ReductionPSM: Current importance and possibilities for reducing the use of higher-risk plant protection products in agriculture


The ReduktionPSM project analysed the current significance of plant protection products with a higher risk (= substitution candidates) and assessed their substitutability in agriculture in Austria. Concrete recommendations for dealing with substitution candidates in agriculture were developed. The focus here is on raising awareness. Reducing the use of candidate substitutes also contributes to achieving the plant protection goals formulated in the European Union's Farm to Fork Strategy.

Project description

The European Union's Farm to Fork Strategy defines targets for plant protection, namely the reduction of the use and risk of chemical plant protection products (F2F target 1) and the reduction of the use of more hazardous plant protection products (F2F target 2) by 50% by 2030. More hazardous plant protection products are those that contain a candidate for substitution. These are active substances that are authorised under EU Regulation No. 1107/2009 due to their properties, but have been classified as active substances to be substituted. The objectives of this project were to analyse the current importance of the substitution candidates and to assess their substitutability in agriculture in order to contribute to the achievement of F2F targets 1 and 2.

In the EU, 51 active substances are currently classified as candidates for substitution. In Austria, 37 of these are contained in plant protection products (as of April 2023). These are 16 fungicides, 8 insecticides, 13 herbicides and 2 other types of active substances. This corresponds to 11% of the active substances currently available in Austria (n = 335). There are currently 242 plant protection products authorised that contain a candidate for substitution (24% of all authorised plant protection products). The quantity of active substances classified as substitution candidates placed on the market in 2021 was 536 tonnes (9% of the total quantity). The assessment of substitutability was carried out for selected crops and for each indication (combination of pest and crop) on the basis of various criteria. Each indication was then assigned to one of four categories. Category 1 comprises indications in which the respective substitution candidate is replaceable. A total of 707 indications were evaluated. The greatest potential for the substitutability of substitution candidates exists for fungicides, followed by herbicides, and the least for insecticides and other types of action. The achievement of the F2F targets is measured using two indicators: F2F indicator 1 "use and risk" and F2F indicator 2 "more hazardous plant protection products". If the indications classified as category 1 are replaced, the total quantity of candidate substitutes placed on the market will fall by 164 tonnes (30.5%). The F2F indicator 1 would fall by 5 index points (from 114 for 2021) and the F2F indicator 2 by 28 index points (from 98 for 2021). When implementing the results of this study, the focus is on raising awareness and includes the communication of general information and specific recommendations for dealing with substitution candidates in agriculture.

Project details

Project acronym: ReductionPSM

Project management AGES: DI Gottfried Besenhofer, Institute for Plant Protection Products

Funding: Cooperation between federal government and federal states

Project duration: 21.06.2021 - 30.04.2023

Further information

Last updated: 29.11.2023

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