Introduction to Pesticide Use Data System Sources

The Pesticide Use Data System (PUDS) manages an extensive data system covering agricultural pesticide use in the U.S. It draws exclusively on U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) surveys going back to the late 1960s.

Since 1990, NASS has surveyed major grain and row crops on a nearly annual basis. Vegetable crops are surveyed in even years, and fruit crops in odd years.

Data is compiled and reported for herbicides, insecticide, fungicides, and other pesticides, by active ingredient, by crop, and at the national and state levels. States accounting for about 85% or more of national crop acreage in a given year are typically surveyed by NASS.

Each crop-year table in a NASS report includes the percent of surveyed acres treated with pesticide X, the average one-time rate of application, the average number of applications, the rate per crop year (average rate multiplied by average number of applications), and the pounds of active ingredient applied.

Over many years, NASS has carried out its surveys with a consistent methodology, producing the highest quality, publicly accessible dataset on trends in pesticide use by U.S. farmers. M2M will develop and post easy-to-use lookup tools to provide access to specific information on pesticide use by crop, pesticide, state, and over time.
PUDS can be used to analyze the impacts of pesticide regulatory policy changes, or specific regulatory actions, as well as the impacts of new technology and changes in pest pressure.

For example, the introduction of nicotinyl insecticides in the mid-1990s provided farmers badly needed alternatives to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides known to pose relatively high risks to farmworkers, and consumers via dietary residues. The shift in reliance toward the nicotinyls can be studied in considerable detail via this data set, in conjunction with other analytical systems.