Reclaiming the future of food and farming

PANNA: World and U.S. Agrochemical Market in 1998

Andrew Olsen's picture
Jul 22, 1999 -- Andrew Olsen

Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)

World and U.S. Agrochemical Market in 1998

July 23, 1999

Data recently released by consultants, industry associations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provide new information on agrochemical sales worldwide and use of pesticides on U.S. field crops.

Several sources estimated the world agrochemical market at approximately US$31 billion in 1998. This represents less than 0.2% growth over 1997 sales, after figuring in currency and inflation factors. Sales of genetically engineered seed, however, increased by 145% over 1997 figures to US$1.6 billion.

According to the American Crop Protection Association, U.S. agrochemical sales by member corporations grew by 1.1% to almost US$9 billion in 1998. Agricultural pesticide use accounted for approximately 82% of sales. Exports remained the same as in 1997 at about US$2.9 billion; however, volume of exports rose by 8.7% to over 700 million pounds.

Herbicides accounted for 68% of total U.S. pesticide sales at approximately US$6 billion. Sales of herbicides for agricultural use fell by 1.8% to US$5.2 billion, while non-crop herbicide sales rose by almost 19%.

Almost 53% of all U.S. agricultural agrochemical sales were for pesticides used on maize and soybeans. Sales of soil-applied maize insecticides increased by 27% in 1998 to US$255 million. Cotton is still the third largest market, but sales were down by 11% from 1997 figures to US$732 million. Rice showed the greatest increase in pesticide sales in 1998, with the market increasing by 28% to US$191 million.

In the U.S. last year, Monsanto's Roundup (glyphosate) replaced Cyanamid's imazethapyr as the most widely used herbicide on soybeans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service. The volume of glyphosate used almost doubled to 28.1 million pounds as a result of increased plantings of Roundup Ready soybeans (soybeans genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate).

In the 16 states surveyed, herbicides were applied to 95% of the 65.7 million acres of soybeans that were planted, representing 91% of total U.S. soybean acreage. Glyphosate was applied to 46% of the surveyed acreage at an average rate of 0.7 pounds per acre. In contrast, only 28% of the surveyed acreage was sprayed with glyphosate in 1997.

Herbicides were applied to 96% of the maize planted in the 16 states surveyed. Maize grown in those states represented 89% of total U.S. maize. Atrazine was applied to 69% of the maize and remains the most widely used herbicide on the crop. Insecticides including chlorpyrifos and terbufos were applied to 30% of the maize crop surveyed in 1998.

Ten states were surveyed for upland cotton in 1998, representing 92% of the total acreage. Trifluralin was the most widely used herbicide and was applied to 57% of the area surveyed &emdash; followed by fluometuron (32%) and glyphosate (30%). Insecticides were applied to 71% of upland cotton, with aldicarb being the most widely used.

The USDA's Agricultural Chemical Usage 1998 Field Crops Summary can be accessed from the National Agriculture Statistics Service web site at

Source: Agrow: World Crop Protection News, June 11, 1999.

Contact: PANNA.


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