Pesticide use in agriculture (aei_pestuse)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)
National metadata



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E1: Agriculture and fisheries

1.5. Contact mail address

European Commission, Eurostat
L-2920, LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 01/10/2020
2.2. Metadata last posted 15/03/2021
2.3. Metadata last update 15/03/2021


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The data set comprises the quantity of each active substance contained in plant protection products used on a selected crop on an aggregated level from 2010 onwards.

According to the Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009, the data collection is mandatory for all Member States of the European Union, Norway and Iceland, and optional for other EFTA countries as well as for candidate and potential candidate countries.

The active substances are listed in Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 as amended by Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/269 of 16 February 2017. The quantity of active substances is expressed in kilograms. Eurostat disseminates the active substances on the three aggregation levels available in the harmonised classification of substances, called major groups (first level), categories of products (second level) and chemical classes (third level). The major groups are divided in the following categories:

  • fungicides and bactericides (excluding fungicides of micro-biological or botanical origin);
  • herbicides, haulm destructors and moss killers;
  • insecticides and acaricides (excluding insecticides of micro-biological or botanical origin);
  • molluscicides;
  • plant growth regulators;
  • other plant protection products.

The full code list of active substances and their aggregation levels is annexed at the end of this report (Annex name: 'List of pesticides').

The disseminated data excludes micro-biological substances because of the difficulties to convert units used to express them (such as colony-forming unit (CFU)) into kilogram (kg), the reporting unit used for dissemination.

The area treated with each substance is expressed in hectares. For the data between 2010-2014, the area treated cannot be disseminated, because the values are likely to contain double counting. That means if individual active substances of the same aggregation are applied on the same physical area, the area treated should not be added up not to double the area in the statistics reported. Only for Cyprus, the area treated could be published for 2011-2014, because they sent revisions in 2021 and can guarantee to have double counting excluded. For the data from 2015 onwards, the area treated will be taken into account only for those countries that used an approach to avoid double counting.

The data collection takes place every five years and the first reference year was 2010. Correspondingly, the first 5-year period covers the years 2010-2014. According to the regulation, countries are obliged to collect data at least for one reference year (maximum 12 months) out of five years and cover all plant protection treatments associated with the crop. As a result, the frequency and selection of year(s) differ among the countries. For example, some countries collect data only in one year of the five-year period, others each year or every second or third year. Some collect even different crops in different years (e.g. apples in 2011 and potatoes in 2014).

The selection of crops also differs widely between countries. The regulation stipulates that the crops selected by a country shall be representative of the crops cultivated in the Member State and of the substances used. This led e.g. to a variety of 174 crop codes used in total by all reporting countries for the first 5-year period 2010-2014, of which about 60 crops were only reported by one country each. In order to improve the coherence and possibilities for an EU-wide statistical comparability, Eurostat proposed a reduced list of mandatory crops to collect on a voluntary basis starting from the 5-year period (2020-2024). The proposed list covers different crops of the categories cereals, industrial crops, root crops, permanent crops and vegetables which were identified to be representative for their category and widely grown in Member States. Additionally, Member States are still free to report other crops of national importance.

Considering all these different options (about 29 countries, 164 aggregation levels of active substances, 5 reference years and about 200 crop codes free to choose), this results in a data set of more than 4 million possibilities for data combinations. The data set thus contains a lot of null values (a combination not available for the country). In order to provide a better orientation, an overview table showing the data availability is annexed at the end of this report (Annex name: 'Data availability - overview'). It contains information about which data combination exists in the data set, considering country, year, crop and active substances on major group level.

3.2. Classification system

The classification of the active substances in plant protection products is annexed (Annex III) to Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/269 of 16 February 2017 amending Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning statistics on pesticides.
The active substances are classified according to chemical and functional similarities. Aggregation levels in descending order comprise: major groups, categories of products and chemical classes. The list of substances is revised on a regular basis and at least every five years. The revisions are elaborated with the expert input of DG Health and Food Safety. The code list of active substances and their aggregation levels is annexed at the end of this report (Annex name: 'List of pesticides').

The classification system for crops derives from the Annual crop statistics Handbook 2019. According to the Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009, countries shall select crops which shall be representative of the crops cultivated in the Member State and of the substances used.

The geographical classification for country codes (ISO 3166) is applied.

3.3. Coverage - sector

This data set covers the agricultural sector, in particular statistics on the agricultural use of pesticides on selected crops.

The statistics shall cover substances (listed in Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 as amended by Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/269 of 16 February 2017) contained in pesticides on each selected crop in each Member State.

The selection of crops per country depends on the national relevance of the crops. According to the Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009, the crops selected shall be representative of the crops cultivated in the Member State and of the substances used. The selection of crops shall take into account the most relevant crops for the national action plans as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/128/EC.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Concept

This data collection comprises pesticide use data as specified in Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009. Each Member State shall collect data on pesticide treatments on representative crops during a five-year period.

Variables:

For each selected crop the following variables shall be compiled:

  1. the quantity of each substance listed in Annex III of the Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 contained in pesticides used on this crop, and
  2. the area treated with each substance.

Reporting measures:

  1. Quantities of substances used shall be expressed in kilograms.
  2. Areas treated shall be expressed in hectares.

Reference period:

  1. The reference period shall, in principle, be a period of a maximum of 12 months covering all plant protection treatments associated directly or indirectly with the crop.
  2. The reference period shall be reported as the year in which the harvest began.

 

Definitions

Plant protection products:

Products that consist of or contain active substances (safeners or synergists), and that are intended for one of the following uses:

  • protecting plants or plant products against all harmful organisms or preventing the action of such organisms, unless the main purpose of these products is considered to be for reasons of hygiene rather than for the protection of plants or plant products;
  • influencing the life processes of plants, such as substances influencing their growth, other than as a nutrient;
  • preserving plant products, in so far as such substances or products are not subject to special community provisions on preservatives; 
  • destroying undesired plants or parts of plants, except algae unless the products are applied on soil or water to protect plants; 
  • checking or preventing undesired growth of plants, except algae.

Active substances: 

Substances or micro-organisms, including viruses, having general or specific action against harmful organisms or on plants, parts of plants or plants products. Micro-biological substances are excluded in this data set. According to Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009, active substances can be divided in three aggregation levels, listed hereafter in descending order: Major groups, categories of products and chemical classes.

Crop:

Agricultural plant product that can be cultivated and harvested. The crops follow the definitions contained in the Annual crop statistics Handbook 2019.

The crops selected by countries shall be representative of the crops cultivated in the Member State and of the substances used. The selection of crops shall take into account the most relevant crops for the national action plans as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/128/EC.

Quantity:

Amount of kilograms of the active substances used on a certain crop. Values reported in other units than kilograms are not taken into account in this data set.

Area treated:

The physical area treated with plant protection products in hectares. It can be a whole crop parcel or only parts of a plot. The same physical area can also be treated several times, which can lead to double counting. Therefore, the area treated for the first reference period (2010-2014) is not taken into account as double counting could not be avoided (with the exception of Cyprus, see 3.1). For the second reference period, the area treated will be published only for those countries who can ensure that multiple treatments could be identified and reported  separately. 

3.5. Statistical unit

The basic units of statistical observation for which data are provided are agricultural holdings or crop parcels in most of the countries.

3.6. Statistical population

All plant protection treatments on a selected crop have to be reported. The number of crops however is not prescribed.

3.7. Reference area

The entire territory of each country (NUTS 0) of the EU Member States, UK and Norway.

3.8. Coverage - Time

2010 onwards

(The data for Cyprus for the first reference period (2010-2014) are going to be revised and will become available as soon as possible.)

3.9. Base period

Not applicable for pesticide use statistics, because it is not based on an index number of time series.


4. Unit of measure Top

Active substances in kilograms (kg). Values reported in other units such as colony-forming unit (CFU) are excluded from this data set (for more information see 3.1 - Data description). The values are rounded to the nearest kg. A '0' flagged with 'n' for not significant therefore means that the value is <0.5 kg.

Area treated in hectares (ha). Values on the area treated are only indicated if it can be guaranteed that several treatments on the same physical area are reported separately, so that double counting is avoided (for more information see 3.1 - Data description).


5. Reference Period Top

The period of each data collection covers five years, starting from the first five-year period 2010-2014. The countries are obliged to collect data at least for one reference year (maximum 12 months) out of five years and cover all plant protection treatments associated with the crop. The reference period shall be reported as the year in which the harvest began. As a result, the frequency and selection of year(s) differ among the countries. For example, some countries collect data only in one year of the five-year period, others each year or every second or third year. Some collect even different crops in different years (e.g. apples in 2011 and potatoes in 2014). The annex 'Data availability - overview' at the end of this report provides an overview about the selected reference years of each country.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Annex II of the Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 contains a legal obligation for Member States to collect statistics on the agricultural use of pesticides. The list of active substances of Annex III in this regulation was amended by Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/269 of 16 February 2017.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable because data sharing is not envisaged for pesticide use data.


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Article 3.4 of Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council stipulates that 'for reasons of confidentiality, the Commission (Eurostat) shall aggregate the data before publication in accordance with the chemical classes or categories of products indicated in Annex III, taking due account of the protection of confidential data at the level of individual Member State. The confidential data shall be used by national authorities and by the Commission (Eurostat) exclusively for statistical purposes, in accordance with Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No 223/2009' .

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Eurostat cannot disclose data on individual active substances. In addition, the aggregated data cannot always be disseminated if there is a direct or indirect (secondary confidentiality) risk of statistical units being identified. Confidential data is flagged 'c' in Eurostat's dissemination database (Eurobase). In some cases, countries considered the whole national data set to be confidential. This applies to Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Spain and Croatia for the first reference period (2010-2014). Several countries agreed however afterwards in the context of the research paper (see also 10.5. - Dissemination format - other) to publish at least values for selected crops on major group level.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Data were published for the first time in 2020 for the five-year period 2010-2014. In the future, data will be published after each data collection has finished, after processing and validation by Eurostat. Target date is end of March of the year t+2. For example, 2019 is the last year of the reference period 2015-2019. In the following year, 2020, data are sent from the Member States to Eurostat, so that the dissemination can take place in 2021.

8.2. Release calendar access

No release calendar exists.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice, Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

Data are disseminated simultaneously to all interested parties through Eurostat's database under the data set name aei_pestuse.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Every five years in the year t+2. 

't' is defined as the last year of the five-year period. For example, 2019 is the last year of the five-year period 2015-2019. In the following year, 2020, data are sent from the Member States to Eurostat, so that the dissemination can take place in 2021.


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases are published on Eurostat's official webpage.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

No publications available.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Statistics on aggregation levels of pesticides (major groups, categories of products and chemical classes) are disseminated in Eurostat's database 'Eurobase' under the data set name aei_pestuse.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

No micro-data is disseminated.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

A research paper (accessible here) was published once on 08/04/2019 about the 'Statistics on agricultural use of pesticides in the European Union'. The purpose of the paper was to provide some insights in the data collected and to present a selection of results on the pesticide level of major groups after the experiences of the first data collection 2010-2014.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The methodology of each country is described in the national quality reports attached to this page (see upper right corner).

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council stipulates that 'for the purpose of this Regulation, the quality criteria as laid down in Article 12 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 shall apply. Member States shall provide the Commission (Eurostat) with reports on the quality of the data transmitted as referred to in Annex II. The Commission (Eurostat) shall assess the quality of data transmitted' (Article 4 (1)(2)). 

Reports on the quality of the data (called national quality reports) exist for each country and are attached to this quality report (see upper right corner).


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Exchange of view

In the scope of the 'Working Group on Agro-environmental statistics', countries are informed about the requirements for the next data collection (like the file transmission format, the format of the data, etc.) and get the opportunity to express their opinions via an exchange of view and thus to improve the data collection.

Guidance

Eurostat undertakes several steps in order to ensure guidance for the countries to prepare and transmit the data in a correct way:

  • provision of guidelines for data transmission with detailed technical instructions;
  • provision of guidelines for quality report (metadata) with detailed technical and content-related instructions;
  • webinar held about quality report to enable countries to fill in their metadata.

Validation of data file

The prime responsibility for ensuring the data completeness and accuracy rests with the National Statistical Authorities. Countries have the possibility to validate their data file in the single entry point 'EDAMIS' before they send it to Eurostat to check if the format is correct. In addition, when they transmit the file to Eurostat, an automatic validation tool 'Struval' is integrated in EDAMIS to check several parameters about the format of the data file (for more information see 18.4 - Data validation). If the system finds errors during the validation step, the file is sent back to countries for revision. After the file passed through, it is validated also manually.

Validation of quality report

The prime responsibility for ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the quality report rests with the National Statistical Institutes. The validation of the national quality reports by Eurostat takes place manually. If items are not answered satisfactory or even wrong, countries are asked to revise and resend the quality report.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council stipulates that 'for the purpose of this Regulation, the quality criteria as laid down in Article 12 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 shall apply. Member States shall provide the Commission (Eurostat) with reports on the quality of the data transmitted as referred to in Annex II. The Commission (Eurostat) shall assess the quality of data transmitted' (Article 4 (1)(2)). 

Quality assessment of quality report (metadata)

The quality report of the first data collection (2010-2014) was not yet developed in a detailed way by Eurostat. A lot of sub-items could not be filled by the countries due to technical issues, and guidance about the meaning of metadata concepts were missing. This led to a very inconsistent completion of the national quality reports. For the second data collection (2015-2019), the quality report is developed by Eurostat in a much more deteiled way with good guidelines to guarantee a consistent and complete picture of the national metadata.

Quality assessment of data

The data collection is facing the following methodological constraints:

  • Conversion of colony-forming unit (CFU) or other units used to express micro-organisms: 

Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 requires to report active substances in kilograms. As some biological fungicides and insecticides occur in various forms and concentrations, countries faced the difficulty to convert other measuring units, for example colony-forming units (CFU), into kilograms. Eurostat allowed some countries to report micro-biological substances as CFU during the first data collection. It is complex to calculate quantities of micro-organisms in kilograms and not methodologically reasonable since micro-organisms are not equivalent to chemical substances. Therefore, Eurostat decided not to disseminate micro-biological substances so far. DG Health and Food Safety and Eurostat currently undertake research together with the help of Member States to provide methodological support and to find a common approach in converting micro-biological substances into kilograms. First results can be found here.

  • Double counting of area treated:

In the data collection, each active substance should be reported with the corresponding hectares treated. From this information, it is not possible to know if the hectares reported for each crop are the same physical area, or different fields (for more information see research paper about 'Statistics on agricultural use of pesticides in the European Union' from 2019). Therefore, the area treated for the first five-year period (2010-2014) is not taken into account as double counting could not be avoided (with the exception of Cyprus, see 3.1). For the second five-year period, the area treated will be published only for those countries who can ensure that multiple treatments could be identified and reported separately. 

  • Selection of crops: 

As already described under 3.1 - Data description, countries are free to choose representative crops out of a list of about 200 crops. This led to a large variety of crops reported that were partly used by only one country. This hampers an EU-wide comparability. Recently, Eurostat made efforts towards a harmonisation of the crops selected in collaboration with the Member States. In order to improve the coherence and possibilities for an EU-wide statistical comparability, Eurostat proposed a reduced list of mandatory crops to collect on a voluntary basis starting from the next reference period (2020-2024). The proposed list covers different crops of the categories cereals, industrial crops, root crops, permanent crops and vegetables which were identified to be representative for their category and widely grown in Member States. Additionally, Member States are still free to report other crops of national importance.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Users are regularly requesting statistics on pesticide use. Eurostat disseminates the data set of the first data collection, despite the methodological constraints which lead to the exclusion of the area treated, of micro-biologicals and to a data set with many null values and low comparability.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Not available.

12.3. Completeness

Not applicable because there is no target on the number of data in this data collection. Member States are asked to collect data on representative crops without stipulating the number of crops.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The degree of accuracy is expected to be good. The following items 13.2 - Sampling error and 13.3 - Non-sampling error provide a short summary of considerations of countries about errors and how to overcome them. Detailed information can be found in the attached national quality reports (see upper right corner).

13.2. Sampling error

Countries who used sample surveys, extrapolated the results to the population of farms. Therefore, an under- or overestimation of used doses or pesticides cannot be ruled out. To reduce the sampling error, it is important to have representative strata with high sample sizes. Some countries however reported that the sample sizes of some strata are underrepresented, e.g. regarding certain type of farms or crops, or rarely used active substances. This is a factor lowering the accuracy. An improvement in accuracy could only be achieved by an increase in sample size for the respective strata, which would be associated with higher costs and burdens for the countries.

13.3. Non-sampling error

To list up some aspects mentioned by the countries:

Coverage error:

  • some fields of application are not covered (e.g. seed treatment is excluded in some countries);
  • some crop categories are underrepresented;
  • some classes of substances are not covered;
  • some countries considered only farms with a certain size bigger than a certain number of hectares;
  • termination of agricultural activity during or after active survey period (sample removed and sometimes replaced through other samples of the same strata);
  • as some countries rely on the farms of the agricultural subsidy database, farms that do not take part in these programmes under the IACS are not covered;
  • some countries excluded organic farms (although pesticides can also be used on organic farms).

Measurement error

  • error in farmers' records (e.g. high rates of application, non-approved product usage);
  • misunderstanding of questionnaire or during the interview;
  • Countries conducted different plausibility checks/logic checks to overcome measurement errors like check of usage rate against the maximum allowed rate. Generally, the respondent was contacted again to clarify deviations.

Non-response error

  • Respondents sometimes refused to take part in the survey, were not reachable or could not be found; solved by sending reminders, choosing other samples of the same strata instead or by imputation based on other data sources.
  • Some countries stated that non-response is not applicable due to the voluntary character of the survey.

Processing error

  • Documentation errors like handwriting of farmers not readable, or incomplete or incorrect forms with e.g. wrong pesticide codes, crop codes or units; plausibility checks/validation processes to discover and correct it.

Model-assumption error

  • A few countries assumed that no pesticides are used on organic farms and therefore excluded organic farms in their survey. In fact, a limited number of pesticides can be used on organic farms.


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Countries are free to choose a reference period of 12 months during the five-year reporting period. The deadline for transmission of data is 12 months after the end of the five-year period. Therefore, if countries report on a reference period early in the five-year period, the final dissemination of the data by Eurostat can be up to 6 years after the reference period. 

14.2. Punctuality

Most countries are able to meet the transmission deadlines (31 December of the year t+1 for transmission of the data and the national quality reports).


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The data are collected and published on country level (NUTS 0). A comparability of regions within countries is therefore not possible.

The comparability between countries is theoretically very good due to the same harmonised classifications used for pesticides and crops. In practice however, countries choose very different crops out of the list of about 200 crop codes as they were asked by the Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 to select representative crops for their country. This resulted e.g. in 174 crop codes used in total during the first data collection, of which about one third of the crop codes were chosen by only one country. If a crop is chosen only by one or very few countries, there is no comparability possible of course for this specific crop. Considering the transregional differences in Europe regarding climate, soil, agricultural traditions and practices, etc., it becomes clear that the cultivated crops cannot be the same for all European countries. Nevertheless, Eurostat tried to tackle the problem of low EU-wide comparability and proposed a reduced list of mandatory crops to collect on a voluntary basis starting from the next reference period (2020-2024) (for more information see 3.1 - Data description).

15.2. Comparability - over time

Comparability over time is not ensured due to the fact that the data collection covers a reference period of five years and countries are free to choose the year of data collection. 

According to the Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009, countries are obliged to collect data at least for one reference year (maximum 12 months) out of five years and cover all plant protection treatments associated with the crop. As a result, the frequency and selection of year(s) differ among the countries. For example, some countries collect data only in one year of the five-year period, others each year or every second or third year. Some collect even different crops in different years (e.g. apples in 2011 and potatoes in 2014).

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Some countries compared pesticide use data with pesticide sales data. The figures are not expected to match, because pesticides are also used in other sectors (like for private use, forestry or for public green spaces) which are not covered in the agricultural use of pesticides. In addition, pesticide sales data reflect the sales of products which might not be used in the same year, whereas pesticide use data refer only to the actual use of pesticides in a year in a country. Pesticide use data can also arise from stocks of previous years and are therefore not covered in the pesticide sales data of the same year.

15.4. Coherence - internal

All countries used the same harmonised classifications of pesticides and crops. This ensures theoretically a good internal coherence of the data. However, the countries did not report on the same crops which lowers the coherence as well as the comparability (for more information see 15.1 - Comparability - geographical).

Except of the common classification of pesticides and crops, countries are free to choose the way of data collection, even estimations are allowed. Some use administrative data, others a sample survey or a census. The different approach of data collection is generally a factor which can lower internal coherence of the data between countries. To list up some examples:

  • In some countries seed treatment is included, in others excluded.
  • The sample size and the method of extrapolation varies. Some countries even stated that different crop categories are underrepresented in their survey which can lower the accuracy of the final result.


16. Cost and Burden Top

Generally, the effort for some countries to collect pesticide use data is very high, other countries report that additional cost and burdens are very low, or that the collection of pesticide use data is even integrated in existing (obligatory) national data collections. Costs arise on the one hand for respondents (farmers) who have to spend time to collect the data, on the other hand for administrative authorities or similar institutions who are responsible for the compilation, preparation and transmission of the data to Eurostat. In some countries the respondents get a refunding for their efforts.

Specific information can be found in the attached national quality reports (see upper right corner).


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Countries have to transmit only finalised data to Eurostat. There are no planned revisions as such. Nevertheless, if data are revised by the country, it has to send them via the single entry point to Eurostat.

17.2. Data revision - practice

If data from 2010 onwards are revised, data are checked with the validation rules and disseminated on Eurobase.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The source data varies depending on the country. Most countries used sample surveys and extrapolated the results to the population of farms. Often the samples were stratified according to farm size, geographical location, crop type and coverage etc., and the main methods used were interviews with questionnaires or collection of farmers' records. Some countries used census or administrative data (sometimes in combination with sample surveys). Specific information can be found in the attached national quality reports (see upper right corner).

 

Short overview per country (protocol order):

BE: Sample survey;

BG: Sample survey (face-to-face interviews with paper questionnaires), extrapolation by expert estimate;

CZ: Combination of administrative data and sample survey (postal or email survey);

DK: Census (all farmers need to record and report all spraying data);

DE: Sample survey (farmers' records of pesticide use data of sample farms collected);

EE: Census for holdings >500 ha, sample survey for holdings <500 ha;

IE: Sample survey (face-to-face interviews), census for mushrooms;

EL: Administrative data (based on pesticide sales);

ES: Metadata only available in Spanish, therefore not analysed; new metadata in English to follow in 2021;

FR: Sample survey (telephone interviews);

HR: Administrative data (Estimations based on a research study on the use of pesticides);

IT: Sample survey (telephone interviews);

CY: Census and sample surveys;

LV: Sample survey (face-to-face interviews);

LT: Census for agricultural enterprises (digital questionnaires), sample survey on private farms (face-to-face interviews);

LU: Administrative data combined with sample survey: Accountancy data of sample farms among the bookkeeping farms were used;

HU: Census for agricultural enterprises and sample survey on private farms;

MT: Sample survey (questionnaires);

NL: Sample survey (questionnaires);

AT: Sample survey (farmers' records of pesticide use data of sample farms collected), administrative data/census for seed treatment;

PL: Sample survey (questionnaires);

PT: Sample survey (face-to-face interviews and paper questionnaires);

RO: Sample survey (face-to-face interviews and questionnaires);

SI: Administrative data (collection of sample farms; questionnaires);

SK: Administrative data;

FI: Sample survey (web questionnaires and telephone interviews);

SE: Sample survey (interviews);

UK: Sample survey (farmers' records of pesticide use data of sample farms were collected via face-to-face interviews, telephone calls, email responses or postal replies).

NO: Sample survey (questionnaires);

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Eurostat collects data from the countries every five years.

Nationally, the frequency of data collection can differ. Countries are obliged to collect data at least for one reference year (maximum 12 months) out of five years, but some of them collect data more often or collect even different crops in different years. However, the data transmission to Eurostat, no matter if the data cover 1 or more years, takes place every five years.

18.3. Data collection

Countries shall transmit the statistical results including confidential data to Eurostat via a single entry point (called EDAMIS), as required by the implementing Commission Regulation (EU) No 408/2011 (Article 1). The format of the data file was SDMX-ML for the first collection period 2010-2014 and CSV for the second collection period.

The data collection varies according to countries. Specific information can be found in the attached national quality reports (see upper right corner).

18.4. Data validation

Validation of data file

Countries have the possibility to validate their data file in the single entry point 'EDAMIS' before they send it to Eurostat to check if the format is correct. In addition, when they transmit the file to Eurostat, the automatic validation tool 'Struval' is integrated in EDAMIS to check several parameters about the format of the data file like:

  • the completeness and correctness of the heading and cells,
  • the correct use of allowed codes (crops, pesticides, flags, etc.),
  • the correct use of thousand and decimal separator for the observation values, etc.

Additionally, Eurostat checks automatically with a database software (MDT) whether the aggregates of pesticides (major groups, categories of products and chemical classes) were computed correctly.

If the system finds errors during the validation step, the file is sent back to countries for revision. After the file passed through, it is validated also manually.

Validation of quality report

The validation of the national quality reports by Eurostat takes place only manually with the help of a 'quality report analyser' tool developed in Excel. If items are not answered satisfactory or even wrong, countries are asked to revise and resend the quality report.

Validation methods used by countries

As countries used very different methods of data collection, the validation methods vary widely according to countries. Specific information can be found in the attached national quality reports (see upper right corner) (not yet available, will be added during the first half of 2021).

18.5. Data compilation

Data compilation by Eurostat

For dissemination purpose, micro-biological substances are excluded from fungicides and insecticides from the original data sent by countries. The computation is as follows:

F (Fungicides and bactericides) - F06 (Fungicides of micro-biological or botanical origin),

I (Insecticides and acaricides) - I05 (Insecticides of micro-biological or botanical origin).

For more information about the reason of excluding micro-biological substances see '11.2. - Quality management - assessment'.

Data compilation by countries

Data are aggregated by the countries according to the categories specified in Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009.

Specific information on other data compilation procedures can be found in the attached national quality reports (see upper right corner).

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable because the data collection is not based on time series.


19. Comment Top

The metadata will be updated in the first quarter of 2021 as soon as the new metadata files of the countries are received and validated. Currently, the most recent quality report from countries are about five years old. At that time, the metadata report was technically not yet as developed as it is now; not all items could be filled in. As a result, some information in this European metadata report of Eurostat is also missing or insufficient.

Eurostat decided for a publication of this data set due to the growing demand to make pesticide use data publicly available even though the data set contains weaknesses listed hereafter:

  • a lot of null values due to the huge amount of possible combinations of pesticides, crops and years, of which the latter two are free to choose;
  • no proper and common solution found for the conversion of micro-biological substances into kilograms;
  • the area treated is not meaningful to show since double counting could not be excluded, but at the same time it would be very important to show the quantity of pesticides used in relation to the area on which it is used;
  • data on the level of active substances of pesticides have to be treated as confidential.

Eurostat aims at a more harmonised way of data collection for the coming years. Notable improvements in this case are as follows:

  • Eurostat proposed a reduced list of mandatory crops to collect on a voluntary basis starting from the next reference period (2020-2024) (for more information see 3.1 - Data description). Countries agreed on the proposal.
  • Eurostat proposed to use common reference periods which turned out to be not feasible. Some countries survey different types of crops each year and are not ready to survey all crops in the same year. Other countries have to plan their reference years so that different data collections do not overlap.
  • Ongoing work regarding a common methodological way to convert the measure unit CFU into kg.


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top
List of pesticides
Data availability overview