Prior to the widespread adoption of synthetic chemical pesticides in U.S. crop production in the 1950s, many pests were destroying a significant portion of the food supply. Following the widespread adoption of pesticide use, the losses due to pests were reduced significantly. This point was made in an economic analysis by University of Maryland researchers…..
“… models indicate crop damage on the order of 15% during the early 1950s and crop damage falling steadily as pesticide use spread, reaching 11% in the mid 1960s, 6% in the mid 1970s, and stabilizing at about 3% from 1979 through the ensuing decade.”
Authors: Robert G. Chambers and Erik Lichtenberg
Affiliation: University of Maryland Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics
Title: Simple econometrics of pesticide productivity.
Publication: American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 1994. 76:407-417.