UK apple growers produce about 400 million pounds of apples per year. About 18 insecticide and fungicide sprays are made yearly to control pests including scab, mildew, aphids and codling moth. By applying a full spray program, good growers have restricted losses due to pests and diseases to very low levels, usually no more than 1-2%. Below, an economic cost-benefit study determined the likely effect on UK apple production if growers did not use pesticides…
“Apples are the most important fruit crop in the UK in terms of area of production and require relatively high levels of pesticide inputs. … If pesticides were not used, apple production would thus not be commercially viable, and the market shortfall would be made up by imports at a similar price. With a negative gross margin apple producers would leave the industry and find other uses for their land.”
Authors: J.P.G. Webster and R.G. Bowles
Affiliation: Farm Business Unit, Wye College, University of London, Kent, UK
Title: Estimating the economic costs and benefits of pesticide use in apples.
Publication: Proceedings of the Brighton Crop Protection Conference, Pests and Diseases. 1996. 4B-1:325-330.