sulfur and
petroleum use estimates from conventional pesticides, or did not report their use; ERS summaries
of national pesticide use surveys for 1964, 1966, 1971, and 1976 separated sulfur and petroleum use
from conventional pesticide use, while the 1982 summary did not report their use.
Among previous USDA pesticide use reports, Osteen and Szmedra (1989) discussed trends in
agricultural chemical use through 1982; Lin et al. (1995) discussed trends for 11 crops from 1964
through 1992, and Livingston and Osteen (2012) provided a brief summary of pesticide use for 5
major crops using NASS data, all excluding sulfur and petroleum in their pesticide use summaries.
3Pesticide quality has changed as materials more effective and less harmful to human health and the environment have
been introduced while others have been banned or dropped by their manufacturers (Fernandez-Cornejo and Jans, 1995).
4EPA estimates also exclude pesticides on treated seed or applied as seed treatments, because neither the USDA nor the
proprietary data include this information. While large acreages of corn, cotton, and soybeans may be planted with treated
seed, the contribution to aggregate pesticide quantity is small.
5
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Similarly, EPA’s 1964-2007 series of national estimates of conventional pesticide use excludes sulfur
and petroleum, as well as other chemicals used as pesticides (such as sulfuric acid and insect repel-
lants), wood preservatives, specialty biocides, and chlorine/hypochlorites.5
5EPA publishes a time series that includes sulfur, petroleum, and other non-conventional pesticides, but only for 1979-
2007 and no breakdown by crop.
6
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Economic Factors Influencing Pesticide Use
Pesticide patterns, including changes in aggregate pesticide use and active ingredients applied, have
been influenced by a number of factors over the last 50 years. Major factors affecting the demand
and/or the supply of pesticides include:
• Pest infestation levels. Commonly, at low densities, a pest causes little or no damage to agri-
culture, but potentially pests “can erupt to population densities that cause devastations of entire
crops” (NRC, 1989, p. 27). From an economic viewpoint, an agricultural pest is an “animal or
plant pathogen whose population density exceeds some unacceptable threshold level, resulting in
economic damage” (Horn, 1988).
• Technical improvements that increase pesticide effectiveness and/or reduce environment/ human
health consequences. For example, the development of new chemistries for herbicides such as
the very active sulfonylureas and imidazolinones in the 1980s and 1990s reduced the application
rates from multiple pounds per acre to a few ounces, or even fractions of an ounce. Similarly,
low-use-rate insecticide compounds were introduced, such as synthetic pyrethroids (permethrin,
cypermethrin) in the mid-1970s and neo-nicotinoids (imidicloprid, clothianidin) in the mid-
1990s, increasing effectiveness.
The use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices by U.S. farmers, including crop rota-
tions, mixing or alternating pesticides to reduce development of pest resistance to pesticides,
biological monitoring of pests to better understand population densities and phenological develop-
ment, predictive models that use local weather conditions along with pest phenology to optimize
spray timings, improved and more accurate spray technologies, the optimization of planting and
harvest dates, and the use of beneficial insects (Fernandez-Cornejo and Jans, 1999).
The adoption of genetically engineered (GE) crops, including herbicide-tolerant corn, soybeans,
and cotton, as well as insect-resistant corn and cotton (Fernandez-Cornejo and Caswell, 2004).
GE seeds have genes that provide specific traits such as herbicide tolerance (HT) and insect resis-
tance. HT crops tolerate potent herbicides, allowing adopters of these varieties to control perva-
sive weeds more effectively. Insect-resistant (Bt) crops contain genes from the soil bacterium
Bacillus thuringiensis that produce a protein toxic to specific insects, protecting the plant over its
entire life (Fernandez-Cornejo and McBride, 2002).
The use of conservation practices that yield environmental benefits and reduce soil erosion but
may or may not increase pesticide use (Fuglie, 1999). For example, the adoption of conserva-
tion tillage by U.S. soybean growers rose from about 30 percent in 1996 to 63 percent in 2006
(Fernandez-Cornejo et al., 2012).6 Glyphosate use has been associated with use of conservation
tillage as it replaced more intensive tillage.
• Pesticide regulations. For example, the ban of DDT forced growers to use different insecticides
and pesticide producers to develop new crop protection products (Osteen, 1987).
6Conservation tillage includes no-till and reduced till. No-till is often considered the most effective of all conservation
tillage systems. Soybean farmers adopted no-till in 45 percent of their planted acres in 2006 (Horowitz et al., 2010).
7
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
• Changes in crop acreage. Aggregate pesticide use has increased during periods of increasing
planted acreage, and decreased during periods of decreasing acreage. Acreage planted reflects
farm policy and economic factors that influence crop demand. In particular, changes in acreage
under diversion programs and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) influenced the acreage
in crop production and thus pesticide use.7
• Increased corn acreage. While corn is a major component of livestock feed, expansion of
ethanol production for fuel use since the early 2000s, reflecting energy policy, boosted corn acres
even further (Westcott, 2007). The increase in corn acreage led to an increase in pesticide use
and change in the active ingredients used. The change in active ingredients also reflects increased
glyphosate use associated with the adoption of HT crops.
In addition, many factors indirectly influence pesticide use, such as weather, cultivar susceptibility
or resistance to pests or disease, and consumer demand for blemish-free produce that encourages
growers to apply pesticide materials even when their IPM monitoring indicates otherwise. Other
factors include commodity prices as well as the prices of other inputs such as labor and machinery.
Farmers’ Choice of Pesticides
According to economic efficiency criteria, farmers choose the combination of pest control prac-
tices that maximizes the difference between pest damage reductions and control costs (Osteen and
Szmedra, 1989).
In contrast to other inputs such as fertilizers, capital, and labor, which affect yields directly, pesti-
cides have an indirect effect on yields by reducing crop losses (NRC, 2002). The damage control
framework developed by Lichtenberg and Zilberman (1986) recognizes this. This framework
assumes that the observed yield (effective yield) is equal to the potential yield (that would obtain
in the absence of the damage caused by pests) minus the losses caused by damaging agents (pests).
Yield losses from pests are affected by the pest infestation levels (sometimes called pest density) and
by the effectiveness of the pest control inputs in managing the infestation (see Appendix 3, “The
Economics of Pesticide Use”).
Relative to yields prevailing at the time, estimates obtained in the 1970s and 1980s found that the
expected losses from insects and plant pathogens without the use of insecticides and fungicides
ranged between 1 percent and 26 percent for large-acreage crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat.
Peanuts, fruits, and vegetables were estimated to have higher yield losses (Fernandez-Cornejo et al.,
1998). Crop losses from weeds not treated with herbicides ranged from 0 to 53 percent for the crops
studied. Losses from all pests without pesticides ranged from 24 to 79 percent.
Older estimates reported by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 1975) estimated
global crop losses to pests at around 35 percent. As Yudelman et al. (1998) reported, FAO “estimated
that preharvest losses in developing countries were around 40 percent, while postharvest losses
added a further 10 to 20 percent.” More recently, Oerke (2006) estimated that, without pest control,
production would decline worldwide by 54 percent for corn (maize), 46 percent for soybeans,
7Historically, economists argued that pr ice and income support and acreage diversion programs encouraged more
intensive pesticide use per acre, but changes in farm legislation since 1977 have decreased those incentives (Osteen and
Fernandez-Cornejo, 2013). Also, some economists have argued that crop insurance could discourage pesticide use, but
empirical evidence is mixed. There is some evidence that crop insurance, including subsidized premiums, encourages
producers to grow higher value crops and increase pesticide use (Wu, 1999; Claassen et al., 2011).
8
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
75 percent for cotton, 58 percent for potatoes, and 30 percent for wheat, relative to production
prevailing in 2001-03.8 Still, with the exception of controlled experiments, in most cases the estima-
tion of the impact of a treatment is difficult, as they would require us to observe the counterfactual.
Thus, caution should be exercised when considering these estimates.
Pesticide Expenditures
Pesticide expenditures are correlated with pesticide use. Expenditures for all pesticides used in U.S.
agriculture expressed in nominal terms increased steadily through most of the last half-century.
In real terms (adjusted for inflation) expenditures increased from $2.3 billion in 1960 to about $10
billion in the 1980s. Expenditures peaked at $15.4 billion in 1998 before falling to approximately
$12 billion in 2008 (see box, “Pesticide Expenditures”).
The cost share of pesticides (relative to all input costs) peaked at 4.0 percent in 1998, up from 0.7
percent in 1960 and 1.6 percent in 1970 (see box, “Pesticide Expenditures”). This trend reflects
the rapid growth in pesticide use in this period. Between 1998 and 2008, the pesticide cost share
declined to about 3.1 percent, reflecting a slowdown in the rate of increase in pesticide prices. Even
when pesticide use is high, as in the peak year of 1998, pesticides represent a minor cost component
in U.S. agriculture. That year, labor accounted for 20.4 percent, fertilizer for 4.5 percent, land for
12.5 percent, and capital for 12.1 percent of agricultural costs (box table 2).
8Oerke (2006) also estimated production losses relative to attainable production, which consisted of actual losses
that would occur with current pest control practices, additional losses without pest control, and remaining production
without pest control. So, actual production was attainable yield minus actual (or current) losses. Oerke estimated that
production would decline without pest control practices, relative to attainable production in 2001-03, by 37 percent for
corn (maize), 34 for soybeans, 53 percent for cotton, 35 percent for potatoes, and 22 percent for wheat. The estimates did
not account for any producer adjustments in response to changing costs and market prices.
9
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Pesticide Expenditures
Nominal expenditures on all pesticides used in U.S. agriculture (box fig. 2.1), increased steadily
through most of the last half-century. In real terms (constant 2008 dollars, adjusted for inflation),
pesticide expenditures increased five-fold between 1960 and 2008. However, 2008 expenditures
remain well below the 1998 peak (in real terms).
Per-acre pesticide expenditures vary widely, generally increasing with the per acre value of the
crop. For example, while corn and soybean farmers spend between $17 and $26 per acre, cotton
farmers spend more than $65 per acre, and producers of potatoes (a high-value commodity)
spend nearly $200 per acre (box table 2.1). Pesticide expenditures for many fruits and vegeta-
bles are even higher—$842 per acre for tomatoes and $1,588 per acre for strawberries in 1994
(Fernandez et al., 1998).
Box figure 2.1
Pesticide expenditures in U.S. agriculture, 1960-2008
Source: Data from USDA/ERS (2010b). Deflator: Index of Prices Paid by Farmers from USDA/NASS’
Agricultural Prices Summary (various years).
Billion $
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
Nominal
Real (2008 dollars)
Box table 2.1
Value of the average product of pesticides for selected crops and years
Item
Corn
2001
Corn
2005
Potatoes
2008
Soybeans
2002
Cotton
2003
Sorghum
2003
Wheat
2004
Pesticide expenditure,
$ per acre 26.44 22.84 193.62 17.12 65.81 17.32 22.84
Yield, unit per acre
(bu, lb, cwt)114 4 149 395 40 742 47 39.8
Price, $ per unit 1.8 4 1.74 7. 0 0 5.20 0.66 2.25 3.44
Total revenues,
$ per acre 265 259 2,765 208 490 106 137
Average value
product, $ of revenue
per $ of pesticide
expenditure
10.02 11. 3 5 14. 28 12.14 7. 4 4 6 .11 5.99
1Bushels for corn, soybeans, sorghum and wheat; cwt (100 pounds) for potatoes, lb (pounds) for cotton.
Source: ERS analysis of selected USDA Agricultural Resource Management Surveys (ARMS), Cost of Production
Surveys and Costs and Returns Reports and proprietary pesticide data.
10
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
At the national level, the cost share of pesticides (relative to all input costs, box table 2.2)
peaked at 4.0 percent in 1998, up from 0.7 percent in 1960 and 1.6 percent in 1970. This trend
reflects the rapid growth in pesticide use, particularly in herbicide applications on major field
crops, since 1960 (see Appendix 1). Between 1998 and 2008, the pesticide cost share declined
to about 3.1 percent, reflecting a slowdown in the rate of increase in pesticide prices. Thus, even
when pesticide use is high, as in the peak year of 1998, pesticides represent a minor cost compo-
nent in U.S. agriculture. That year, labor accounted for 20.4 percent, fertilizer for 4.5 percent,
land for 12.5 percent, and capital for 12.1 percent of agricultural costs (box table 2.2). Other
intermediate inputs, such as fuel and feed, account for the remaining cost shares.
Box table 2.2
Cost shares in U.S. agriculture (percent)
Yea r Labor Capital Land
Intermediate inputs
All intermediate
Inputs1Pesticides Fertilizer
2008 16 .1 8.3 18.8 58.5 3 .1 5.8
2005 21.7 9.6 14.7 54.0 3.2 4.2
2000 22.3 13.4 8.8 55.5 3.7 3.8
1998 20.4 12.1 12.5 55.0 4.0 4.5
199 0 17. 3 14.0 19.0 49.8 2.6 4.1
1985 15 .1 2 0 .1 14.8 50.0 2.5 5.7
1970 21.5 12.9 15.2 50.4 1.6 3.8
1960 21.8 10.0 19.2 49.1 0.7 2.9
1Intermediate inputs include pesticides, fertilizers, fuels, seeds, and other materials.
Source: ERS calculations from the productivity accounts (USDA/ERS, 2010).
11
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Trends in Pesticide Use
Pesticide use has changed considerably over the past five decades (fig. 1; table 2). Rapid growth in
pesticide use characterized the first two decades. The total quantity of pesticides applied to the 21
crops analyzed in this study grew from 196 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients in 1960 to
632 million pounds in 1981. Changes in the active ingredients applied and a slight downward trend
in use since 1981 (with some fluctuations in total pesticide use) caused pesticide use totals to dip
to 468 million pounds in 1987 before increasing to 601 million pounds in 1997, and ending at 516
million pounds in 2008.
This pattern of pesticide use for the 21 crops parallels the total use of conventional pesticides for
U.S. agriculture as estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, 1999, 2011). On
average, the amount of pesticide used on the 21 crops included in this study represents 72 percent of
the total estimated by EPA for U.S. agriculture (fig. 2).
Early Growth Driven by Herbicide Adoption for Major Crops
Pesticide use more than tripled between 1960 and 1981. Herbicide use increased more than tenfold
(from 35 to 478 million pounds) as more U.S. farmers began to treat their fields with these chemi-
cals. By contrast, insecticide use declined from 114 million pounds in 1960 to 97 million pounds in
1981, and fungicide use increased only slightly (from 25 to 27 million pounds).
While farmers have used insecticides and fungicides for many years, the widespread use of herbi-
cides is a more recent phenomenon, as weed control was previously achieved by cultivation and
other methods. Only 10 percent of U.S. corn acres planted were treated with herbicides in 1952.
By 1976, herbicide use had grown to 90 percent of corn acres planted. Growth slowed in subse-
quent years, reaching 95 percent in 1982 before stabilizing at around 98 percent in recent years (fig.
3). Herbicides applied to other major crops like soybeans and cotton experienced similar growth
patterns (figs. 4-7). For example, approximately 5 percent of cotton acres were treated in 1952 while
Figure 1
Pesticide use in U.S. agriculture, 21 selected crops, 1960-2008
Million pounds of pesticide active ingredient
Source: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1960 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 2000 05
Other Pesticides
Fungicides
Insecticides
Herbicides
12
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Tab l e 2
Pesticide use by crop and type, 21 selected crops, 1960-2008
Crop 1960 19 65 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008
Millions of pounds active ingredient (a.i.)
Corn 29.14 59.26 101.53 173.8 5 2 6 9.74 269.87 259.04 210.73 179.52 17 3.0 3 203.73
Soybeans 2.74 11. 8 8 35.69 75.91 138 .39 83.99 80.49 70.23 80.84 90.96 111.96
Potatoes 9.20 6.30 12.10 14.6 5 19.35 21.6 6 22.32 44.07 56.06 39.89 52.53
Cotton 76.54 7 7. 2 7 9 7.0 5 76.62 49 .19 3 4.10 3 7. 9 0 85.88 87.16 63.06 3 7. 5 6
Wheat 6.48 9 .19 9.60 21.42 31.41 19.13 20.31 2 2 .11 18.74 18.06 23.31
Sorghum 2.72 3.48 8.48 12.33 20.02 12.08 10.18 15.30 14. 86 12. 23 14.17
Peanuts 6.77 13.62 20.31 16.32 26.66 15.47 26.02 19.02 10.49 10.70 10. 32
Rice 0.77 2 .14 5.15 7.7 7 10.67 6.80 14.3 9 13.81 13.22 10.16 7. 5 8
Tomat o e s 9.88 8.82 9.17 5.31 5.94 5.93 13.94 18.02 14.3 0 15.3 0 9.70
Apples 9.17 6.31 2.85 2.39 5.34 4.27 8.80 8 .10 10.0 5 7. 9 6 7.2 8
Grapes 1.99 2.52 2.38 2.47 7. 2 2 7.0 8 12.12 5.16 10.9 0 8.39 7. 9 0
Subtotal 15 7. 6 8 204.46 309.63 411. 0 5 5 8 7. 4 5 485.11 510.6 6 519.89 506.13 455.75 499.16
Other crops138.79 43.07 40.73 37.8 2 42.59 42.86 14.30 22.02 25.05 19.2 9 16. 95
Tot a l 219 6.47 247.5 3 350.37 448.88 630.03 5 27.97 524.96 541.91 5 31.18 475.04 516.11
Herbicides 35 .18 82.55 169.28 280.63 468.06 395.60 405.64 373.65 354.58 349.23 393.88
Insecticides 113.8 3 116 . 3 6 124.11 109.83 105.05 76.13 63 .10 72.82 71.0 0 3 4. 51 28.55
Fungicides 25 .15 23.49 2 7. 0 6 27.67 26.71 24.44 21.36 26.57 28.97 2 8.41 28.87
Other pesticides2
22.31 25 .14 29.92 3 0 .74 30.21 31.81 34.86 68.86 76.62 62.89 64.81
Tot a l 19 6.47 247.5 3 350.37 448.88 630.03 5 27.97 524.96 541.91 5 31.18 475.04 516.11
1Other crops include: Barley, Grapefruit, Lemons, Lettuce, Peaches, Pears, Pecans, Sugarcane, and Sweetcorn.
2Other pesticides include soil fumigants, defoliants, desiccants, harvest aids, and plant growth regulators.
Sources: Economic Research Ser vice with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
13
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
over 90 percent of cotton and soybean acres were treated by 1980.9 Thus, the diffusion of herbi-
cides in U.S. agriculture followed the typical pattern of the diffusion of agricultural innovations
(Griliches, 1957; Rogers, 1995).10
Increasing crop acreage also increased pesticide use. Total planted acreage of corn, cotton, pota-
toes, wheat, and, in particular, soybeans increased from the early 1960s to early 1980s, from 178
9Estimates of percent of acreage treated indicate how extensively herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other pesti-
cides are used on a crop but not how intensively, since they do not reflect the number of treatments per acre, application
rates, or the mixture of active ingredients applied.
10Diffusion curves are based on the notion that the current adoption rate is a function of the ultimate adoption level
(ceiling) and the current adoption level. Adoption initially increases slowly as only the innovators (more venturesome and
willing to assume risks) adopt. As information spreads, adoption rates increase. Finally, as the rate approaches the ceil-
ing, the rate slows. At this point, most producers that find the innovation profitable have adopted. This process results in
an S-shaped (sigmoid) diffusion curve (Fernandez-Cornejo et al., 2002).
Figure 2
Pesticide use in U.S. agriculture*—Comparing EPA estimates for total agriculture to ERS estimates
for 21 crops and to planted acreage, 1960-2008
Million pounds of pesticide active ingredient
*Conventional Pesticides. **Includes acreage of corn, cotton, soybean, wheat, and potatoes.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data (see appendix 2); EPA (1999, 2011).
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1960 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 2000 04 08
EPA, all crops (million pounds)
ERS, 21 crops (million pounds)
Planted acreage** (million acres)
Million acres planted
Figure 3
Corn: acres treated with pesticides, 1952-2008
Percent of planted acres
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA data. See Appendix 2.
0
20
40
60
80
1952 57 62 67 72 77 82 87 92 97 2002 07
Insecticides
Herbicides
100
14
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
to 256 million acres. However, from 1960 to 1970, pesticide use increased faster than crop acreage,
reflecting the effects of increasing share of crop acreage treated (fig. 2).11, 12
11Between 1960 and 1981, soybean acreage nearly tripled from 24 to 68 million acres, wheat acreage increased 60 per-
cent from 55 to 88 million acres, cotton acreage decreased and potato acreage remained stable. While corn acreage was
81 million in 1960 and 84 million in 1981, it declined to the range of 65 to 70 million acres during the early 1960s, but
increased during the 1970s to more than 80 million acres from 1976 to 1981, a period of rapid growth in corn insecticide
and herbicide use.
12It could be argued that increased farm size increases pesticide use, but there is little economic research addressing
this topic. Some economists have argued that risk-averse farmers increase pesticide use to reduce risk, and that increased
farm size increases whole-farm risk aversion, encouraging more pesticide use (Osteen, 1987; Osteen et al., 1988; and
Osteen and Fernandez-Cornejo, 2013). However, Osteen et al. (1988) showed that increased risk aversion could increase
both application rates and the pest threshold for treatment. So, pesticide use could increase in some cases and decrease in
others.
Figure 4
Cotton: acres treated with pesticides, 1952-2008
Percent of planted acres
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA data. See Appendix 2.
0
20
40
60
80
100
Insecticides
Herbicides
Other pesticides
1952 57 62 67 72 77 82 87 92 97 2002 07
Figure 5
Soybeans: acres treated with pesticides, 1966-2006
Percent of acres treated
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA data. See Appendix 2.
0
20
40
60
80
100
1966 69 72 75 78 81 84 87 90 93 96 99 2002 05
Insecticides
Herbicides
15
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Herbicide Adoption Driven by Relative Prices
The NASS pesticide price index fell relative to the NASS wage, fuel, and crop indices from the
late 1960s to about 1980, a period of rapid growth in pesticide use (see box, “Pesticide Prices and
Relative Price Trends”). As several new effective products were introduced, the cost of pesticides
fell relative to other pest control practices over the period and encouraged substitution of pesticides
(particularly herbicides) for labor, fuel, and machinery use in pest control. In particular, the longrun
decrease in herbicide prices relative to wage rates induced a strong labor-saving and herbicide-
using bias in technological change in U.S. agriculture from 1960 to 1994. Fernandez-Cornejo and
Pho (2002) found that a 1-percent decrease in the expected price ratio of herbicides to labor led
in the long run to a 13.5-percent increase in the quantity ratio of herbicides to labor. Moreover, as
Szmedra (1991) observes, the adoption of herbicides to control weeds substituted for labor and farm
machinery. For example, the labor required to produce an acre of corn dropped from 13.2 hours in
1952 to 4.8 hours in 1976 while acreage treated with herbicides grew from 10 to 90 percent of corn
0
20
40
60
80
100
1952 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 2000 04 08
Herbicides
Insecticides Fungicides
Figure 6
Wheat: acres treated with pesticides, 1952-2008
Percent of planted acres
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA data. See Appendix 2.
Figure 7
Potatoes: acres treated with pesticides, 1952-2008
Percent of planted acres
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA data. See Appendix 2.
0
20
40
60
80
100
Insecticides
Herbicides
Fungicides
Other
1952 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 2000 04 08
16
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
planted acres (labor used per acre of corn production ranged between 2.1 and 3.5 hours in 1996
(Foreman, 2001)).
Stabilization of Herbicide Use and Decline in Insecticide Use
Driven by Demand and Supply Factors
After 1980, the growth in aggregate herbicide use largely stopped because most corn, cotton, and
soybean acreage was already being treated with herbicides. Still, herbicide use has continued to
dominate the pesticide market; over the past three decades, more than 60 percent of the pounds
of pesticides applied annually by U.S. farmers have been herbicides (76 percent in 2008, table 1).
Together corn, cotton, soybeans, potatoes, and wheat accounted for 89 percent of herbicide use and
83 percent of total pesticide use in 2008 (fig. 8, appendix tables 3.1-3.5).
Changes in the planted acreages of these crops contributed to fluctuations in pesticide use from 1981
to 2008. Many of the high and low years in herbicide and pesticide use coincide with high and low
years in total acreage of these crops (fig. 2).13 However, declines in average application rates due to
the introduction and use of new pesticides contributed to reductions in quantities used after 1981,
while increased corn acreage and higher herbicide application rates account for increased pesticide
use after 2002.
In addition to changes in the total quantity of herbicides applied, there have also been shifts in the
herbicide active ingredients applied to major crops, as well as reductions in insecticide use. In 1968,
atrazine and 2,4-D were among the top five pesticides used, but the other three were insecticides:
toxaphene, DDT, and methyl parathion (fig. 9). In 2008, each of the top five herbicides (glyphosate,
atrazine, acetochlor, metolachlor, and 2,4-D) were more heavily used than the top insecticide (chlor-
pyrifos) (fig. 10).14 Figures 11 and 12 show the top herbicide active ingredients used in 1968 and
13Years when highs in fluctuations of pesticide use and combined corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat, and potato acreage
coincide are 1981, 1984, 1994, 1997, 2004, and 2008, while years when lows coincide are 1983, 1987, 1995, and 2005.
14The fumigants metam-sodium and 1,3-dichloropropene (used in specialty crop production) are also among the top
active ingredients used.
Figure 8
Pesticide use by crop, 21 selected crops, 2008, percent total pounds of active ingredient
applied
Note: "Other Crops" include: lettuce, pears, sweet corn, barley, peaches, grapefruit, pecans, and lemons.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
Corn
39.5%
Soybeans
21.7%
Potatoes
10.2%
Cotton
7.3%
4.5%
2.7%
2.5%
2.0%
1.9%
1.5%
1.5% 1.4%
0.8%
2.5%
Wheat
Sorghum
Oranges
Peanuts
Tomatoes
Grapes
Rice
Apples
Sugarcane
Other Crops
17
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Pesticide Prices and Relative Price Trends
Relative price trends for crops, pesticides, and other inputs have influenced the cost effectiveness
of pesticides and the amount used, given the comparative effects of different pesticides, non-
pesticide practices, and management systems on pests and damages, which can also change over
time. Overall, the NASS pesticide price index fell relative to the NASS wage and fuel indices
from 1965 to 2008, while it increased relative to the NASS crop price index in some years and
decreased in others, with essentially the same ratio between the pesticide and crop price indices
in 1965 and 2007 (box figs. 3.1 and 3.2).
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1965 68 71 74 77 80 83 86 89 92 95 98 01 04 07
Pesticides/wages
Pesticides/fuels
Pesticides/crops
Box figure 3.1
Relative prices, 1965 - 2008: pesticides to wages, fuels, and crops
Source: USDA/NASS (Agricultural Prices Summaries).
Index, 1965 = 1.0
Box figure 3.2
Price indices, 1965 - 2008: crops, wages, fuels, and pesticides
Source: USDA/NASS (Agricultural Prices Summaries).
Index, 1965 = 1.0
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
1965
Crops
Wages
Fuels and energy
Pesticides
68 71 74 77 80 83 86 89 92 95 98 01 04 07
18
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
The pesticide price index fell relative to wage, fuel, and crop indices from the late 1960s to about
1980, a period of rapid growth in pesticide use. Relative price declines during that period helped
reduce the cost of pesticides relative to other pest control practices and encouraged substitution
of pesticides for labor, fuel, and machinery use in pest control. The increase in crop prices rela-
tive to pesticides (especially in 1973-74) also increased the returns to pesticides, encouraging
greater use.
The pesticide price index rose relative to fuel and crop price indices from 1980 until the late
1990s, before falling in recent years. Increasing relative pesticide prices during this time period
may have reflected high demand for pesticide use in crop production and contributed to use
stabilizing after 1980. Since the late 1990s, the pesticide price index has declined relative to
crops, wages, and fuels, reinforced by large increases in crop prices during 2005-08 and fuel
prices during 2002-08, thus reverting to the longer term trend, encouraging substitution of pesti-
cides for labor, fuel, and machinery used in pest control and more pesticide use to protect crop
values.1
Since 1990, NASS insecticide and fungicide price indices have risen more rapidly than the
herbicide price index (box fig. 3.3). Nonetheless, because herbicides, particularly atrazine and
glyphosate, dominate the pesticide market, we can identify underlying trends in pesticide prices
by tracking major herbicide prices (box table 3.1). Among major agricultural herbicides, prices
have risen sharply only for metolachlor; the price of atrazine grew only 1 percent per year and
the price of glyphosate actually fell. In fact, in real terms, herbicide prices have fallen since
1990.
1Since 1990, pesticide prices have risen less rapidly than the prices of all agricultural inputs. While the NASS
index for agricultural input prices (“Items Used for Production”) rose at an average annual rate of 3.7 percent from
1990 to 2008, the NASS pesticide price index rose by only 1.7 percent per year. Recently, high fertilizer and fuel
costs have accelerated the growth in the “all inputs” price index compared to the pesticide price index. From 2000
to 2008, the NASS index for agricultural input prices grew at an average rate of 6.8 percent per year. The pesticide
price index rose by only 1.9 percent per year.
Box figure 3.3
Agricultural input price indices, 1990-2008
Source: USDA/NASS (Agricultural Prices Summaries).
Index, 1991=100
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
1990 92 94 96 98 2000 02 04 06 08
Items used for production
Agricultural chemicals
Insecticides
Fungicides
Herbicides
19
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
2008. Atrazine, 2,4-D, and trifluralin maintain their top 10 ranking in both years. Some herbicides
that were ranked in the top 10 in 2008, such as glyphosate and metolachlor were not available in
1968. Other herbicides ranked among the top 10 in 1968 were not so ranked in 2008; for example
dinoseb and vernolate, which were no longer used.
Herbicide-Tolerant (HT) Crops Transform Herbicide Mix
Several factors appear to have driven changes in herbicide use: crop and input price changes, the
introduction of new herbicides, adoption of herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, a shift toward conserva-
tion tillage systems, pesticide regulation, and government policies such as the incentives for ethanol
producers.
In particular, the introduction of HT crops in the mid-1990s augmented pest management options
by permitting the use of more effective and less toxic herbicides (such as glyphosate or glufosinate)
than previous ones that would have destroyed the crops as well as the weeds. Cotton, soybean, and
By contrast, prices of some insecticides and fungicides—such as carbaryl, propargite, and
captan—showed robust growth.
Box table 3.1
Selected pesticide prices, 1990-2008
Active
ingredient 1990 199 5 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Dollars
Selected herbicides (galllon)
Atrazine
(Aatrex)
4#/Gal L NA 14.4 13.6 12. 5 12.2 12.3 12. 2 12.4 12.1 12. 2 15.3
Glyphosate
(Roundup)
4#/Gal EC NA 54.1 43.3 44.5 43.5 43.3 39.7 33.8 29.3 28.9 40.5
Metolachlor
(Dual)
8#/Gal EC
55.5 67.7 82.6 94.5 99 104 10 6 108 107 NA NA
Selected insecticides (pound)
Carbaryl
(Sevin) 3.5 4.6 5.4 5.8 5.4 5.5 5.9 5.9 5.5 6.4 7.1
80% S, SP,
or WP
Propargite
(Comite) 30%
WP
NA 5.9 6.9 6.1 6.3 6.6 6.4 77. 5 8.7 9.2
Selected fungicides (pound)
Captan 50%
WP 23.3 3.5 3.6 3.8 3.5 3.5 3.7 3.9 4.6 5.5
Formulations: EC - Emulsifiable Concentrate, G - Granular, L - Liquid, S- Solution, SP - Soluble Powder,
WP - Wettable Powder. NA - Not avilable.
Source: USDA/ NASS (Agricultural Price Summaries).
20
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
corn varieties designed to resist glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide, were first marketed in 1996.
Pounds of glyphosate per planted acre of soybeans, corn, and cotton rose in almost every year since
1996 while pounds of all other herbicides (per acre) fell (figs. 13 -15; appendix tables 3.1-3.3).
Due to the substantial benefits provided to farmers (Carpenter and Gianessi, 1999; Fernandez-
Cornejo and Caswell, 2006), HT seed adoption was most rapid and widespread among U.S. soybean
farmers. By 2008, over 90 percent of soybean acres were planted with HT seeds (fig. 14). HT
soybean production sharply boosted glyphosate use on soybeans from 0.17 pound per planted acre
(a total of 11 million pounds applied) in 1996 to 1.26 pounds per planted acre (95 million pounds) in
2008. Pounds of all other herbicides applied to soybeans declined considerably from 1.02 pounds per
planted acre in 1996 to 0.14 pound in 2008.
HT corn adoption increased from 3 percent of planted acres in 1996 to just over 60 percent of
planted acres in 2008 (fig. 13). Consequently, glyphosate use jumped from 0.04 pound per planted
Figure 9
Pesticide use by active ingredient (a.i.), 21 selected crops in 1968, percent total pounds of a.i. applied1
1This graph shows the top pesticide a.i. (herbicide = H, insecticide = I) used in 1968.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
16%
13%
11%
7%
4%
4%
2%
2%
2%
2%
37%
Atrazine (H)
Toxaphene (I)
DDT (I)
2,4-D (H)
Methyl Parathion (I)
Aldrin (I)
Trifluralin (H)
Propachlor (H)
Dinoseb (H)
Chloramben (I)
Other a.i.
Figure 10
Pesticide use by active ingredient (a.i.), 21 selected crops in 2008, percent total pounds of a.i. applied
1
1This graph shows the top pesticide a.i. (herbicide = H, insecticide = I, fungicide = F, and other = O) used in 2008.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
6%
6%
4%
4%
3%
2%
1%
1%
1%
21%
Glyphosate (H)
Atrazine (H)
Acetochlor (H)
Metolachlor (H)
Metam Sodium (O)
Dichloropropene (O)
2,4-D (H)
Chlorpyrifos (I)
Metam Potassium (O)
Pendimethalin (H)
Chlorothalonil (F)
Other a.i.
38%
13%
21
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
acre (a total of 3 million pounds) in 1996 to 0.79 pound per acre (68 million pounds) in 2008.
Glyphosate is now the single most heavily used corn herbicide. Other herbicides applied to corn fell
from about 2.6 pounds per planted acre in 1996 to 1.5 pounds in 2008.
By 2008, about 70 percent of cotton acreage was planted with HT seed. Correspondingly, glyphosate
use increased from about 0.09 pound per planted acre (1.3 million pounds) in 1996 to 1.45 pounds
(14 million pounds) in 2008 (fig. 15). Other herbicides applied to cotton fell from about 2 pounds per
acre in 1996 to 0.92 pounds per acre in 2008.
While the adoption of HT crops has led to the substitution of the more environmentally benign
herbicide, glyphosate, for other herbicides (NRC, 2010),15 overreliance on a limited number of herbi-
15Atrazine, an herbicide widely used during the last half century despite environmental concerns, has remained the
second most applied herbicide since 2000 even though its share of herbicide use has declined (fig. 11).
Figure 11
Herbicide use by active ingredient (a.i.), 21 selected crops in 1968, percent total pounds a.i. applied1
1This graph shows the top herbicide a.i. used in 1968.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
38%
17%
6%
6%
5%
5%
4%
3%
2%
2%
12%
Atrazine
2,4-D
Trifluralin
Propachlor
Dinoseb
Chloramben
MSMA
Vernolate
Fluometuron
Propanil
Other herbicide a.i.
Figure 12
Herbicide use by active ingredient (a.i.), 21 selected crops in 2008, percent total a.i. applied1
1This graph shows the top herbicide a.i. used in 2008.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
50%
17%
8%
7%
4%
2%
1%
1%
1% 1%
8%
Glyphosate
Atrazine
Acetochlor
Metolachlor
2,4-D
Pendimethalin
Simazine
Propanil
Trifluralin
MCPA
Other herbicide a.i.
22
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
cides may accelerate weed resistance to those chemicals. Resistance management strategies include
weed scouting, rotating between crops treated with different herbicides and using weed management
practices, rotating glyphosate with herbicides that have a different mode of action, limiting glypho-
sate applications to two over a 2-year period, or using cultivation or other mechanical weed control
practices (Boerboom and Owen, 2006). Farmers can also manage resistance by using multiple
herbicides—atrazine, s-metolachlor or acetochlor, and/or mesotrione with glyphosate on corn, for
example (Loux et al., 2013).
Insecticide Use Declines as Herbicides Grow
Insecticide use by U.S. farmers has fallen as herbicide use has grown. Insecticide use was much higher
in the 1960s and 1970s than in later years. It peaked at 158 million pounds in 1972, and has declined
most years thereafter, ending at 29 million pounds in 2008 (fig. 1). In the 1950s, insecticides were widely
Figure 13
Pounds of herbicide active ingredient (a.i.) per planted acre and percent acres of herbicide-
tolerant corn, 1996-2008
Pounds a.i. per acre
Sources: Pesticides: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2; HT corn:
Fernandez-Cornejo (2012).
0
20
40
60
80
100
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
1996 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Pounds of glyphosate/acre
Pounds of other herbicides/acre
Total pounds of herbicides/acre
Percent acres HT corn (right axis)
Percent acres HT corn
Figure 14
Pounds of herbicide active ingredient (a.i.) per planted acre and percent acres of herbicide-
tolerant soybeans, 1996-2008
Pounds a.i. per acre
Sources: Pesticides: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2; HT soybeans:
Fernandez-Cornejo (2012).
Percent acres HT soybeans
0
20
40
60
80
100
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1996 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Pounds of glyphosate/acre
Pounds of other herbicide/acre
Total pounds of herbicides/acre
Percent acres HT soybeans (right axis)
23
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
used on a variety of crops: cotton, tobacco, fruits, potatoes, and other vegetables. However, insecticides
were applied to less than 10 percent of corn acreage during the 1950s. This share increased rapidly to 38
percent by 1976, reached 45 percent in the mid-1980s, but fell to about 16 percent in 2008 (fig. 3).
The proportion of cotton acreage treated with insecticides varied between about 50 and 70 percent
from the 1950s to mid-1990s, exceeding 80 percent in 1999–2000 before declining to about 60
percent in 2008 (interpolated) (fig. 4). In most years, insecticides were used on less than 10 percent
of soybean and wheat acres (figs. 5 and 6). Historically, the proportion of many vegetable and fruit
acres treated with insecticides has been high. For example, the share of treated potato acreage
exceeded 75 percent since the 1950s, exceeded 90 percent most years between 1978 and 2001 but
declined to around 80 percent in 2008 (fig. 7).
Insecticide use and active ingredients applied have fluctuated with changes in crop acreage, changes
in pest pressure, agricultural practices, pesticide regulation, technology, and other factors. For
example, the Federal ban on some organochlorines, such as DDT, forced growers to find new pest
control solutions and pesticide manufacturers to develop new crop protection products in the 1970s.
Also, higher pest pressure in some years resulted in higher rates of insecticide application. As some
older insecticides became less effective due to pest resistance, farmers applied at higher rates and/
or used new insecticides. DDT and toxaphene (used primarily in cotton production) dominated
insecticide use in 1968 (fig. 16), but were displaced by other materials. Chloropyrifos and aldicarb
became especially important in recent years (fig. 17).16 Newer insecticides applied at low rates, such
as synthetic pyrethroids (e.g. permethin and cypermethrin) and neo-nicotinoids (e.g., imidicloprid
and clothianidin), have become widely used. (Osteen and Fernandez-Cornejo (2013) provide a more
detailed discussion of changing insecticide use over time.) Some insecticides are now applied as
seed treatments and are not generally captured by pesticide use surveys.
In 1996, genetically engineered insect-resistant corn and cotton varieties (Bt corn and cotton) were
introduced commercially. These Bt crops carry a gene of the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringi-
ensis (Bt), which induces plants to produce a protein that is harmful to some insects, including the
16In August 2010, EPA initiated action to terminate uses of aldicarb. It is being phased out with all uses scheduled to
end in August 2018. http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/aldicarb_fs.html
Figure 15
Pounds of herbicide active ingredient (a.i.) per planted acre and percent acres of herbicide
tolerant cotton, 1996-2008
Pounds a.i. per acre
Sources: Pesticides: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2; HT cotton:
Fernandez-Cornejo (2012).
Percent acres HT cotton
0
20
40
60
80
100
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
1996 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Pounds of glyphosate/acre
Pounds of other herbicides/acre
Total pounds of herbicides/acre
Percent acres HT
cotton (right axis)
24
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
European corn borer and corn rootworm. Adoption of Bt corn and cotton has been associated with a
reduction in insecticide use (Fernandez-Cornejo and Caswell, 2006; NRC, 2010). For example, corn
farmers using seeds without Bt traits applied 0.1 pound of insecticide per planted acre in 2001 and
0.09 pound of insecticide in 2005. By contrast, corn farmers using Bt seeds applied 0.07 pound per
planted acre in 2001 and 0.05 pound in 2005 (Fernandez-Cornejo and Wechsler, 2012).17
17Research by ERS and others suggests that, controlling for other factors, insecticide use declined with the adoption
of Bt corn and Bt cotton (Fernandez-Cornejo and Caswell, 2004). It should be noted, however, that by protecting the
plant from certain pests, Bt crops can also prevent yield losses compared with non-GE hybrids, particularly when pest
infestation is high. This effect is particularly important for Bt corn, which was introduced in the mid-1990s to control the
European corn borer. Since chemical control of the European corn borer was not always profitable, and timely application
was difficult, many farmers accepted yield losses rather than incur the expense and uncertainty of chemical control. For
those farmers, the introduction of Bt corn resulted in yield gains rather than pesticide savings. On the other hand, another
type of Bt corn introduced in 2003 to provide resistance against the corn rootworm, which was previously controlled us-
ing chemical insecticides, does provide substantial insecticide savings (Fernandez-Cornejo and Caswell, 2006).
Figure 16
Insecticide use by active ingredient (a.i.), 21 selected crops in 1968, percent total pounds a.i. applied1
1This graph shows the top pesticide a.i. used in 1968.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
30%
25%
9%
9%
5%
3%
2%
2%
2%
1%
12%
Toxaphene
DDT
Methyl Parathion
Aldrin
Carbaryl
Dicrotophos
Parathion
Malathion
Cryolite
Monocrotophos
Other insecticide a.i.
Figure 17
Insecticide use by active ingredient (a.i.), 21 selected crops in 2008, percent total pounds a.i. applied1
1This graph shows the top pesticide a.i. used in 2008.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
26%
12%
12%
10%
4%
4%
3%
3%
3%
3%
20%
Chlorpyrifos
Aldicarb
Acephate
Carbaryl
Clothianidin
Phorate
Dicrotophos
Cryolite
Phosmet
Propargite
Other insecticides
25
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
The rapid adoption of Bt seed since 1996 may have contributed to declining shares of corn and cotton
acreage treated with insecticides. Insecticide use for corn production, which had peaked in the late
1970s and 1980s at 0.35-0.45 pound per acre, declined throughout the 1990s and 2000s to under 0.05
pound per planted acre in recent years (fig. 18 , appendix table 4.1).18 Insecticide use for cotton, which
had peaked at 9.5 pounds per planted acre in 1967, trended downward to between 1 and 2 pounds per
planted acre in the 1980s (as lower dose insecticides replaced older, higher dose insecticides). Since the
adoption of Bt cotton, insecticide use in cotton has declined to less than 1 pound per planted acre (fig.
19, appendix table 3.3). Higher insecticide application rates on cotton in 1999 and 2000 can be attrib-
uted to the boll weevil eradication program (see “Cotton Pesticide Trends” in Appendix 4).
18In terms of total pounds of insecticide active ingredient, corn producers reduced their use from 25-35 million pounds
in the 1980s to about 19 million in 1995 and 4 million pounds in 2006-2008 (appendix table 4.1). Cotton producers
reduced their use from their 1967 peak of 90 million pounds to 28 million pounds in 1995 and 5-8 million pounds in
2006-2008 (appendix table 4.3).
Figure 18
Pounds of insecticide active ingredient (a.i.) per planted acre and percent acres of Bt corn, 1996-2008
Pounds a.i. per acre
Sources: Pesticides: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2. Bt corn:
Fernandez-Cornejo (2012).
Percent acres Bt corn
0
20
40
60
80
100
0.00
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
1996 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Pounds of insecticide/acre
Percent acres Bt corn (right axis)
Figure 19
Pounds of insecticide active ingredient (a.i.) per planted acre and percent acres of Bt cotton, 1996-2008
Pounds a.i. per acre
Sources: Pesticides: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2. Bt cotton:
Fernandez-Cornejo (2012).
Percent acres Bt cotton
0
20
40
60
80
100
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
Pounds of insecticide per cotton acre
Percent acres Bt cotton (right axis)
1996 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
26
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Fungicides Used Mainly on Fruits and Vegetables
Fungicides’ share of pesticide use has remained at 7 percent or less since 1971, down from 11-13
percent in the early 1960s (fig. 1). Excluding seed treatments, fungicides have generally been applied
to a greater percentage of fruit and vegetable acres than to corn, soybean, cotton, and wheat acres,
but treatments on corn, soybeans, and wheat have increased in recent years. For example, treated
potato acres increased from 24 percent in 1966 to 85-95 percent in the 1990s onward (fig. 7). By
contrast, the acreage of corn, cotton, soybean, and wheat treated with fungicides is generally less
than 10 percent (excluding seed treatments).
Among the most prominent fungicides used in 2008 were chlorothalonil (accounting for 24 percent
of active ingredient pounds), copper compounds (17 percent), mancozeb (15 percent), captan (6
percent), maneb (3 percent), and ziram (3 percent), all of which have been used for many years (fig.
20). However, in recent years, corn, soybean, and wheat growers have applied such materials as
pyraclostrobin (that accounted for 7 percent of all pounds a.i. in 2008), propiconazole (5 percent),
azoxystrobin (4 percent), and tebuconazole (2 percent). In 2006 and 2007, EPA granted emergency
exemptions for fungicides to control soybean rust (such as, cyroconazole, famoxadone, flusilazole,
metconazole, and prothioconazole).
Cotton and Potatoes Are Major Users of Other Pesticides
Other pesticides—which include soil fumigants, defoliants, desiccants, harvest aids, and plant growth
regulators—generally accounted for about 11 percent or less of total pesticide use from 1960 to 1992,
but increased to 17 percent in 2002, before declining to 13 percent in 2008 (fig. 1). The total quan-
tity increased from 22 million pounds in 1960 to 80 million pounds in 2002, declining to 65 million
pounds in 2008. Despite their declining share of total use, the quantity of other pesticides applied to
the 21 crops we examined has exceeded that of insecticides since the mid-1990s. These chemicals are
commonly applied to cotton, potatoes, other vegetables, and many fruit crops, but cotton and potatoes
accounted for 82 percent of other pesticide use in 2008 (appendix tables 4.3 and 4.4).
Figure 20
Fungicide use by active ingredient (a.i.), 21 selected crops in 2008, percent total pounds a.i. applied1
1Calcium polysulfide can be used as a fungicide, miticide, or insecticide.
Sources: Economic Research Service with USDA and proprietary data. See Appendix 2.
23%
17%
15%
7%
6%
5%
4%
4%
3%
3%
2%
1% 1%
9%
Chlorothalonil
Copper compounds
Mancozeb
Pyraclostrobin
Captan
Propiconazole
Calcium Polysulfide
Azoxystrobin
Maneb
Ziram
Tebuconazole
Metiram
Fosetyl Aluminium
Other fungicide a.i.
27
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Cotton is a major user of plant growth regulators and harvest aids. Cotton acreage treated with other
pesticides increased from 26 percent in 1966 to 70 percent in the late 1990s and about 85 percent in
2007 (fig. 4). The share of potato acreage treated, including fumigants and harvest aids, increased
from 9 percent in 1966 to over 50 percent in the late 1970s, and fluctuated between 40 and 70
percent since 1998 (fig. 7). The increased use of fumigants on potatoes and other vegetables such as
tomatoes, contributed to the increase in the quantity of other pesticide use through 2000. However,
methyl bromide use on tomatoes and other vegetables declined since 1994 due to the Montreal
Protocol phase-out.
Five Major Crops Account for Four-Fifths of Pesticide Use
In 2008, corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, and potatoes accounted for about 80 percent of the pesticide
quantity applied to the 21 crops we examined (fig. 8). The share of pesticides applied to corn produc-
tion reached a peak in 1985 (over half of the pesticides applied to all 21 crops), but has dropped in
recent years (table 2). Corn continues to receive the highest share of pesticide use, about 39 percent
of the pounds applied in 2008. Twenty-two percent of the total pesticide pounds applied were
devoted to soybean production. Potatoes’ share rose significantly in the 1990s and reached about 10
percent by 2008. Meanwhile, the pounds of pesticide applied to cotton has trended downward due to
the replacement of DDT and other older insecticides with more effective products, the eradication
of the boll weevil, and the adoption of Bt cotton. Cotton accounted for just over 7 percent of the total
pesticide pounds applied while wheat accounted for less than 5 percent in 2008.
Appendix 4 discusses these trends for the top five crops in more detail.
Pesticide Quality
Inherent differences in pesticide characteristics or quality complicate the direct comparison of
observed prices and quantities of pesticides over time. This comparison can be facilitated by using
price and quantity indices adjusted for quality. Quality-adjusted price and quantity indices have
proven to be useful for products subject to rapid technological change such as pesticides. New and
better pesticide active ingredients (more effective and less harmful to human health and the environ-
ment) have frequently been introduced while other active ingredients have been banned or volun-
tarily canceled by their manufacturers (Fernandez-Cornejo and Jans, 1995). As a result, there are
several hundred pesticide active ingredients in use.19 (See box, “Quality Adjustment of Price and
Quantity Indices for Pesticides,” which illustrates the estimation of the quality-adjusted price and
quantity indices for pesticide applied to four major crops: corn, cotton, soybeans, and sorghum over
1968-2008.) Appendix table 2.2 shows a list of the active ingredients considered in this study.
Because of quality improvements (improved pest control effectiveness or lower application rates),
adjusted pesticide prices (constant quality) increase less than the unadjusted prices (unadjusted
or actual prices reflect technological improvements and therefore are higher). Similarly, quality-
adjusted quantities are higher than unadjusted quantities because farmers would have had to use
more pesticides if pesticide quality had remained constant instead of improving (Fernandez-Cornejo
and Jans, 1995).
19Per EPA, there were 684 active ingredients registered for agricultural use in 2007
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/pestsales/07pestsales/usage2007_2.htm
28
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Quality Adjustment of Pesticides
As an illustration, the quality-adjusted prices were calculated using a hedonic approach and represent the prices
that would have been obtained if quality had remained constant. The adjustment process uses a hedonic function,
which entails expressing the price of pesticides as a function of their quality characteristics (Fernandez-Cornejo
and Jans, 1995). After controlling for observable characteristics, it is possible to estimate quality-adjusted price
indices. Quality-adjusted quantity indices are computed by dividing pesticide expenditures by the quality-
adjusted price indices.
The quality characteristics considered in this illustration are pesticide potency, hazardous characteristics, and
persistence. Pesticide potency is inversely related to the application rate per crop year, which can be viewed as
the dosage and is equal to the pounds of active ingredient applied per acre in one application multiplied by the
number of applications made in a year (Fernandez-Cornejo and Jans, 1995). Thus, the lower the rate needed to
achieve a degree of pest control, the more potent the pesticide is. Hazardous characteristics are measured by
chronic toxicity scores, and persistence is measured by the pesticides half-life. The chronic toxicity index is the
inverse of the water quality threshold (which measures the concentration in parts per billion) and serves as the
environmental-risk indicator for humans from drinking water (Kellogg et al., 2002). The lower the index, the
lower is the potential environmental risk for the chemical. The persistence indicator is defined by the share of
pesticides with a half-life less than 60 days (Fernandez-Cornejo and Jans, 1995). The lower the indicator, the less
persistent the pesticide is.
To illustrate, box figure 4.1 provides an estimate of the (weighted) average quality measures for the pesticides
used in four major crops. Three tendencies can be noted. First, pesticide potency has increased in the 1970s and
2000s as the application rate per crop year needed to achieve a degree of pest control declined. This is due in
part to the use of improved pesticides and GE seed. Second, average chronic toxicity declined, as toxic products
applied to cotton (such as DDT and toxaphene) and to corn (such as aldrin) were banned (particularly in the 1970s
and early 1980s). Other factors affecting toxicity were the use of less toxic insecticides, such as carbaryl and
chloropyrifos, the introduction of pyrethroids, the use of malathion in the boll weevil eradication program, and
the use of Bt cotton since 1996. Third, persistence fell during the 1970s after the bans of DDT and aldrin, then
increased during the 1980s and early 1990s (in part with the use of high-persistence products such as metolachlor
and pendimethalin); persistence has
declined in recent years, reflecting
the rapid increase in glyphosate use.
Glyphosate has low chronic toxicity (a
high chronic score) and relatively low
persistence relative to the herbicides
that it has replaced. As the NRC (2010)
report states, glyphosate “is biode-
graded by soil bacteria and it has a very
low toxicity to mammals, birds, and
fish (Malik et al., 1989).” Also, some
newer insecticides such as clothianidin,
and herbicides, such as mesotrione
and nicosulfuron in corn production,
are applied at low rates and have low
chronic toxicity and low persistence.
Box figure 4.1
Average quality characteristics of pesticides applied to four major
crops, 1968-2008
Rate: Pounds of active ingredient applied per acre in one application times the
number of applications per year.
Sources: Estimates based on USDA and proprietary data (Appendix 2) for four major
crops: corn, soybeans, cotton and sorghum.
Unit
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
1965 70 75 80 85 90 95 2000 05 10
Rate (left)
Toxicity (left)
Persistence (right)
Unit
29
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Unadjusted (actual) pesticide prices stopped rising in the mid-1990s despite quality improvements
(fig. 21), and the decline in glyphosate price associated with its patent expiration in 2000 may have
been a factor. Glyphosate replaced other herbicides, as adoption of herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops and
conservation tillage increased. Quality-adjusted prices have declined since the mid-1990s because
unadjusted prices stagnated and the quality of pesticides improved. In particular, glyphosate contrib-
uted to quality improvement because it is more effective and less toxic than many of the conven-
tional herbicides that it replaced (NRC, 2010).
While unadjusted pesticide quantities show little upward movement after 1997 (fig. 22), the quantity
indices adjusted for quality (i.e., at constant quality) show a substantial increase. This implies that if
pesticide quality had not improved (e.g., if herbicides had not become more effective), total pesticide
use would have increased rapidly from 1996 to 2008.
Figure 21
Quality adjusted pesticide prices applied to 4 major crops, 1968-2008
Price index 1968=100
Note: Quality adjusted indices were calculated for pesticides applied to four major crops: corn, soybeans, cotton and
sorghum.
Source: Estimates based on USDA and proprietary data (Appendix 2).
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1968 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 2000 04 08
Non-adjusted index
Adjusted index
Figure 22
Quality adjusted pesticide quantities applied to 4 major crops, 1968-2008
Quantity index 1968=100
Note: Quality adjusted indices were calculated for pesticides applied to four major crops: corn, soybeans, cotton and
sorghum.
Source: Estimates based on USDA and proprietary data (Appendix 2).
0
100
200
300
400
500
1968 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 2000 04 08
Non-adjusted index
Adjusted index
30
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Conclusion
Agricultural producers use pesticides on millions of crop acres, primarily to prevent or manage pest
infestations. Their use generates economic benefits for farmers and consumers. However, public
concerns since the 1960s about the adverse human health and environmental effects of pesticides
have led to tighter regulation of these products. This report examines trends in pesticide use from
1960 to 2008. The report employs a new database compiled from USDA pesticide use surveys
supplemented by proprietary data, focusing on 21 selected field and specialty crops.
Pesticide use has changed considerably over the past five decades. Rapid growth characterized the
20 years ending in 1981. The total quantity of pesticides applied to the 21 crops analyzed grew from
196 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients in 1960 to 632 million pounds in 1981. Changes
in the active ingredients applied, and small annual fluctuations in the annual pesticide use amid a
slight downward trend occurred between 1982 and 2008. All these changes were primarily driven by
economic factors that determined crop and input prices and were influenced by pest pressures, crop
acreage, agricultural practices, and innovations in pest management systems and practices such as
IPM, and regulations.
USDA, the Land Grant Universities, and EPA have collaborated in promoting IPM, including
support for four regional IPM centers, to develop new methods to manage pests and educate
growers about how to use them. This effort may have reduced reliance on pesticides and influ-
enced use patterns by developing pest management approaches that integrate use of chemical,
biological, and cultural controls, including new seed varieties, crop rotation, and other practices,
often including pest and weather information and predictive models to use pesticides and other
practices more efficiently.
An emerging pest management issue is the development of glyphosate-resistant weed popula-
tions associated with the large increase in glyphosate use since the late 1990s,20 largely due to the
widespread adoption of herbicide-tolerant corn, cotton, and soybeans. Glyphosate (which replaced
other herbicides more toxic to mammals) accounted for about 50 percent of total herbicide quantity
in 2008.21 Resistance to it has induced growers to use other herbicides more toxic to mammals in
conjunction with glyphosate in resistance management strategies. This has increased the quantity of
herbicides applied and the total cost of weed control. As a result, Federal, State, and private-sector
research and extension analysts are working to increase awareness of the problem and to develop
resistance management strategies that will maintain the economic effectiveness and environmental
benefits associated with the use of herbicides such as glyphosate.
Another important issue is the development of Bt resistance in western corn rootworm, cotton boll-
worm, and fall armyworm populations leading to reduced efficacy of Bt corn and Bt cotton recently
documented in some U.S. crop fields.
Finally, a broad topic with policy implications for pesticide use is the arrival of important invasive
species evidenced by the spread since 2000 of the soybean aphid, originally from East Asia. Another
case is the arrival of soybean rust, detected in 2004, which increased the application of strobilurin
and triazole fungicides and total soybean fungicide use after 2004. As IPM programs for managing
20Any herbicide widely used alone over time may result in resistant populations.
21Glyphosate has low toxicity to mammals, birds, and fish (Malik et al., 1989; NRC, 2010).
31
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
insect pests are built upon the existing pest complexes, the introduction of a significant invasive pest
can result in heavy pesticide use in the early years of introduction until the biology and ecology of
the pest become known.
32
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
References
Ackerman, Frank. 2007. “The Economics of Atrazine,International Journal Occupational
Environmental Health 13(4): 444-449.
Andrilenas, P.A. 1974. Farmers’ Use of Pesticides in 1971: Quantities. AER-252. U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). July.
Andrilenas, P.A. 1975. Farmers’ Use of Pesticides in 1971 -- Extent of Crop Use. AER-268. U.S.
Dept of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
Boerboom, C., and M. Owen. 2006. “Facts About Glyphosate-Resistant Weeds,” Purdue University
Extension, GWC-1, Dec.
Campbell, H.E. 1976. “Estimating the Marginal Productivity of Agricultural Pesticides: The Case
of Tree Fruit Farms in the Okanagan Valley,” Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics
24:23-30.
Carrasco-Tauber, C., and L.J. Moffit. 1992. “Damage Control Econometrics: Functional
Specification and Pesticide Productivity,” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 74(1):
158 -162
Carpenter, J., and L. Gianessi. 1999. “Herbicide Tolerant Soybeans: Why Growers are Adopting
Roundup Ready Varieties,” AgBioForum 2 : 65 -72.
Chambers, R.G., and E. Lichtenberg. 1994. “Simple Econometrics of Pesticide Productivity,”
American Journal of Agricultural Economics 76: 407-17.
Claassen, R., F. Carriazo, J. Cooper, D. Hellerstein, and K. Ueda. 2011. Grassland to Cropland
Conversion in the Northern Plains: The Role of Crop Insurance and Disaster Programs.
ERR-120. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
Cohrssen, J.J., and V. T. Covello. 1989. Risk Analysis: A Guide to Principles and Methods for
Analyzing Health and Environmental Risks. Nat. Tech. Inform. Serv., U.S. Dept. of Commerce.
Council of Environmental Quality. 1993. The Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Council on
Environmental Quality, The White House. http://clinton4.nara.gov/CEQ/reports/1993/toc.html.
Criswell, J.T, K. Shelton, and C. Luper. 2013. “Toxicity of Pesticides,” Pesticide Applicator
Certification Series, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, EPP-7457.
Crop Protection Handbook, Volume 92. 2006. Meister Media Worldwide. Willoughby, OH.
Delvo, H., M. Hanthorn, P. Andrilenas, D. Piper, and T. Lutton. 1983. “Pesticides,” in Inputs
Outlook and Situation Report. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research
Service (ERS). IOS-2, Oct.
Eichers, T.R., P.A. Andrilenas, R. Jenkins, and A. Fox. 1968. Quantities of Pesticides Used by
Farmers in 1964. AER-131, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Jan.
33
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Eichers,T.R., P.A. Andrilenas, H. Blake, R. Jenkins, and A. Fox. 1970. Quantities of Pesticides
Used by Farmers in 1966. 1970. AER-179. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic
Research Service (ERS). April.
Eichers, T.R., P.A. Andrilenas, and T.W. Anderson. 1978. Farmers’ Use of Pesticides in 1976.
AER-418. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economics, Statistics, and Cooperative
Service, Dec.
Extoxnet. 1993. “Pesticide Information Profile: Parathion.” Oregon State University. http://extoxnet.
orst.edu/pips/parathio.htm.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 1975. Pest Control Problems
(preharvest) Causing Major Losses to World Food Supplies. AGP, Pest/PH75/B31. Rome, FAO.
Federal Register. 1997. “Raw and Processed Food Schedule for Pesticide Tolerance Reassessment.
Vol. 62, no. 149, Aug. 4.
Fernandez-Cornejo, J. 2004. The Seed Industry in U.S. Agriculture: An Exploration of Data
and Information on Crop Seed Markets, Regulation, Industry Structure, and Research and
Development. AER-786. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Jan.
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., and M. Caswell. 2006. The First Decade of Genetically Engineered Crops in
the United States. EIB-11, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/eib11/
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., and S. Jans. 1999. Pest Management in U.S. Agriculture. AH-717, U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Aug.
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., and S. Wechsler. 2012. “Revisiting the Impact of Bt Corn Adoption by U.S.
Farmers,Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 41(3): 377-390.
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., and W. McBride. 2002. Adoption of Bioengineered Crops. AER-810 U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
Fernandez-Cornejo J., and Y. Pho. 2002. “Induced Innovation and the Economics of Herbicide Use,”
Economics of Pesticides, Sustainable Food Production, and Organic Food Markets. D.H. Hall
and L.J. Moffitt (eds.). Elsevier Science, Ltd, Oxford, UK.
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., C. Alexander, and R. Goodhue. 2002. “Dynamic Diffusion with Disadoption:
The Case of Crop Biotechnology in the U.S.A.,Agricultural and Resource Economics Review
31(1): 112-126.
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., S. Jans, and M. Smith. 1998.Issues in the Economics of Pesticide Use in
Agriculture: A Review of the Empirical Evidence, “Review of Agricultural Economics: 20(2):
462-488.
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., and S. Jans. 1995. Quality-Adjusted Price and Quantity Indices for
Pesticides, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 77: 645-59.
34
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Fernandez-Cornejo, J., C. Hallahan, R. Nehring, S. Wechsler, and A. Grube. 2012. “Conservation
Tillage, Herbicide Use, and Genetically Engineered Corps in the U.S.A.: The Case of Soybeans,
AgBioForum 15(3): 231-241.
Foreman, L. 2001. Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Corn Farms. SB-974. U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, August.
Fox, A., T.R. Eichers, P. Andrilenas, R. Jenkins, and H. Blake. 1968. Extent of Farm Pesticide Use
on Crops in 1966. AER-147. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
Fuglie, K. 1999. “Conservation Tillage and Pesticide Use in the Cornbelt.Journal of Agricultural
and Applied Economics, 31(1):133 -147.
Gardner, J., R. Nehring, and C. Nelson. 2009. “ Genetically Modified Crops and Household Labor
Savings in US Crop Production, AgBioForum 12: 303-312.
Gianessi, Leonard. 2009. “The Benefits of Insecticide Use: Soybeans.” CropLife Foundation, Crop
Protection Institute, Washington DC.
Griliches, Z. 1957. “Hybrid Corn: An Exploration in the Economics of Technological Change,
Econometrica 25: 501-522.
Hartzler, B. 1997. “Chemical Alternatives to Atrazine in Corn Weed Management Programs.”
Agronomy Department, Iowa State University Extension.
Hartzler, B., and M.D.K. Owen. 2009. 2010 Herbicide Guide for Iowa Corn and Soybean
Production: The Cost of Convenience: Impact of Weeds on Crop Yields. Agronomy Department,
Iowa State University Extension, Nov.
Horn, D.J. 1988. Ecological Approach to Pest Management. New York: The Guilford Press.
Horowitz, J., R. Ebel, and K. Ueda. 2010. No-Till Farming is a Growing Practice. U.S. Department
of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. EIB-70, Nov.
Kellogg, R., R. Nehring, A. Grube, D.W. Goss, and S. Plotkin. 2002. “Environmental Indicators of
Pesticide Leaching and Runoff from Farm Fields,Agricultural Productivity: Measurement and
Sources of Growth. V. Eldon Ball and G. Norton (eds.). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Lansink, A.O., and A. Carpentier. 2001. “Damage Control Productivity: An Input Damage
Abatement Approach,Journal of Agricultural Economics 52 (3): 11-22 .
Lichtenberg, E., and D. Zilberman. 1986. “The Econometrics of Damage Control: Why Specification
Ma t ters,” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 68: 407-17.
Lin, B., M. Padgitt, L. Bull, H. Delvo, D. Shank, and H. Taylor. 1995. Pesticide and Fertilizer Use
and Trends in U.S. Agriculture. AER-717. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research
Service. May.
Livingston, M., and C. Osteen. 2012. “Pest Management, Agricultural Resources and
Environmental Indicators, 2012 Edition. EIB-98. C. Osteen, J. Gottlieb, and U. Vasavada (eds.),
Aug.
35
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Lorenz, E. 2009. “Potential Health Effects of Pesticides.” Pesticide Safety Fact Sheets, Pennsylvania
State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Research and Cooperative
Extension, Pesticide Education Program.
Loux, M.M., D. Doohan, A.F. Dobbels, B. Reeb, W.G. Johnson, and T.R. Legleiter. 2013. 2013 Weed
Control Guide for Ohio and Indiana. Ohio State University Extension and Purdue Extension.
Malik, J.M., G.F. Barry, and G.M. Kishore. 1989. “The Herbicide Glyphosate,BioFactors.
Morgan, E.R. 2002. Crop Profile for Cotton in Mississippi. Mississippi State University, Mississippi
State. http://www.IPMCenters.org/CropProfiles/docs/MScotton.html
Munkvold, G., and D. Gorman. 2006. “Foliar Fungicide Use in Corn,Crop Insights 16( 6): 1-6.
National Research Council (NRC), Environmental Studies Board. 1975. Pest Control: An
Assessment of Present and Alternative Technologies (Volume 1). Washington, DC: The National
Academies Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1987. Regulating Pesticides in Food. Washington, DC: The
National Academies Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 1989. Alternative Agriculture. Board on Agriculture.
Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 2002. Environmental Effects of Transgenic Plants: The Scope
and Adequacy of Regulation. Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on
Environmental Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants. Washington,
DC: The National Academies Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 2010. The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm
Sustainability in the United States. Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. Washington
DC: The National Academies Press. April.
Nesheim, O.N., F.M. Fishel, and M. Mossler. 2005. “Toxicity of Pesticides.” University of Florida,
IFAS Extension, Document PI-13.
Oerke, E.-C. 2006. “Crop Losses to Pests.The Journal of Agricultural Science, (144) 31-43.
doi:10.1017/ S0021859605005708.
Osteen, C. 1987. “Energy in Plant Nutrition and Pest Control,Energy in World Agriculture. Z.R.
Helsel (ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Osteen, C., and J. Fernandez-Cornejo. 2013. “Economic and Policy Issues of U.S. Agricultural
Pesticide Use Trends,” Pest Management Science 69 (9): 1001-1025, September.
Osteen, C., L. Joe Moffitt, and A.W. Johnson. 1988. “Risk Efficient Action Thresholds for Nematode
Management,” Journal of Production Agriculture 1 (4): 332-38.
Osteen, C., and P. Szmedra. 1989. Agricultural Pesticide Use Trends and Policy Issues. AER-622.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Sept.
36
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
Owen, M.D.K. 2009. 2010 Herbicide Guide for Iowa Corn and Soybean Production: New Options
for Weed Management in 2010. Agronomy Department, Iowa State University Extension, Nov.
Owen, M.D.K (Agronomy Department, Iowa State University). 2010. “Herbicide-Resistant Weeds
in Genetically Engineered Crops.” Statement before the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy,
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington,
DC, July 28.
Padgitt, M., D. Newton, R. Penn, and C. Sandretto. 2000. Production Practices for Major Crops in
U.S. Agriculture, 1990-97. SB-969, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
Aug.
Ragsdale, D.W., D.A. Landis, J. Brodeur, G.E. Heimpel and N. Desneux. 2011. “Ecology and
Management of the Soybean Aphid in North America,” Annual Review of Entomology 56:
375 -399.
Rogers, E. 1995. Diffusion of Innovations, 4th Edition. Free Press, New York.
Sexton, S.E., Z. Lei, and D. Zilberman. 2007. “The Economics of Pesticides and Pest Control,
International Journal of Environmental and Resource Economics 1: 271-326.
Skopec, M.P. 1998. “Pesticide Trends in Iowas Surface and Groundwater, 1980-1995,” Iowa DNR,
Geological Survey, Des Moines, IA.
Strickler, P.E., and W.C. Hinson. 1962. Extent of Spraying and Dusting on Farms, 1958 – with
Comparisons, SB-314, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, May.
Szmedra, P.I. 1991. “Pesticide Use in Agriculture,Handbook of Pest Management in Agriculture,
Volume I. D. Pimentel (ed.), Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Teague, M.L., and B. Wade Brorsen. 1995. “Pesticide Productivity: What Are the trends?” Journal
of Agricultural and Applied Economics 27: 276-282.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service. 2009. Crop Profile for Cotton in Texas, College Station, San
Angelo and Lubbock, Texas. http://www.ipmcenters.org/CropProfiles/docs/TXcotton.pdf
Thompson, C. 2011. Personal communication, Agronomy Department, Kansas State University.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 2010. Agricultural
Productivity in the United States: Data Documentation and Methods. http://www.ers.usda.gov/
Data/agproductivity/methods.htm
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1984. Inputs Outlook
and Situation Report. IOS-6, Nov.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1986. Agricultural
Resources: Inputs Situation and Outlook Report. AR-1, Feb.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1987.Agricultural
Resources: Inputs Situation and Outlook Report. AR-5, Jan.
37
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1988. Agricultural
Resources: Inputs Situation and Outlook Report. AR-9, Jan.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1989a. Agricultural
Resources: Inputs Situation and Outlook Report. AR-13, Feb.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1989b. Agricultural
Resources: Inputs Situation and Outlook Report. AR-15, Aug.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1990a. Agricultural
Resources: Inputs Situation and Outlook Report. AR-17, Feb.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 1990b. Agricultural
Resources: Inputs Situation and Outlook Report. AR-20, Oct.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). Agricultural
Productivity in the United States: Data Documentation and Methods. 2010. http://www.ers.usda.
gov/Data/agproductivity/methods.htm
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS). 2010a. “Potatoes:
Background. Briefing Room: Potatoes. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Potatoes/Background.
htm
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS). 2010b. “Pesticide
Expenditures by State: 1949-2009.” Farm Income: Data Files. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/
FarmIncome /FinfidmuXls.htm
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). 2012.
Agricultural Chemical Use Database.http://www.pestmanagement.info/nass/act_dsp_usage_
multiple.cfm
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). 2012.
Agricultural Prices Summary.http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.
do;jsessionid=382330D0A5B78E94538728044886B4D3?documentID=1003
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). 2013.
Agricultural Chemical Use Program,” http://www.nass.usda.gov/Surveys/Guide_to_NASS_
Surveys/Chemical_Use/index.asp
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Various
years. Agricultural Statistics.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Various
years Agricultural Chemical Usage: Field Crops Summaries.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Various
years. Agricultural Chemical Usage: Fruit Summary.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Various
years. Agricultural Chemical Usage: Vegetable Summary.
38
Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 , EIB-124
Economic Research Service/USDA
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). 2011.
Quick-Stats,
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). 2013.
Crop Production Historical Track Records.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1993. R.E.D. Facts: Daminozide,” EPA-738-93-007,
Sept.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1994. “R.E.D. Facts: Mevinphos,”EPA-738-F-94-020,
Sept.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1995. “R.E.D. Facts: Metolachlor,” EPA-738-95-007,
April.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1998. “R.E.D. Facts: Alachlor,” EPA-738-98-018,
Dec.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E