The amount of crop protection products sold last year (compared with 2004) declined by 14% in value and by 18% in terms of the amount of active ingredient used, according to latest figures from the Crop Protection Association.

While this reduction may be slightly exaggerated by the 10% increase seen in 2004 due to higher disease pressure, sales were still around 4-5% down in 2005, said the CPA’s chief executive, Peter Sanguinetti.

“There was definitely a downward movement in 2005, which may be partly due to a 4% reduction in the area of cereals sown,” he noted. “There’s also been a huge response to the VI (Voluntary Initiative), which must have had an effect.”

Generally lower levels of disease last year and a switch by growers to more concentrated, modern products is also likely to have contributed to the reduction in amount of active ingredient used, he said.

Looking to this season, Mr Sanguinetti said: “2006 has been a funny year so far, but we could possibly see a downward trend again, although it’s still too early to tell by how much.”

  2005 UK Sales (£000) % change (12 months) 2005 Active ingredients (000 kg) % change (12 months)
 Herbicides  149,156  -17  11,813  -21
 Fungicides  131,926  -13  4,362  -12
 Insecticides  25,741  -5  897  -2
 Others  36,938   -9  3,899 -15
 Total  343,762   -14  20,971

-18