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This topic covers statistics on methods of farming, including use of pesticides, fertilisers, diversification and organic farming techniques.

Publications

British Survey of Fertiliser Practice
Department: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The survey provides data on trends in manufactured fertiliser and organic manure applications on farms to monitor the impact of agriculture on the environment.
Pesticide Usage Survey - Arable crops
Department: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Report on pesticide usage practices on arable crops in Northern Ireland.
Pesticide Usage Survey - Grassland and fodder crops
Department: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Report on pesticide usage practices on grassland and fodder crops in Northern Ireland.
Pesticide Usage Survey - Hardy and Ornamental Nursery Stock Crops
Department: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Report presenting information from a survey of the pesticide usage practices on hardy and protected ornamental nursery stock crops grown in Northern Ireland
Pesticide Usage Survey - Mushroom crops
Department: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Report on pesticide usage practices on mushroom crops in Northern Ireland.
Pesticide Usage Survey - Soft Fruit
Department: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Report on pesticide usage practices on soft fruit crops in Northern Ireland.
Pesticide Usage Survey - Top Fruit
Department: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Report on pesticide usage practices of top fruit growers in Northern Ireland.
Pesticide Usage Survey - Vegetable crops
Department: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Report on pesticide usage practices on vegetable crops in Northern Ireland.
Pesticide Usage in Scotland: Arable Crops and Potato Stores 2012
Department: Scottish Government
Pestcide usage data on Scottish arable crops and in potato stores in 2012.
Pesticide Usage in Scotland: Rodenticides on Arable Farms 2012
Department: Scottish Government
Rodenticide usage data on Scottish arable farms in 2012.
Pesticide Usage in Scotland: Soft Fruit Crops 2012
Department: Scottish Government
Pestcide usage data on Scottish soft fruit crops in 2012.
Survey of Agricultural Production Methods
Department: Scottish Government
Statistics on Scottish Agricultural Production Methods

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Overview

Data on farming methods are derived from a number of data sources.

This topic covers statistics on methods of farming, including use of pesticides, fertilisers, diversification and organic farming techniques.

The annual Farm Practices Survey collects information on a diverse range of topics used to monitor the impact of farming practices on the environment.

Data on pesticides are collected through the annual Pesticide Usage Survey. This collects detailed data on pesticide usage, each year focussing on a specific crop type (for example, arable, horticulture or orchards) in rotation. Data are collected through a personal interview with the holder.

Fertiliser usage is collected through the annual British Survey of Fertiliser Practice, to estimate average application rates of nitrogen, phosphate and potash used for agricultural crops and grassland. Information is also collected on applications of sulphur fertilisers, organic manures and lime.

Data on the levels of diversification out of farming are collected through a variety of sources which are compiled together into a central release, to make it easier to compare between sources.

Data on organic farming are available annually on the areas of organic crops/land and numbers of organic livestock. This data is all sourced from the Organic Certification Bodies.

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Technical Data

Farm Practices Survey

Many of the questions are changed each year as the responses are fairly stable over time.

Topics previously covered include:

  • slurry/manure storage and spreading

  • waste disposal

  • pesticide sprayers

  • water quality

  • animal health/bio security

More recent questions on animal transportation, castration of lambs, cattle housing periods, computer usage and regulatory burdens on farmers have also been added.

The sample size is around 6,000 and is targeted by farm type and size, to ensure representative data across England. Results are published towards the end of July and a fuller report is published in January. The survey is voluntary but the response rate is still around 50 per cent.

Pesticide Usage Survey

The sample is drawn from the June survey of Agriculture returns, to represent the area of all crop types grown throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Samples are stratified according to region and area of crops.

Data are collected during a personal interview with the farmer. Reserves are used as replacements in case of refusals. During the survey, the interviewer completes a form on all aspects of pesticide usage on the individual crops grown on the holding. A separate form is used for each field.

British Survey of Fertiliser Practice

The sample is selected from the June survey of agriculture population. Holdings less than 20 hectares in size are not included in the sample. Farms are stratified by farm type (cropping, livestock and horticulture) and then by four size groups. The target sample size is 1,500 farms and responses are received from approximately 1,300. Reserves are used as replacements in case of refusals.

To help improve the survey response and to reduce the year-on-year variability, a core of respondents complete the survey each year. Responses are weighted to be representative of the national population by using the inverse of the achieved sampling fraction as the weight.

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Glossary

  • Bio security

    Management of the risks to animal, plant and human health posed by pests and diseases.

  • Fertiliser

    A material that provides plants with one or more of the main plant nutrients that help them grow.

  • Inputs

    The costs of production.

  • Pesticides

    Also insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides and bactericides. These are products designed to kill or control any 'pests', including weeds, insects, rodents, fungi, bacteria, or other organisms.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Helen Hoult

Email: helen.hoult@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1904 455327

Zone A2, 3rd Floor Kings Pool 1-2 Peasholme Green York YO1 7PX

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