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Data Series 907

National Water-Quality Assessment Program

Estimated Annual Agricultural Pesticide Use for Counties of the Conterminous United States, 2008–12

By Nancy T. Baker and Wesley W. Stone

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (6.32 MB)Abstract

Annual county-level pesticide use was estimated for 423 herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides applied to agricultural crops grown in the conterminous United States during 2008–12. For all States except California, pesticide-use data were compiled from proprietary surveys of farm operations located within U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Reporting Districts (CRDs). Surveyed pesticide-use data were used in conjunction with county annual harvested-crop acres reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture 2007 and 2012 Censuses of Agriculture and the 2008–11 County Agricultural Production Survey to calculate use rates per harvested-crop acre, or an “estimated pesticide use” (EPest) rate, for each crop by year. County-use estimates were then calculated by multiplying EPest rates by harvested-crop acres for each pesticide crop combination. Use estimates for California were obtained from annual Department of Pesticide Regulation-Pesticide Use Reports.

Proprietary surveyed pesticide-use data were not available for all CRDs and years. When pesticide-survey data were unavailable for a CRD in a particular year, EPest extrapolated rates were calculated from adjoining or nearby CRDs to ensure that pesticide use was estimated for all counties where harvested-crop acres were reported. Two estimation methods were used—EPest-low and EPest high—and differed in how they treated situations when a CRD was surveyed and pesticide use was not reported for a particular pesticide-by-crop combination. California pesticide-use estimates were not extrapolated; therefore, EPest-low and EPest-high are the same for counties in California.

This data series is a continuation of the 1992–2009 pesticide-use estimates reported by Stone (2013). It is an update of estimates for 2008–9 (Stone, 2013), as well as an update of the 2010–11 preliminary estimates reported by Baker and Stone (2013). EPest values from these compilations (1992–2012) are suitable for making national, regional, and watershed assessments of annual pesticide use. County-level estimates are provided to make it easier to compile watershed assessments; however, users should be aware there is a greater degree of uncertainty in individual county-level estimates when compared to CRD or State-level estimates. This report provides EPest-low and EPest-high annual agricultural pesticide use for counties of the conterminous United States for 423 compounds during 2008–12 in tab-delimited files organized by compound, year, State Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, county FIPS code, and amount in kilograms (kg).

EPest-high county pesticide-use estimates were divided into tables 1 through 7 by pesticide name:

Table 1: 2, 4-D through Chlorantraniliprole
Table 2: Chlorethoxyfos through Diflufenzopyr
Table 3: Dimethenamid through Gibberellic acid
Table 4: Glufosinate through Metiram
Table 5: Metolachlor through Propazine
Table 6: Propiconazole through Triasulfuron
Table 7: Tribenuron methyl through Zoxamide

EPest-low county pesticide-use estimates were divided into tables 8 through 14 by pesticide name:

Table 8: 2, 4-D through Chlorantraniliprole
Table 9: Chlorethoxyfos through Diflufenzopyr
Table 10: Dimethenamid through Gibberellic acid
Table 11: Glufosinate through Metiram
Table 12: Metolachlor through Propazine
Table 13: Propiconazole through Triasulfuron
Table 14: Tribenuron methyl through Zoxamide

First posted January 14, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Director, Indiana Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
5957 Lakeside Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46278

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. More information about viewing, downloading, and printing report files can be found here.

Suggested citation:

Baker, N.T., and Stone, W.W., 2015, Estimated annual agricultural pesticide use for counties of the conterminous United States, 2008–12: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 907, 9 p.,

ISSN 2327–638X (online)




Purpose and Scope

Methods for Estimating Pesticide Use

Estimated Annual Pesticide Use

References Cited


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