1989 Recommended Pesticide and Nitrogen Use Survey: Description and Policy Applications, The

Leland Thompson, Jay D. Atwood, P. G. Lakshminarayan, Jason F. Shogren, Stanley R. Johnson
April 1991  [91-TR 19]

The public and the agricultural community are concerned with the impact of agrichemical use on the environment. Of particular concern is the impact of pesticides and nitrogen on the quality of surface and ground waters (Nielson and Lee 1987). Although a national effort is under way to address agricultural contributions to water contamination, lack of data is hindering progress. Data are needed to characterize agrichemical use and its subsequent fate and transport throughout the ecosystem. Reliable data are vital for informed policy decisions weighing the potential risks and benefits (Delwiche 1970). In the absence of that data about total amounts of agrichemicals being used on crops and the rates and methods of application, it is difficult to describe the link between agricultural porduction practices and environmental quality, or to assess the impacts of programs and policies addressing water quality.

This report documents the 1989 Recommended Pesticide and Nitrogen Use Survey. The survey was conducted to alleviate part of the data deficiency by collecting detailed information on recommended pesticide and nitrogen uses and application practices in 48 states. Information on usage was obtained by crop, tillage practice, and soil texture. Crops covered in the survey included alfalfa, barley, corn grain, corn silage, cotton oats, pasture, other hay, peanuts, sorghum grain, sorghum silage, soybeans, spring and winter wheat, and sunflowers. Tillage practices included spring and fall plow conventional tillage, conservation tillage, ridge tillage, and no tillage. By providing detailed information on the rate and total amount of agrichemicals applied to the soil surface, the survey provides data for investigating the behavioral and economic links between environmental quality and decision making within agricultural production. In addition, the data can be used in assesing the impacts of policies and porgrams addressing water quality.

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