Development of an on-farm risk assessment system for pesticide use

A hazard based approach was originally taken to the assessment of pesticide use in the EMA software. However, it was recognised that although correct information was being given to the farmer, a risk based approach would be beneficial and more site specific. The new module directly replaced the old one; but in addition, a new package (p-EMA) was developed, isolating the extensive pesticide information within EMA to produce a stand-alone system specifically for agricultural pesticide use.

The key elements of the project being:

  • That the system needed to consider comparability with best practice, regulatory compliance and an eco-toxicology risk assessment for a range of organisms. These included honeybees, earthworms, birds, mammals, and aquatic organisms. An indicator for leachability was also identified for use. For this particular project, operator exposure risk was omitted, and as a result assessing the risk of pesticide residue levels was also be omitted.
  • The methodology developed was based on regulatory risk assessment methods and these were adapted to make them responsive to the local site and farming practices as far as current scientific understanding allows.
  • The previous format, style and user-friendliness of the EMA software was retained.
  • The approach embraced the philosophy of Integrated Pest Management.
  • The system was based on only easily available farm data - any other data can be accessed from a database provided with EMA.

This project was carried out in collaboration with SSLRC and the Central Science Laboratory, and supported by Defra.


Prof. Kathy Lewis





University of Hertfordshire
University of Hertfordshire, 2017.