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UK: Nine organofluorine pesticides rank in the top 30 for
"Most Widely used pesticides in the UK (by Area Treated)"

Published 29 April 2000

by the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
in the online report, "Design of a Tax or Charge Scheme for Pesticides"
Annex C3: Overview of Pesticide Industry

Note from FAN:

-- 3 organofluorine pesticides are in the top 10 for "Most Widely used pesticides in the UK (by Area Treated)"
-- 8 organofluorine pesticides are among the top 30 in this same category

Table C3.5: 50 Most Widely used pesticides in the UK (by Area Treated)
1 Formulation Method Area treated (ha) Weight applied (kg ai)
2 Cypermethrin Spray 2,372,421 55,853
3 Chlormequat Spray 1,878,021 2,034,822
4 Isoproturon Spray 1,563,683 2,371,357
5 Chlorothalonil Spray 1,505,981 639,793
6 Diflufenican/isoproturon Spray 1,057,086 662,735
7 Fenpropidin Spray 1,045,437 264,621
8 Carbendazim Spray 925,711 203,691
9 Fluroxypyr Spray 842,392 104,821
10 Flusilazole Spray 809,648 90,564
11 Tebuconazole Spray 789,064 94,162
12 Metsulfuron-methyl Spray 765,118 3,311
13 Bitertanol/fuberidazole Seed Trmt 746,986 79,609
14 Epoxiconazole Spray 710,744 46,860
15 Fenpropimorph Spray 704,623 201,399
16 Tebuconazole/triazoxide Seed Trmt 621,209 6,231
17 Glyphosate Spray 601,915 487,209
18 Mecoprop-P Spray 557,394 368,791
19 Carbendazim/flusilazole Spray 543,185 94,324
20 Flutriafol Spray 496,556 37,357
21 Lambda-cyhalothrin Spray 485,072 2,445
22 Guazatine Seed Trmt 437,582 48,740
23 Cyproconazole Spray 417,703 17,857
24 Tebuconazole/triadimenol Spray 391,401 76,690
25 Fuberidazole/triadimenol Seed Trmt 390,735 28,890
26 Chlormequat/choline chloride Spray 351,017 449,219
27 Mancozeb Spray 348,021 415,039
28 Mecoprop Spray 339,702 374,865
29 Trifluralin Spray 336,747 314,200
30 Fludioxonil Seed Trmt 333,533 2,946
31 Cyproconazole/prochloraz Spray 318,543 81,552
32 Metaldehyde Spray 296,965 121,118
33 Dimethoate Spray 291,578 99,023
34 Fenoxaprop-P-ethyl Spray 290,069 15,347
35 Fenpropimorph/tridemorph Spray 287,046 85,637
36 Phenmedipham Spray 283,216 65,318
37 Metamitron Spray 282,779 239,623
38 Sulphur Spray 275,573 1,243,912
39 Pirimicarb Spray 273,173 28,948
40 Thiram Seed Trmt 262,196 14,497
41 Fenpropimorph/gamma-HCH/thiram Seed Trmt 260,358 27,687
42 Propiconazole Spray 259,917 20,437
43 Chlormequat/choline
Spray 255,934 171,274
44 Bromoxynil/ioxynil Spray 255,499 84,765
45 Isoproturon/pendimethalin Spray 251,536 418,524
46 Esfenvalerate Spray 247,626 927
47 2-chloroethylphosphonic
Spray 243,128 103,690
48 Chlorothalonil/flutriafol Spray 226,595 126,289
49 Pendimethalin Spray 222,882 177,190
50 Tri-allate Spray 219,597 394,575
51 Hymexazol Seed Trmt 199,289 13,791
Source: Pesticide Use Survey

The full report, minus some Figures, is available at

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Design of a Tax or Charge Scheme for Pesticides

ANNEX C3: Overview of Pesticide Industry

C3.1. Introduction: Global Nature of the Pesticides Industry

The extent to which the pesticides industry has become global in its outlook is an important factor to take into account when we consider the extent to which one could expect a tax or charge implemented unilaterally in the UK to affect patterns of innovation in pesticide formulations. The agrochemical industry is becoming increasingly concentrated as a result of a continuing wave of mergers and acquisitions, as well as strategic alliances, that has been occurring, with varying intensity, over the last three decades.

Some of the key influences have been:

The most recent spate of mergers and acquisitions (see for example AGROW 1998) has been prompted by the last two of these influences. The agrochemical industry is now no longer focused solely on chemicals.

Increasingly, large corporations have absorbed seed companies into their operations with a view to engineering seeds to express resistance or tolerance to proprietary pesticides. Of all genetically engineered seed varieties which have been tested for, just over half have been designed to be resistant to herbicides (the economic logic of which is that the appropriability characteristic of pesticides coming off-patent can effectively be extended through such means).1 As Beer (1998, 19) puts it, 'The days of seed companies selling commodity seed products that will be sprayed with pesticides marketed by a separate industry are clearly numbered.'

A general awareness of the environmental issues facing the industry is leading to exploration of technologies which, the industry argues, improve the environmental profile of agrochemical use. In addition, there is a growing emphasis on biopesticides. A recent report from Frost and Sullivan (using a broad definition which included genetically engineered crops, biopesticides - including strobilurin based fungicides - and other biocontrols) estimated that the EU market for biopesticides would increase by over 60% by 2004 (Frost and Sulivan 1997, cited in Agrow 1997).

The industry is now characterised by the dominance of large corporations with a global outlook (see Table C3.1; Koechlin and Wittke 1998). The emphasis is on widespread use of products across different regions of the globe. The increasing stringency of regulations, which might itself have driven a greater concentration in the industry (through effectively increasing entry barriers - see Ollinger and Fernandez-Cornejo 1998), has increased the costs of research and development. Several commentators have remarked upon the tension between the quest for widespread applicability (and therefore, a larger selling market) and the desirability (in environmental terms) of more pesticides which are more specific in their action.

Table C3.1: Agrochemical Sales of the Leading Companies
  Agrochemical Sales of the Leading Companies
1996 (1995)   1996 (1995) Agchem Sales % Change vs
1995 National
Ranking   Company $ Mill National Currency mill $ National
1 (-) Novartis 4,527
SwFr 5,594
(SwFr 5,118)
+4.5 +9.3
2 (2) Monsanto 2,997
+22.8 +22.8
3 (3) Zeneca 2,630
+11.3 +12.5
4 (6) Du Pont 2,472
+6.5 +6.5
5 (4) AgrEvo 2,419
DM 3,639
(DM 3,358)
+3.2 +8.4
6 (5) Bayer 2,360
DM 3,550
(DM 3,341)
+1.2 +1.9
7 (7) Rhône-Poulenc 2,210
Fr 11,304
(Fr 10,428)
+5.7 +4.1
8 (8) DowElanco 2,000
+1.9 +13.8
9 (9) Cynamid (AHP) 1,989
+4. +16.1
10 (10) BASF 1,541
DM 2,319
(DM 2,037)
+8.4 +10.2
11 (12) Sumitomo Chemical 698
+0.4 +16.8
12 (14) FMC 650
+10.2 +3.2
13 (15) ISK 540
+0.9 -4.1
14 (17) Rohm and Haas 514
+3.2 +24.9
15 (13) Kumiai 495
-17.1 -0.3
16 (22) Makhteshim-Agan 472
+24.9 -9.3
17 (18) Nihon Nohyaku 403
-13.7 +8.3
18 (16) Sankyo 396
-21.6 +0.2
19 (24) Uniroyal 353
+8.3 +2.8
20 (20) Hokko 352
-13.5 +3.7
21 (21) Takeda 345
-11.1 +8.0
22 (19) Nissan Chemical 345
-10.2 +43.8
23 (24) Fernz/Nufarm 323
+13.3 +9.8
24 (25) Nippon Soda 304
25 (-) Cheminova 264
DKr 1,370
(DKr 1,250)
Source: AGROW (1997)
N.B. Monsanto was taken over by American Home Products (AHP) early in 1998. AHP owns American Cynamid.

C3.2 Data Quality

Ideally when analysing the impact of a pesticide tax or charge, a complete set of data on pesticide use would be available. However, while in Great Britain we are in the relatively fortunate position of having good data provided by the Pesticide Use Survey (PUS), data on use levels of pesticides by active ingredient, at a European and in particular world level, tends to be more limited in scope and reliability. Furthermore, the definition of the term pesticides (and therefore, what exactly the data refers to) is not always made clear. As pointed out in the discussion concerning the scope of the economic instrument, the definition of 'pesticide' can vary across countries and contexts. In order to get a good overview of the UK pesticide industry in the world context, we have accessed a number of sources (see Appendix C.1).

C3.2.1 Pesticide Use Data

The fact that no overall body exists which collects data on world usage, means that in the presentation below, a number of sources have been used. Depending on the source, the extent of information varies depending on the sectors described (agricultural and non agricultural ) and specific information on the use of pesticides (such as for specific crops). Information on pesticide use in Europe is available from the European Commission and data on pesticide use in the US (especially for the state of California) is also available from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). At an aggregate world level however, although the FAO has data on world usage, this is incomplete. Without further investigation, it is difficult to comment on the quality of the information made available in these datasets. However, the Pesticide Use Survey is relatively unique in terms of attempts to obtain quality data on use at the national level. Commercial data for the UK is also available from Produce Studies.

C3.2.2. Pesticide Sales Data

In contrast good data on pesticide sales exists for Europe, as well the world context (partly because the industry is relatively concentrated). Data on sales is provided by organisations such as manufacturers and their representative organisations. In the UK, the chief trade body is the British Agrochemical Association (BAA). In the absence of good use data, sales information can be used as a proxy for pesticide use. Differences between sales data and use data will, however, remain and it is important to be aware of factors which may cause differences in the interpretation of the data. Most notably, the imposition of any economic instrument on pesticides would be expected to lead to some stockpiling, as was the case in Sweden (as reported by Swedish EPA 1997). Also, it is possible that domestic use or sales as recorded through official channels may underestimate the total where there are incentives to smuggle products across borders, as could happen under the imposition of a tax.

C3.3 Pesticide Sales And Use At The Global Level

It is worth considering the significance of the UK pesticides market in global terms so as to understand some of the effects that a pesticides tax/ charge might have.

C3.3.1 Pesticide Sales

World wide sales of agrochemical are estimated at US$29,530 million in 1997. Western Europe (including the UK) accounted for 27 % or US$7,400 million of the world market with sales in the UK accounting for US$793.2 million (494.4million)2 or 3% of world sales (BAA, 19983 - see Figure C.3.1).

Figure C3.1 : UK and World Wide Pesticides Sales 1997
Figure C3.1 : UK and World Wide Pesticides Sales 1997

Source: adapted from data from BAA (1998)/Wood Mackenzie Agrochemical Services.

C3.3.2 Pesticide Use

Estimates of the use of pesticides by active ingredients can be derived from the use of FAO data, although, as has already been noted, this is not as reliable as data on the value of pesticide sales. Nevertheless as Figure C.3.2 demonstrates, the impression that global patterns of pesticide use would not be significantly altered by the effect of a pesticide tax or charge in the UK is reinforced.

C3.3.3 Pesticide Use By Product Category.

Looking at the global picture in terms of types of pesticide used, as Table C3.2 and Figure C3.3 show, herbicides account for just under half of all pesticide sales world wide with similar shares of the market in both the UK and the world. In the UK the next most important pesticide in terms of market share are fungicides followed by insecticides and other pesticides. By contrast, at the global level, the market share of insecticides is almost double that of fungicides. Again this shows the relatively small share of the global market accounted for by the UK.

Figure C3.2 : Global Pesticide Use
Figure C3.2 : Global Pesticide Use

Source: FAO, 19984

Table C3.2: Pesticide Sales by Product Category 1995
  Herbicides Insecticides Fungicides Other Total
1995 UK sales US $m 373.43 80.90 217.47 90.84 762.64
1995 World sales US $m 16237.00 12465.00 6355.00 2639.00 37696.00
UK as % of world 2.30 0.65 3.42 3.44 2.02
Source: Data from, BAA (1998) US EPA (1997)

Figure C3.3 : Pesticide sales in the UK and the World by product category as % of total, 1995
Figure C3.3 : Pesticide sales in the UK and the World by product category as % of total, 1995

Source: Data from, BAA (1998) US EPA (1997)

C.3.4 Pesticide Use in EU Member States

EU policy on pesticides is increasingly leading to the requirement for Member States to distinguish between plant protection products and biocides, though both would be classified as pesticides under the UK definition. Data concerning the volume of crop protection products used in agriculture is available from the European Crop Protection Association (1996) and is shown in Table C3.3.

From the Table, it is clear that all EU Member States, with the exception of Ireland, Portugal and Greece, have seen the amount of pesticide use fall (measured in terms of tonnes of active ingredient) between 1990 and 1995. Key factors contributing to this trend are product innovations (lower dose formulations), innovations in application technology, changes in farm management practice (shifts to, e.g., Integrated Crop Management) and national mandatory reduction schemes, as well as payments through agri-environmental schemes (Regulation 2078/92) intended to encourage organic farming, or reduce the level of / prevent further moves towards intensification. In Spain, drought conditions are believed to have been responsible for lower levels of use, consumption increasing in 1996 following the end of drought conditions. As Brouwer and Lowe (1998) point out, the impact of these reductions in use for the environment are not entirely clear, partly because of the very issues that this project seeks to address. They state that 'In many cases what is happening is that farmers are using less of more potent products.'

Table C3.3: Voloume of crop protection products sold in the European Union (tonnes of active ingredient)
Country 1985 1990 1995
Austria   4,247 3,231
Belgium   5,892 4,572
Denmark 7,152 6,244 4,911
Finland 1,893 2,007 1,047
France 98,021 97,701 84,007
Germany 30,053 29,883 25,551
Greece   7,860 8,525
Ireland   1,802 2,639
Italy   58,123 48,190
Portugal   9,355 9,712
The Netherlands 21,632 18,835 10,923
Spain 39,134 39,562 27,852
Sweden 3,660 2,344 1,224
United Kingdom 27,353 23,592 20,627
TOTAL   307,447 253,011
Source: ECPA (1996)

C3.5 Pesticides in the UK

The above Table shows that, in the UK, using the measure of tonnes of active ingredient, use has fallen by some 25% since 1985. Reasons for this include improved efficacy of applications (through use of adjuvants), improvements in application techniques, and new, more active and more specifically targeted products (Produce Studies 1996). As represented by the same measure, use in the UK is approximately 8% of the EU total, the UK being the fourth largest user of plant protection products in the EU.

However, as mentioned above, plant protection products do not show the whole picture concerning the use of pesticides. Pesticides include biocides as well as plant protection products used outside agriculture by local authorities, at the side of railways, on golf courses and in other areas. It is difficult to obtain a consistent dataset for either sales or use, in either tonnes of active ingredient or value of sales, for all purposes and classifications.

The BAA provides data which is consistent, but the BAA does not represent the entirety of the pesticide industry in the UK. UKASTA (the UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association) represents some 66 distributor companies, some of whom buy from BAA members, but some of whom also buy from parallel importers. The picture is further complicated by the fact that BAA data refer to sales at manufacturer level, whilst UKASTA figures on sales relate to sales at the retail end. Non-BAA UKASTA members' pesticide sales amounted to approximately 100 million. It is difficult to know what the value of retail sales would be without estimating mark-ups, and without knowing the extent of BAA member sales to UKASTA members (and others).

Data from the ONS is wildly at odds with the figures from both trade associations. The ONS data do not tally with the BAA or UKASTA figures, and nor do they appear to square with the data on use from the Pesticide Use Survey (from which, one can gain some knowledge of the size of the UK market). The BAA estimates that its figures refer to approximately 95% of the market. Given that this dataset is consistent, we have chosen to use it. It is shown alongside other estimates of use coming from other sources (Table C3.4).5

The significance of arable cropping for pesticide use as a whole is clear from the above. A paper by Hearn (1997) notes that of 111,000 farm holdings in Great Britain with more than 20 hectares of grass and arable crops, the typical arable farm applies some 6.5 separate crop protection brands per hectare, some of these containing more than one active ingredient. By contrast grassland farms apply less than 0.05 brands per hectare.

The Pesticide Use Survey provides data on use across Great Britain at a regional level. The old MAFF regions are used. Information is available by active ingredient but the data is restricted to agricultural use. This data is drawn upon throughout the subsequent analysis, and the 50 most used products (by area treated) are shown in Table C3.5.

Table C3.4: Figures for Pesticide use (Tons) &Sales (m)
Garden & Household Use Garden & Household Sales Industrial, Amenity
Forestry Use
Industrial, Amenity
Forestry Sales
Herbicides 623 9621 2019 16.1 625 12.1 11160 205.3
Fungicides 31 6303 39 2 94 4.3 6032 147.4
Insecticides 12 1167 154 5.7 17 0.7 1055 35.5
Growth regulators 9 2582         2744 16.2
Soil sterilants   434            
Molluscicides   264         140 3.2
Desiccants   32            
Repellents   4            
Biological control agents   2            
Others     73 3.9 8   1074 43.5
Total 675 20409 2285 27.7 744 17.1 22205 451.1
Source: 1995 Produce Studies report   1997 BAA
Garden & Household
1997, BAA
note does not include others
1997 BAA
amenity industrial & forestry
1997, BAA
does not include others
1997 BAA
Agricultural & horticultural
1997, BAA
does not include others

Table C3.5: 50 Most Widely used pesticides in the UK (by Area Treated)
Formulation Method Area treated (ha) Weight applied (kg ai)
Cypermethrin Spray 2,372,421 55,853
Chlormequat Spray 1,878,021 2,034,822
Isoproturon Spray 1,563,683 2,371,357
Chlorothalonil Spray 1,505,981 639,793
Diflufenican/isoproturon Spray 1,057,086 662,735
Fenpropidin Spray 1,045,437 264,621
Carbendazim Spray 925,711 203,691
Fluroxypyr Spray 842,392 104,821
Flusilazole Spray 809,648 90,564
Tebuconazole Spray 789,064 94,162
Metsulfuron-methyl Spray 765,118 3,311
Bitertanol/fuberidazole Seed Trmt 746,986 79,609
Epoxiconazole Spray 710,744 46,860
Fenpropimorph Spray 704,623 201,399
Tebuconazole/triazoxide Seed Trmt 621,209 6,231
Glyphosate Spray 601,915 487,209
Mecoprop-P Spray 557,394 368,791
Carbendazim/flusilazole Spray 543,185 94,324
Flutriafol Spray 496,556 37,357
Lambda-cyhalothrin Spray 485,072 2,445
Guazatine Seed Trmt 437,582 48,740
Cyproconazole Spray 417,703 17,857
Tebuconazole/triadimenol Spray 391,401 76,690
Fuberidazole/triadimenol Seed Trmt 390,735 28,890
Chlormequat/choline chloride Spray 351,017 449,219
Mancozeb Spray 348,021 415,039
Mecoprop Spray 339,702 374,865
Trifluralin Spray 336,747 314,200
Fludioxonil Seed Trmt 333,533 2,946
Cyproconazole/prochloraz Spray 318,543 81,552
Metaldehyde Spray 296,965 121,118
Dimethoate Spray 291,578 99,023
Fenoxaprop-P-ethyl Spray 290,069 15,347
Fenpropimorph/tridemorph Spray 287,046 85,637
Phenmedipham Spray 283,216 65,318
Metamitron Spray 282,779 239,623
Sulphur Spray 275,573 1,243,912
Pirimicarb Spray 273,173 28,948
Thiram Seed Trmt 262,196 14,497
Fenpropimorph/gamma-HCH/thiram Seed Trmt 260,358 27,687
Propiconazole Spray 259,917 20,437
Spray 255,934 171,274
Bromoxynil/ioxynil Spray 255,499 84,765
Isoproturon/pendimethalin Spray 251,536 418,524
Esfenvalerate Spray 247,626 927
Spray 243,128 103,690
Chlorothalonil/flutriafol Spray 226,595 126,289
Pendimethalin Spray 222,882 177,190
Tri-allate Spray 219,597 394,575
Hymexazol Seed Trmt 199,289 13,791
Source: Pesticide Use Survey

1 A 1994 OECD study of field-testing of genetically engineered crops showed that 740 of 1257 traits tested were for herbicide resistance or tolerance (GRAIN 1994), whilst as of September 1996, 4 of 7 approved products and 6 of the 9 up for approval in the European Union were engineered for herbicide tolerance (CEC 1996). An estimated 54% of the global area planted to transgenic crops in 1997 were crops engineered for this trait (James 1997). The ability to do this may encourage the tailoring of crops to resist or tolerate broad spectrum herbicides with attendant ecological consequences.

2 Converted using average annual exchange rates.

3 Adapted from BAA data provided by Wood Mackenzie Agrochemical Service

4 Figures are based on FAO estimates. Where 1995 data was not available the nearest years figures were taken.

5 We are grateful to the BAA for their co-operation in providing us with data and details of what the data refers to.

Published 29 April 2000