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Comparative analysis of pesticide use across California crops

Cite this dataset

Rosenheim, Jay; Cass, Bodil; Kahl, Hanna; Steinmann, Kimberly (2021). Comparative analysis of pesticide use across California crops [Dataset]. Dryad.


Pesticide use is a key component of efficient crop production, but is associated with a suite of costs. Understanding the main drivers of pesticide use will help us target research to develop effective alternatives. Although economic models predict, and empirical tests confirm, that the value of the crop being protected is an important determinant of between crop variation in pesticide use, previous tests of this prediction have examined only modest numbers of crops and have not assessed the relative importance of crop value versus ecological determinants of pesticide use. Here we analyze variation in pesticide use across 93 crops grown in California, USA.We examine the joint roles of crop value and ecological determinants of pesticide use, including (i) the number of pest species associated with each crop; (ii) the distinction between annual vs. perennial crops; and (iii) the distinction between unprocessed vs. processed crops. We conclude that both economic and ecological drivers influence the magnitude of potential crop losses, thereby shaping farmer pest control practices.


Data were gathered from public sources, including the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's Pesticide Use Reporting tool. Other data on crop value and acreage were collected from California Department of Food and Agriculture (

Usage notes

This dataset summarizes mean annual pesticide use in California, 2011-2015, across 93 crops. Please see the full publication (Rosenheim et al.) in Science of the Total Environment for details.


United States Department of Agriculture, Award: 2015-70006-24164

National Science Foundation, Award: Graduate Research Fellowship to Hanna Kahl