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NASS Issues Ag Chemical Use on Corn for 19 States
Ohio Ag Connection - 05/15/2017

The 2016 Agricultural Chemical Use Survey of corn producers collected data about fertilizer and pesticide use as well as pest management practices in growing corn. NASS conducted the survey in 19 states that together accounted for 92 percent of the 94 million acres planted to corn in the United States in 2016: Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Data are for the 2016 crop year, which includes the one-year period beginning after the 2015 harvest and ending after the 2016 harvest.

Fertilizer refers to a soil-enriching input that contains one or more plant nutrients. For the 2016 crop year, farmers applied nitrogen to 97 percent of planted acres, at an average rate of 145 pounds per acre, for a total of 12 billion pounds. They applied phosphate to 79 percent of corn planted acres, potash to 65 percent, and sulfur to 33 percent.

The pesticide active ingredients used on corn are classified as herbicides (targeting weeds), insecticides (targeting insects), fungicides (targeting fungal disease), or other chemicals (targeting all other pests and other materials, including extraneous crop foliage). Herbicides were applied to 97 percent of planted acres. Insecticides and fungicides were each applied to 12 percent of planted acres.

Among herbicides, atrazine was the most widely used active ingredient (applied to 60 percent of planted acres). It was also the most widely applied ingredient in the 2014 survey of corn producers.

The survey asked growers to report on the practices they used to manage pests, which the survey identifies as weeds, insects, and diseases. Corn growers reported practices in four categories:

- Prevention practices involve actions to keep a pest population from infesting a crop or field.

- Avoidance practices use cultural measures to mitigate or eliminate detrimental effects of pests.

- Monitoring practices observe or detect pests by sampling, counting, or other forms of scouting.

- Suppression practices involve controlling or reducing existing pest populations to mitigate crop damage.

The most widely used monitoring practice in growing corn was scouting for weeds, used on 90 percent of corn planted acres. The top avoidance practice was crop rotation (79 percent). In each category, the most widely used practice in 2016 was also the top practice in the 2014 survey.

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