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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

The economics of fungicide use in winter wheat in southern Sweden

Wiik, Lars; Rosenqvist, Håkan


In southern Sweden, fungicide treatment of winter wheat is prevalent and recommended almost routinely against leaf blotch diseases. However, yield increases and hence the resulting net returns from fungicide use are highly variable within and between years. These variations raise questions about whether, when and how fungicides should be used. To help answer these questions, a thorough economic evaluation of fungicide use was carried out, based on results from untreated plots and fungicide-treated plots in trials in farmers' fields, 1983-2007. Scenarios with varying grain prices and costs of fungicide treatment were evaluated and examined. Doubling and tripling the grain price led to the largest impact on the net return from fungicide treatment, followed by increasing cost of the fungicide. Other costs were of minor importance. The mean net return from fungicide use was no more than 12 (sic) ha(-1) over the 25 years (2008 grain prices and costs used in calculations). Furthermore, the mean net return was negative in 10 years and less than 50% of the entries were profitable to treat in 11 years. Changes over time and changes in controllable factors (e.g. fungicide and cultivar choice, crop rotation, techniques) and uncontrollable factors (e.g. emerging and new diseases. price relations) influenced the profitability of fungicide use. Fungicide use was in fact more profitable (mean net return 21 compared with 3 (sic) ha(-1)) during the latter part of the period (1995-2007) than in the earlier part (1983-1994). Improved decision support systems in a holistic framework based on sound economics are urgently needed. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Integrated pest management; Net return; Plant disease; Profitability; Septoria tritici

Published in

Crop Protection
2010, volume: 29, number: 1, pages: 11-19

Authors' information

Wiik, Lars
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Rosenqvist, Håkan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Agrosystem

UKÄ Subject classification

Food Science
Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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