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This research evaluated the validity of an economic-based measure of agricultural chemical use on specific crop types. Estimated chemical use measures, reported in a budget planning document prepared collaboratively with input from farmers, vendors, researchers, and representatives from numerous agricultural agencies, were compared to chemical use measures collected through face-to-face interviews with local farmers regarding their actual chemical application practices over the past growing season. A rural agricultural-based county in Mississippi, USA, was the study area for this project. The measures of comparison were the estimated and actual ounces of individual fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides used per acre on corn, rice, soybean, wheat, and cotton fields, and the estimated and actual total chemical load, which is the sum of all fungicides, herbicides and insecticides used on the various crops. To obtain information regarding crop type and area of cultivated land, contemporary satellite images, overlaid with property maps, were plotted and provided for the farmers to identify their crop types and delineate their crop boundaries. The crop boundaries were digitized, and a GIS database was developed containing data for crop types, amounts of cultivated land, and chemical types and quantities used. Outcomes of this research could assist in studies requiring agricultural chemical data by using estimates generated by the USDA and other agricultural agencies as an alternative to primary data collection.


Originally published in Transaction on Ecology and the Environment, 85.

Copyright: WIT Press

DOI: 10.2495/EEH050421