Pesticides sales figures show that Ireland decreased its pesticide use by approximately 16.3% from 2011 to 2021.

This is a big help to achieving the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy targets which aim for a decline in pesticide use and risk of 50%.

A large number of products have been removed from use. For example, chlorothalonil and this is also contributing to the 50% reduction target.

This article will focus on sales. The figures include total pesticide sales from all sectors, such as agriculture, amenity and domestic use.

Fungicides and bactericides use declined by 32% over the 10 years, while herbicides, haulm destructors and moss killers use declined by about 16.6%.

Neonicotinoids ban

Insecticides and acaricides use declined by a massive 84%. The banning of neonicotinoids most likely played a big role in this. Neonicotinoids were applied as a seed dressing to winter cereals. Many farmers have also reduced their use of insecticide sprays.

The use of molluscicides actually went up dramatically - by 222%. Plant growth regulator use also increased by over 90,000kg, an increase of almost 50%.

Other plant protection product usage stayed about the same. In total, pesticide use went from 3.09m kg in 2011 to 3.69m kg in 2021. That’s a reduction of 601,520kg or 16.3%.

Table 1 details all of the products and kilogrammes of product used. It should be noted that the products are classified in the EU, so some categories include products that we would not use in Ireland such as acaricides, which control ticks and mites.