Evolution in agrochemical use on tobacco over the last 30 years to reduce leaf residues and environmental impact
This presentation describes the evolution in active ingredients (a.i.), and their use on the tobacco crop, since the beginning of 1980s. Progress in reducing application rates has been achieved not only by the use of more efficient and target-oriented a.i.s and their formulations, but also by the introduction of improved spraying equipment, and switching, e.g. in the case of herbicides, to band instead of broadcast, applications. Since 2010 most of the tobacco crop in Central Italy has been treated according to the Agro-Environmental Measures of Regione Umbria, which have posed even stricter limits to the use of some agrochemicals belonging to the higher hazard risk classes, and in general to agrochemical rates. Scouting and treating when risk thresholds are exceeded, and attention to maintain the correct interval before harvest, have been improved with time. With reference to the previous technical improvements, leaf residues have been reduced accordingly, and this has improved the quality of the product, reduced the risks for growers, and lessened the environmental impact of the tobacco crop. Data on past and present residues in the leaf are presented to exemplify the results achieved in monitoring crop quality.