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Pesticides Application Technology in China

Opportunities and Challenges Co-exist

Professor Xiong-Kui HE of the Centre for Chemicals Application Technology, College  of  Science,  China Agricultural University (22Kb JPEG)
Professor Xiong-Kui HE of the Centre for Chemicals Application Technology, College of Science, China Agricultural University


Status of Agrochemical Production and Application in China

Overview:

Modern pesticides demand precision in their application. Failing to apply pesticides precisely has caused

  • pesticide residues to occur in food;
  • damage to the crop because of uneven spray patterns;
  • environmental pollution including contamination of ground water caused by run-off;
  • occupational poisoning of operators and has risked
  • accidental poisoning of bystanders. 

Applying modern pesticides precisely, requires 

  • trained, knowledgeable operators; and 
  • better performing robust spraying equipment; designed  to
  • deliver the spray liquid accurately to the insect or to the leaf of the weed or crop. 

China has vast tracts of land and even though there are large national farms, is still predominantly a country with a small-scale farming economy with each family carrying out its productin and management separately. The large national farms and agricultural machinery co-operatives have advanced equipment and experienced operators. However, on the small family-run farms, pesticides have been applied by operators with little or no training, mainly using knapsack sprayers, where up to 70 - 80% of the pesticide sprayed may run off off or drift and miss the intended surfaces. The developmement and use of spraying equipment and application techniques are out of balance!

Professor Xiong-Kui HE of the Centre for Chemicals Application Technology (CCAT), College  of  Science,  China Agricultural University, describes with an engaging honesty the problems that China has recognised and the co-ordinated and ongoing efforts to overcome the challenges.

Background

China has a population of 1.3 billion with only

  • one third of the global average of arable land per person; and
  • only one quarter of the global average of water per person.

This means the pressure on natural resources is extremely high and that agriculture and in particular, crop production is a high priority.

The Chinese Government thus designed and implemented reform policies to stimulate village and township enterprises, improve rural and agricultural economic structures and to close the technological gap of agriculture and food production. As a result, China’s agricultural and rural economy has grown hugely in the past 30 years and China is now the largest producer of grain, cotton, fruit, meat, poultry, egg and aquatic product.  It is now also the world’s primary producer and consumer of pesticides - which is a cause for pride and concern.

Consumer and Governmental interest in producing safe and healthy food has triggered a keen interest in pesticide application causing co-ordinated and continued efforts in its management and in the protection of human health and environmental safety.

2008: China is now the world’s primary producer and consumer of pesticides - which is a cause for pride and concern. (Data Source for map: China's Ministry of Agriculture) Diagram. (43Kb JPEG)
2008: China is now the world’s primary producer and consumer of pesticides - which is a cause for pride and concern. (Data Source for map: China's Ministry of Agriculture)

In 2008, pesticide use in China was about one million tonnes and was applied over a diverse range of crops.

Graph showing value of pesticide use by crop, 2008 (Data source: China's Ministry of Agricutlure) (25Kb JPEG)
2008: Value of pesticide use by crop (Data source: China's Ministry of Agricutlure)

Knapsack sprayers are the most frequently used piece of pesticide application equipment ...

Market share of crop protection machinery by % of units sold, 2005 (Data source: China's Ministry of Agricutlure) (19Kb JPEG)
2005: Market share of crop protection machinery by % of units sold (Data source: China's Ministry of Agricutlure)

and are used by about 400 million small farmers in China. Together these small farmers comprise the largest of the three management patterns in Chinese Agriculture of:

  • household farm,
  • small-scaled agricultural co-operation organization and
  • national farm
Management pattern and planting area of farms in China, 2005 (Data source: China's Ministry of Agricutlure) (21Kb JPEG)
2005: Management pattern and planting area of farms in China (Data source: China's Ministry of Agricutlure)

 Knapsack sprayers (accounting for 80% market share) are

  • used in fields, orchards and greenhouses;
  • have a short service life of up to three years; are produced by
  • 160 different manufacturers; who together sell
  • 11 million units per year
Knapsack sprayer operators; some without protective clothing, gloves or mask.  (27 Kb JPEG)
Knapsack sprayer operators; some without protective clothing, gloves or mask.

Knapsack Motor-driven sprayers account for 13% market share and are

  • used in fields principally on rice, cotton and grapes; 
  • have a service life of 3 -5 years; are produced by
  • 110 manufacturers, who together sell
  • 10,000 units per year
Motorised knapsack sprayers (17Kb JPEG)
Motorised knapsack sprayers

Boom sprayers (5% market share) are

  • Used on national farms;
  • Have a service life of up to 7 years; produced by
  • 40 manufacturers; which sell 
  • 10,000 units per year
Different boom sprayers (17 Kb JPEG)
Different boom sprayers in China

Orchard Sprayers

  • Have a service life of up to 7 years; are produced by
  • 10 Manufacturers; which sell
  • 110 units per year
Different orchard sprayers in China (38 Kb JPEG)
Different orchard sprayers in China

Aerial spraying out is only carried out over government farms.

Aerial spraying over government farms in China (10Kb JPEG)
Aerial spraying over government farms in China

The challenges facing China are an increasing population with higher nutritional expectations and a reducing land area. The implications of meeting these challenges is discussed next .

Acknowledgement and Reference

Adapted and presented here by kind permission of the Association of Applied Biologists

Xiongkui, H. (2010). The opportunity and challenge of pesticide application for agriculture and horticulture in China. Paper presented at the Aspects of Applied Biology 99, International Advances in Pesticide Application, Cambridge


Agrochemical production and applicationChallenges | Progress R&D | Progress: structures and systems


 
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