• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Summary
 Introduction
 Part I: Aerial operators
 Part II: Farmers (central and west...
 Part III: Energy use in aerial...
 Part IV: Summary and concluing...
 Appendix I
 Reference
 Back Cover






Title: Economic and environmental aspects of aerial and ground applications of pesticides in Florida agriculture
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026817/00001
 Material Information
Title: Economic and environmental aspects of aerial and ground applications of pesticides in Florida agriculture
Series Title: Bulletin Agricultural Experiment Stations, University of Florida, 0096-607X
Physical Description: 111 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Langham, Max R
McGrail, Linda
Publisher: Food and Resource Economics Dept., Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville <Fla>
Publication Date: 1986
 Subjects
Subject: Pesticides -- Economic aspects -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Pesticides -- Environmental aspects -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Pesticides -- Application -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 111.
Statement of Responsibility: Max R. Langham and Linda McGrail.
General Note: "January 1987" - Cover.
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026817
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000902598
oclc - 15678788
notis - AEL1487

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Acknowledgement
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    List of Tables
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    List of Figures
        Page viii
        Page ix
    Summary
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Objectives and data used
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
        Brief history of aerial application of pesticides in Florida agriculture
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
    Part I: Aerial operators
        Page 11
        Industry equipment
            Page 12
            Aircraft
                Page 12
            Support equipment
                Page 12
                Page 13
                Page 14
                Page 15
                Page 16
            Mixing systems
                Page 17
        Aerial operations
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Airspeed
                Page 21
                Page 22
                Page 23
            Wind speed
                Page 24
                Page 25
                Page 26
            Flaggers
                Page 27
        Cost Analysis
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Costs conditioned on level of operations
                Page 29
                Page 30
                Page 31
                Page 32
                Page 33
                Page 34
                Page 35
            Costs and returns by major crops
                Page 36
                Page 37
                Page 38
        Ground personnel
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
        Industry capacity
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
        Aircraft accidents
            Page 45
            Page 46
        Adverse effects on human healkth and the environment
            Page 45
            Humans
                Page 45
                Page 46
            Animals
                Page 47
            Crops
                Page 48
            Waste disposal
                Page 49
                Page 50
            Buffer zones
                Page 51
        Problems facing the industry
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
    Part II: Farmers (central and west Florida)
        Page 59
        Use of aerial services by sample farmers
            Page 59
            Advantages and disadvantages
                Page 60
                Page 61
                Page 62
                Page 63
                Page 64
            Costs conditioned on level of operations
                Page 68
                Page 69
                Page 70
                Page 71
                Page 72
                Page 73
                Page 74
                Page 75
                Page 76
        Farmers' costs for using ground equipment for pest control
            Page 65
            Costs by crop treated
                Page 65
                Page 66
                Page 67
        Farmers' opinions on risks of aerial vs. ground methods
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
        Personnel handling pesticides
            Page 80
        The environment
            Page 80
            Human health
                Page 80
                Page 81
            Mixing systems
                Page 82
                Page 83
            Waste disposal
                Page 82
        Non-crop uses of pesticides on sample farms
            Page 84
        Sources of pest control information
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Guidelines for control programs
                Page 86
                Page 87
                Page 88
                Page 89
                Page 90
    Part III: Energy use in aerial and ground methods
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    Part IV: Summary and concluing observations
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Limitations of study
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
    Appendix I
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Reference
        Page 111
        Reference 2
        Reference 3
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE



The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida





(j V

January 1987 Bulletin 868






Economic and Environmental
Aspects of Aerial
and Ground Applications
of Pesticides
in Florida Agriculture

Max R. Langham and Linda McGrail








1 ..





Agricultural Experiment Stations
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
J. M. Davidson, Dean of Research























ECONOMIC AND ENVIRO4WINTAL ASPECTS OF
AERIAL AND GROUND APPLICATIONS OF PESTICIDES
IN FLORIDA AGRICULTURE





Max R. Langham and Linda McGrail














June, 1986
Food and Resource Economics Department
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida












ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



This study was financed from funds from three sources, the Flor-

ida Agricultural Aviation Association (FAAA), the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency, and the Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations.

The study was initially encouraged by Harold F. Brown while serving as

president of FAAA and as chairman of its Government Affairs Committee.

The officers of FAAA were concerned about the image of their industry

and the lack of definitive information about its contributions to

agricultural production. Funds to conduct the surveys to collect data

were provided by FAAA. Federal funds from the Environmental Protec-

tion Agency under grant number CR-808527-02-4 were used to compile and

analyze the data and prepare this report. The contents of this report

do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Florida Agri-

cultural Aviation Association or the Environmental Protection Agency,

nor does the mention of any trade names or commercial products consti-

tute endorsement or recommendation for use.

In addition to the funding organizations the authors express

appreciation to the following individuals for their encouragement--to

Harold F. Brown, Charles "Chuck" Stone, and Lee Turnquist, members of

FAAA; and to Robert Esworthy, Arnold L. Aspelin, and Mark A. Luttner

of the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Richard L. Lipsey, for-

merly Pesticide Coordinator for the Institute of Food and Agricultural

Sciences, provided early leadership and encouragement. Dr. V.G. Perry

and Leo Polopolus, Assistant Dean of Florida Agricultural Experiment

Stations and Chairman of the Food and Resource Economics Department,



i












respectively, at the time of the study provided administrative support

and encouragement.

Mr. Charles Carroll, Area Supervisor, and Mr. John Hart, National

Coordinator, both with the Senior Community Service Employment Pro-

gram, National Retired Teachers Association and American Association

of Retired Person, provided valuable support in recruiting field staff

and in providing administrative support to the field staff during the

data collection phase. For these valuable services we are grateful.

Special thanks are extended to the aerial operators and farmers

who cooperated in providing data. Mr. Carroll Potter shared his post-

World War II experiences as an aerial operator in Florida with us and

enriched our background on aerial operations.

Finally, we wish to thank Kathryn Ting for drafting a brief his-

tory of aerial operations in Florida and Patricia Smart, Bobbie Hart,

and Toni Glover for typing this report.

The authors accept sole responsibility for any errors in the

report.























ii












TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................


LIST OF TABLES.................................. ..... ............ v


LIST OF FIGURES............................................... viii


SUMMARY .................. .................................... x


INTRODUCTION .................................................. 1

Objectives.............................................. 3
Data Used............................................... 3
Brief History of Aerial Application of
Pesticides in Florida Agriculture...................... 7


PART I. AERIAL OPERATORS..................................... 11

Industry Equipment....................................... 12
Aircraft............................................ 12
Support Equipment.................................... 12
Mixing Systems...................................... 17

Aerial Operations....................................... 17
Airspeed............................................ 21
Wind Speed.......................................... 24
Flaggers............................................ 27

Cost Analysis........................................... 27
Costs Conditioned on Level of Operations............. 29
Costs and Returns by Major Crops.................... 36

Ground Personnel........................................ 39

Industry Capacity....................................... 42

Aircraft Accidents...................................... 45









iii












Page

Adverse Effects on Human Health and the Environment....... 45
Humans................................................ 45
Animals............................................. 47
Crops............................................... 48
Waste Disposal...................................... 49
Buffer Zones........................................ 51

Problems Facing the Industry............................. 52


PART II. FARMERS (CENTRAL AND WEST FLORIDA) .................. 59

Use of Aerial Services by Sample Farmers.................. 59
Advantages and Disadvantages......................... 60

Farmers' Costs for Using Ground Equipment
for Pest Control...................................... 65
Costs by Crop Treated................................ 65
Costs Conditioned on Level of Operations............. 68

Farmers' Opinions on Risks of Aerial vs.
Ground Methods...................................... ...... 77

Personnel Handling Pesticides ......................... 80

The Environment......................................... 80
Human Health ......................................... 80
Mixing Systems...................................... 82
Waste Disposal...................................... 82

Non-Crop Uses of Pesticides on Sample Farms............... 84

Sources of Pest Control Information...................... 84
Guidelines for Control Programs...................... 86


PART III. ENERGY USE IN AERIAL AND GROUND METHODS............ 91


PART IV. SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS................. 94

Limitations of Study ................................. 103


APPENDIX 1..................................................... 106


REFERENCES ................................................... 111




iv












LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1 Makes of aircraft, number in use, prices paid,
and years in use....................................... 13

2 Range of hopper capacities and fuel use
reported by aerial operators........................... 14

3 Types of support vehicles, number in use by
respondents, prices paid, and years in use............. 15

4 Spray nozzles and tips used by aerial operators......... 16

5 Acreages treated by aerial operators, percent
treated by fixed wing equipment, and average
charges per acre for helicopter and fixed
winged services....................................... 18-19

6 Airspeeds flown while dispersing chemicals
by airplane........................................... 22

7 Airspeeds flown while dispersing chemicals
by helicopter......................................... 23

8 Wind speeds compatible with spraying by airplane....... 25

9 Wind speeds compatible with spraying by helicopter..... 26

10 Protective gear and marking devices used by flaggers... 28

11 Components of average cost per hour for treatment
by airplane weighted by number of acres treated
by each firm.......................................... 30

12 Components of average cost per hour for treatment
by helicopter weighted by number of acres treated
by each firm ........................................... 31

13 Costs and returns per acre for treatment of
selected crops by airplane............................. 40

14 Pesticide loaders in aerial operations................. 41

15 One way frequency distributions for years of
education and years of experience of persons
loading pesticides for aerial operations............... 43





V











Table Page

16 Weighted average percentage by which acres
sprayed by airplane and helicopters could be
increased, by month.................................... 44

17 Constraints on ability to expand aerial service
to meet increased demand.............................. 46

18 Aircraft accidents reported by aerial operators........ 46

19 Facilities for handling rinse water and frequency
of use by aerial operators............................. 50

20 Methods for disposing of waste containers and
frequency of use by aerial operators................... 50

21 Buffer zone distances between aerial operations
and specified sites which would result in 0, 10,
and 20 percent loss of business....................... 52

22 Major industry problems reported by aerial operators... 54

23 Farm use of aerial services............................ 61

24 Reasons reported by farmers for not using
aerial services in 1979................................ 61

25 Advantages of aerial application reported by farmers... 62

26 Disadvantages of aerial application reported
by farmers............................................ 63

27 Components of weighted average cost per acre
for ground treatment.................................. 66

28 Average fixed and variable costs per acre in
treating selected crops with ground equipment........... 67

29 Farmers' opinions on the comparative risks of
pesticide exposure from aerial and ground
spraying for applicating personnel...................... 78

30 Farmers' opinions on the comparative risks of
pesticide exposure from aerial and ground
spraying for people other than applicators
in the vicinity of the treatment....................... 79

31 One way frequency distributions for years
of education and years of experience of
farmers and farm workers handling pesticides........... 81



vi











Table Page

32 Methods of disposing of containers as reported
by farmers ........................................ 83

33 Methods of disposing of waste water from
cleaning equipment as reported by farmers.............. 83

34 Types of livestock treated and major pests
on sample farms....................................... 85

35 Farmers' sources of pest control information........... 85

36 Farmers' sources of guidance for timing
of pest control....................................... 87

37 Farmers' source of guidance for amount of
pesticide to use....................................... 89

38 Farmers' sources of guidance for choosing pesticides... 90

39 Estimated BTU's of energy required to treat
selected crops by ground and aerial methods............ 93

































vii












LIST OF FIGURES


Figure Page

1 Locational distribution of aerial operators,
number of operators, and number of respondents
by area, 1979......................................... 5

2 Locations of the farming regions surveyed,
number of farmers, and number of respondents
by county and by region, 1979.......................... 6

3 Plot of average total cost per hour for
treatment by airplanes on hours flown and
a graph of Equation 3 through the data................. 34

4 Plot of average total cost per acre treated
by airplanes on acres treated and a graph of
Equation 4 through the data............................ 35

5 Plot of average total cost per hour for
treatment by helicopters on hours flown and
a graph of Equation 5 through the data................. 37

6 Plot of average total cost per acre treated
by helicopters on acres treated and a graph
of Equation 6 through the data......................... 38

7 Plot of average total cost per hour for treatment
with ground methods on hours of treatment and a
graph of Equation 9 through the data................... 70

8 Plot of average total cost per acre treated
by ground methods on acres treated and a graph
of Equation 10 through the data........................ 71

9 Plot of average total cost per acre of citrus treated
by ground methods on acres of citrus treated and a
graph of Equation 11 through the data.................. 72

10 Plot of average total cost per acre of corn treated
by ground methods on acres of corn treated and a
graph of Equation 12 through the data.................. 73

11 Plot of average total cost per acre of soybeans
treated by ground methods on acres of soybeans
treated and a graph of Equation 13 through the data.... 74






viii











Figure Page

12 Plot of average total cost per acre of peanuts
treated by ground methods on acres of peanuts
treated and a graph of Equation 14 through the data.... 75

13 Plot of average total cost per acre of pasture
treated by ground methods on acres of pasture
treated and a graph of Equation 15 through the data.... 76

















































ix












SUMMARY



This study was an economic inquiry into selected aspects of aer-

ial vs. ground application of pesticides on Florida crops.

The data came from two surveys for the 1979 fiscal year. The

first survey represented an attempt at a census of all 79 aerial oper-

ators in Florida in that year. Of these, 49 (62 percent) cooperated

by providing data on their operations. The second survey was of a

sample of farmers in two subregions in the state--a four-county (Lake,

Orange, Seminole, and Sumter) Central Florida area and a two-county

(Escambia and Santa Rosa) West Florida area. The limited amount of

funds available for field work was a prime factor in determining sam-

ple size. Sixty percent of the farmers in the sample of 133

responded.

Major investments in aerial operations are in equipment and human

capital. For the 39 operators providing complete information on the

cost of equipment, the average investment (in 1979 dollars) was

$178,000 in aircraft and $37,600 in support equipment for a total

investment of $215,600. There was no explicit attempt in this study

to measure the investment in human capital required to become an expe-

rienced aerial operator. Some operators learned to fly in the mili-

tary and have used that base from which to learn the specialized

skills needed to be an aerial operator. Others enter through civilian

flight schools including a few specialized schools designed to train

agricultural pilots. Experience is the great teacher.





x












In 1979 fixed wing aircraft were predominate. Airplanes only

were used by 39 of the 49 aerial applicators; nine used helicopters

only and one reported both types of equipment. A typical set of sup-

port facilities included a maintenance shop, a loading area (permanent

and/or mobile) and a complement of support vehicles. Most operations

had two pickups and two larger trucks. Pickups were used as general

utility vehicles. The larger trucks were more specialized and were

used to haul water (tank trucks), mixing equipment, fertilizer, etc.

Florida operators were involved in pest control on a wide variety

of agricultural crops. The estimated acres of crops sprayed by air in

Florida in 1979 were 4.8 million. Multiple applications of some acre-

age means that not nearly all of Florida's crops are sprayed by air.

Nevertheless, aerial operations in Florida provide significant input

into agricultural production and the total acres sprayed by air

including the multiple applications exceed the acres in crops.

Spray programs varied widely by crop. Some operators were

closely involved with the producer in establishing the sequence of

pesticide, fungicide, or fertilizer applications for a particular

crop. Most, however, carried out treatment as specifically requested

by the producers.

When choosing from among alternative methods dollar costs become

a major economic factor. For a farmer who has not invested in ground

equipment, the estimated average total cost of doing the job with

indigenous labor and purchased or rented equipment must be compared

with custom rates as a part of the decision process. For a farmer who

has already invested in the necessary equipment, the sunk costs in



xi












equipment do not enter the cost calculations in making a decision

among alternative ways to do the job. In this latter comparison it is

the variable or out-of-pocket costs (including the opportunity cost of

farm labor at the time the services are needed) which become impor-

tant.

The average "total cost per hour flown" by airplane for all firms

in 1979 was $220.28 (in 1979 dollars). On a per acre treated basis

the average total cost was $2.80 and average net returns were $-.39

(see table). If 1979 was a rather typical year as most operators

suggested, the industry is essentially one that does not permit the

average operator to cover all cost and one that leaves no excess prof-

its. The considerable variation in the average net returns observed

did suggest that some of the operators could have enjoyed sizable

profits while others suffered serious losses.



Summary of Application Costs by Method

Method of application
Ground
Item Airplane Helicopter equipment

- - - dollars per acre - - -

Average fixed cost .70 1.81 3.45
Average variable cost 2.10 4.17 5.18
Average total cost 2.80 5.98 8.63
Average total returns
from fees charged 2.41 7.69 NA
Average net returns -.39 1.71 NA

NA = not applicable.









xii











For firms using helicopters, the average total cost per hour

flown in 1979 was $277.65 (in 1979 dollars). Over a half a million

acres of crops were treated at an average total cost per acre of $5.98

and average net returns above all costs were $1.71 (see table). Heli-

copters are often used under special circumstances such as small

irregular fields and fields near congested areas. Also, there are

fewer firms with the helicopters competing for available business.

These and other reasons may help explain why helicopters can command

fees that yield profits.

The average total costs per hour and per acre using ground

equipment excluding the cost of spray materials were $28.81 and $8.63,

respectively. The weighted average total cost per acre for aerial

applications is less than the weighted average total cost for ground

applications as shown in the table.

The effectiveness of aerial and ground applications in control-

ling pests was not tested in this study. Therefore, cost comparisons

are meaningful only if one assumes that the application methods as

equally effective.

There was considerable variation among growers in the average

total cost per acre of ground applications. A portion of this varia-

tion was associated with the number of acres treated. Larger acreages

permit a farmer to spread fixed costs over more acres and to take

advantage of possible economies of scale.

Estimates of energy use indicated that on the average ground

methods used about 4.5 times as much energy per acre as did aerial

methods. Since treatment of citrus trees with air blast sprayers and,



xiii












to a lesser extent, dusters requires a lot of energy, the ratio of

ground to aerial energy use drops to 2.7 if we exclude citrus. The

lower energy use by aerial application suggests that aerial methods

will become more competitive with ground methods if the price of

energy increases relative to labor and capital equipment.

The survey responses indicated that aerial operators and farmers

handling toxic substances in Florida incurred low out-of-pocket costs

attributable to adverse effects on human and animal health. Also,

from the responses there seemed to be no serious problems associated

with observable environmental impacts or problems with drift.

Respondents in both surveys consistently indicated that less than

one percent of purchased pesticides were discarded or not used. The

high costs of these substances provide a strong motive not to waste

them. The disposal of waste containers remains a problem. Most con-

tainers are eventually buried in public or private landfills. On-site

inspection and testing would be required to determine if the burying

of these containers constitutes a hazard to ground water, and was not

a part of this study. Respondents did seem aware of potential prob-

lems associated with container disposal, and the description of dis-

posal methods being used showed sensitivity to such problems.

There was no clear indication whether persons handling pesticides

in aerial applications were more qualified than those using ground

methods. The average level of education was higher (12.0 vs. 10.6

years) for aerial handlers but the years of experience was lower (7.4

vs. 14.5). The intensity of experience was greater for aerial han-

dlers so the years of experience does not provide an ideal proxy for



xiv












comparing experience levels. Because of large observed variations in

both education and experience levels, there were not statistically

significant differences in either of these characteristics of handlers

when comparing aerial and ground operations. No data were collected

which would permit a measurement of the relative technical qualifica-

tions of either group.

The study did not reveal that farmers perceived any distinguish-

ing environmental tradeoffs between aerial and ground methods. The

noise level is greater for aerial--particularly fixed wing because of

turn around space needs--and this factor led to occasional complaints

to operators from residents near the treatment site.

In conclusion, agricultural aviation plays an important part in

Florida in assisting farmers to control pests. It is a small but

important industry. In 1979, there were only 79 known aerial opera-

tors in the state. This small industry treated an estimated 4.8 mil-

lion acres of crops--a little more than the total acreage planted to

crops. Of course, not all crops are aerially treated and there is

multiple spraying of some crops. When fields are wet or the crops

grown on them do not permit the passage of ground equipment without

serious crop damage, aerial application provides the only practical

treatment method available. In other situations agricultural pro-

ducers may choose from among custom aerial, custom ground, and the use

of their own labor and equipment. In these latter cases, aerial

application is a cost effective, low energy alternative.







xv








ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF
AERIAL AND GROUND APPLICATIONS OF PESTICIDES
IN FLORIDA AGRICULTURE



Max R. Langham and Linda McGrail





INTRODUCTION



Since Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, there has been a

marked increase in the demand for environmental quality. This shift

in demand has resulted from society's growing awareness of its

interest in a healthful environment. This rising demand has also

greatly increased the need for assessment of costs and benefits of

certain practices that have potentially negative effects on the

environment from society's point of view.

Major difficulties in attempting to assess the net societal bene-

fits (whether they be positive or negative) are associated with meas-

urement problems in complex physical and biological systems and with

the fact that there are economic externalities (spillover effects)

which may not enter the calculus of managers making decisions with

regard to the use of potentially harmful substances simply because

these externalities are not measured in a market. As a consequence,





Max R. Langham is Professor of Food and Resource Economics and
Linda McGrail was Research Assistant in Food and Resource Economics,
University of Florida.









2



there are nearly always conflicts of interest represented by alterna-

tive courses of action which must be finally resolved in the public

arena.

Perhaps nowhere are the environmental issues more complex than in

food production. Pests compete with people for food in all phases of

food production, storage, processing, and distribution. Estimates

suggest that insects and disease reduce human food supplies by about

one-third in food production processes (Ennis, et al. 1975).1 This

loss of food to pests drives up the price of food to consumers.

In Florida's agriculture, competition with pests for food is

particularly keen. The warm, moist climate provides an attractive

environment for a large number of pests, and profitable agricultural

production requires sophisticated methods of pest control.

Interests in the environment and encroachments upon it have

remained strong. Agricultural producers must not only be sensitive to

these environmental interests but also control pests in both an eco-

nomically and technically efficient manner if they are to be cost

effective in producing food. Integrated pest management methods which

combine biological and chemical control methods have evolved as a

consequence of multiple objectives of modern pest control.











lIf one includes losses during harvesting, processing, storage,
and distribution estimates range up to losses of 50 percent (Brody,
1975).









3



Objectives



When field application of a treatment is required as a part of

integrated pest management procedures, efficiency criteria require

consideration of alternative application methods available to the

producer. This study is an economic inquiry into selected aspects of

aerial vs. ground application of pesticides and nutrients on Florida

crops. Specific objectives were to:



1. estimate the cost of applying pesticides by air and compare
this with the cost of ground application methods,

2. compare fees charged per acre by crop for contract aerial
application of pesticides with producer application costs,

3. determine the relative energy efficiency of aerial vs. ground
methods,

4. provide descriptive information on alternative pesticide
application methods which may be useful in the future for
assessing the economic effects on aerial application of any
regulatory actions which may be proposed,

5. determine the capability of aerial applicators to increase
capacity under current and near term conditions,

6. provide information on externalities caused by application of
pesticides, and

7. quantify the benefits and costs to producers and consumers of
alternative pesticide application methods.



Data Used



The data came from two surveys for the 1979 fiscal year. The

first survey represented an attempt at a census of all 79 aerial oper-

ators in Florida in that year. Of these, 49 (62 percent) cooperated








4



by providing data on their operations. The general locations of the

eight areas of activity in the state and the number of aerial opera-

tors and respondents in each area are given in Figure 1.

The second survey was of a sample of farmers in two subregions in

the state--a four-county (Lake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter) Central

Florida area and a two-county (Escambia and Santa Rosa) West Florida

area (Figure 2). The sample was drawn from a USDA sampling frame.

The limited amount of funds available for field work was a prime fac-

tor in determining sample size. Sixty percent of the farmers in the

sample responded (Figure 2).

This second survey was restricted to two subregions largely in

order to diminish the interviewers' travel costs. The Central Florida

region was chosen to provide information from citrus and vegetable

farmers. The West Florida area was chosen to represent field and row

crop production. The latter sample was more representative of farms

in the region because it is a more homogeneous area with respect to

crops grown. The sample from the Central Florida area was more heav-

ily weighted toward citrus growers than was the population of farmers

in the region.

The producer questionnaire was designed to obtain information on

ground operations that could be compared with data on aerial opera-

tions. Both questionnaires2 went through a series of revisions based

on feedback from other researchers and, for the aerial survey, from




2The questionnaire and introductory letters for the aerial survey
and the farmer survey are available from the senior author upon
request.







5








S2









AREA NUMBER OF NUMBER OFI "
AERIAL OPERATORS RESPONDENTS
1 12 8
2 10 5
3 7 7
4 117
5 7 6
6 8 5
7 9 6
8 12 5
OUT OF STATE 3 0
TOTAL 79 49 (622)





Figure 1.--Locational distribution of aerial operators, number of
operators, and number of respondents by areas, 1979.








6




















AREA FARMERS NUMBER OF
IN SAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRES
CENTRAL FLORIDA
LAKE 28 12 ~g^ L
ORANGE 30 20
SEMINOLE 6 3
SUMTER 11 5 !"
SUBTOTALS 75 40

WEST FLORIDA
ESCAMBIA 24 16
SANTA ROSA 34 24

SUBTOTALS 58 40

TOTALS 133 80 (60%) ,' .



Figure 2.--Locations of the farming regions surveyed, number of farmers,
and number of respondents by county and by region, 1979.









7



selected aerial operators. The final versions resulted from field

tests by the principal investigator.

Interviewers were employees of the Senior Community Service

Employment Program, National Retired Teachers Association and American

Association of Retired Persons. For each survey, interviewers were

brought to the University of Florida for a one-day training session to

introduce them to the study and to familiarize them with the question-

naires to be used.

In both surveys the quality of the data undoubtedly varied among

respondents. Except for a few who referred to personal records to

provide more accurate responses, the interviewees answered the survey

questions from memory.



Brief History of Aerial Application of Pesticides
in Florida Agriculture



The introduction of aerial application in the United States

occurred shortly after World War I. In 1921, lead arsenate was suc-

cessfully applied to control leaf-eating moths on catalpa trees near

Troy, Ohio. The great majority of agricultural application activity,

however, was destined for the cotton and vegetable growing areas of

the South, Southwest, and Eastern Seaboard. One of the first commer-

cial operations was formed in 1924 by the Huff Daland Company. Based





3This historical sketch borrows from Lewis and Newton (1979) and
from conversations with Mr. Carroll Potter and his son Jan Potter of
Zellwood, Florida.








8



in Monroe, Louisiana, the Huff Daland Dusters benefitted from the work

of Dr. Bert R. Coad, U.S. Bureau of Entomology in Tallulah, Louisiana,

concerning the control of bollworm on cotton by aerial application of

calcium arsenate. While the treatment of cotton was the company's

primary activity, peaches and sugarcane were also important. In 1926

its pilots treated more than 87,000 acres.

As was characteristic of dusting operations in the early decades,

the Huff Daland Dusters attempted to lengthen their work season by

expanding into other regions. By 1927 Huff Daland pilots were operat-

ing in North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, and California, and on the

cotton growing estates of Peru and Mexico. In 1933 the company, then

known as the Delta Air Corporation (later Delta Airlines), entered the

vegetable growing area of Homestead, Florida.

By 1939 some 200 planes in the U.S. had been converted for aerial

application. The availability of surplus aircraft and of World War II

pilots in the postwar era helped to spur the growth of agricultural

aviation nationwide. The Curtiss JN-6 ("Jenny") and DeHaviland DH-4

which predominated in the 1920's were succeeded by the Waco 9 and 10,

Travelaire 2000 and 4000, Stearman, Curtiss Commandaire, American

Eagle, Swallow and New Standard. Most agricultural pilots converted

their own planes, using plywood and plumbing fixtures and about 30

days of labor. The standard plane in use was the Stearman, a World

War II pilot trainer, with its front seat replaced by a hopper.

Carroll Potter, an Air Force veteran, was one of the first agri-

cultural pilots in the Zellwood area, a major vegetable producing

region just north of Orlando. Mr. Potter first came to Zellwood in









9



1946. Upon leaving the Air Force, he had intended to return to farm-

ing in West Texas. However, faced with farm equipment prices which

had quadrupled during the War, he decided to spend a few years flying

while waiting for prices to deflate. He joined a friend, Mr. Hughes,

who had been operating around Zellwood since the 1930's. Mr. Potter's

first plane was a Waco Sports, built before the Depression and pur-

chased for under $400. At that time an investment of more than $1000

in agricultural aircraft was considered unrecoverable.

A major crop in the Zellwood, Florida, area in the 1940's was

watermelons, which required aerial application of copper fungicides.

Mr. Potter recalled that the Delta Air pilots would compete with him

for that business when they passed through Zellwood on their way to

begin the cotton season in Louisiana. During this period he was

instrumental in the development of the Florida sweet corn industry.

Working with a local farmer and a chemical dealer in 1946-47, Potter

pioneered the control of earworm. Using daily applications of 40

pounds of 10 percent DDT per acre over the 21-day silking period, the

group achieved 98 percent worm-free corn. Today nearly 400,000 acres

of sweet corn in Florida are treated aerially with the current substi-

tutes for DDT.

Ten years later Mr. Potter discovered that fungus on his own corn

could be controlled effectively with aerial application of manzeb at

the rate of 5 gallons per acre. Previously, it had been applied by

ground sprayer at the manufacturer's recommended rate of 100 gallons

per acre.








10



One of the most dramatic uses of agricultural aviation in Florida

occurred in 1957 when infestations of the Mediterranean fruit fly were

found. Over six million acres were sprayed with bait consisting of

malathion plus protein hydrolysate. The largest plane utilized, a

converted B-17 bomber with a payload of 2400 gallons, was reported to

have treated 2400 acres in 15 minutes. Mr. Potter sprayed under con-

tract in an area running from Tampa to Miami; many pilots came from

out of state. Total eradication took less than 19 months. The timely

and effective control of the med fly and the resultant savings to the

citrus industry did much to promote aerial application in the state.

The use of DDT against mosquito and fly populations was another

aerial spraying program remembered by Mr. Potter as a popular one.

DDT was used extensively after World War II as the all-purpose pesti-

cide. As late as mid-May through July 1, 1965, the Potter operation

applied two million pounds of it, all loaded by hand from semi-trailer

to flatbeds to planes. However, it had such a high propensity to

drift that afternoon applications often forced cars on U.S. 441 to use

their headlights. Leaf crops in the area were sometimes contaminated

above tolerance levels.

Important technological changes have been made to protect the

pesticide applicators as well as the environment. Product labels now

give precautions, restrictions, and directions for use. Bulk packag-

ing, the change from open container to closed loading systems and the

transition from predominantly dry to predominantly liquid materials

have reduced worker exposure to pesticides. The World War II vintage

planes, which afforded low visibility for the pilot, have mostly been

supplanted by aircraft designed for agricultural uses.








11



Industry activities have expanded to include pasture seeding and

the application of herbicides and fertilizer. There has also been a

significant increase in competition. For example, when Mr. Potter

arrived in Zellwood in the forties there was one operator, compared

with twenty today. This increased activity has taken place at the

same time that suburban developments have spread rapidly in the midst

of agricultural land. With the growth in aerial spraying and in the

number of non-farm people living adjacent to cropland have come more

contact, and, in some cases, conflict between the two. This report is

intended to contribute to public knowledge and understanding of the

role of aviation in agriculture.





PART I. AERIAL OPERATORS



Major financial investments in the industry are in equipment and

human capital. For the 39 firms providing complete information on the

cost of equipment, the average investment per firm (in 1979 dollars)

was $178,000 in aircraft and $37,600 in support equipment for a
(137,500) (44,200)
total investment of $215,000. There was no explicit attempt in this
(165,600)
study to measure the investment in human capital required to become an

experienced aerial operator. Some operators learned to fly in the

military and have used that experience as a base from which to learn




4Numbers in parentheses below the averages represent standard
deviations.








12



the specialized skills needed to be an aerial operator. Others enter

through civilian flight schools including a few specialized schools

designed to train agricultural pilots. Experience is the great

teacher and most people engaged in the business have experienced acci-

dents and close calls. Indeed, an old timer stated that one rather

serious incident is normally required to make a good agricultural

pilot.



Industry Equipment



Aircraft

In 1979, fixed wing aircraft were predominant. Airplanes alone

were used by 39 of the 49 aerial applicators; nine used helicopters

and one reported both types of equipment. Table 1 lists the various

makes of aircraft reported, including a Cessna C-172 used for spot-

ting. Grumman, Cessna, and Piper were makers of the most popular

agricultural planes; most of the helicopters were Bell. The fuel use

per hour reported by aerial operators is presented in Table 2 by make

and size of aircraft.



Support Equipment

The major types of support equipment are listed in Table 3. Not

listed, but included in the financial analysis, are various miscella-

neous items such as permanent and portable tanks, trailers, loaders,

and mixing equipment. Reported information on nozzles and tips is in

Table 4. The Teejet was the basic spray nozzle while the Disc-Core








12



the specialized skills needed to be an aerial operator. Others enter

through civilian flight schools including a few specialized schools

designed to train agricultural pilots. Experience is the great

teacher and most people engaged in the business have experienced acci-

dents and close calls. Indeed, an old timer stated that one rather

serious incident is normally required to make a good agricultural

pilot.



Industry Equipment



Aircraft

In 1979, fixed wing aircraft were predominant. Airplanes alone

were used by 39 of the 49 aerial applicators; nine used helicopters

and one reported both types of equipment. Table 1 lists the various

makes of aircraft reported, including a Cessna C-172 used for spot-

ting. Grumman, Cessna, and Piper were makers of the most popular

agricultural planes; most of the helicopters were Bell. The fuel use

per hour reported by aerial operators is presented in Table 2 by make

and size of aircraft.



Support Equipment

The major types of support equipment are listed in Table 3. Not

listed, but included in the financial analysis, are various miscella-

neous items such as permanent and portable tanks, trailers, loaders,

and mixing equipment. Reported information on nozzles and tips is in

Table 4. The Teejet was the basic spray nozzle while the Disc-Core








12



the specialized skills needed to be an aerial operator. Others enter

through civilian flight schools including a few specialized schools

designed to train agricultural pilots. Experience is the great

teacher and most people engaged in the business have experienced acci-

dents and close calls. Indeed, an old timer stated that one rather

serious incident is normally required to make a good agricultural

pilot.



Industry Equipment



Aircraft

In 1979, fixed wing aircraft were predominant. Airplanes alone

were used by 39 of the 49 aerial applicators; nine used helicopters

and one reported both types of equipment. Table 1 lists the various

makes of aircraft reported, including a Cessna C-172 used for spot-

ting. Grumman, Cessna, and Piper were makers of the most popular

agricultural planes; most of the helicopters were Bell. The fuel use

per hour reported by aerial operators is presented in Table 2 by make

and size of aircraft.



Support Equipment

The major types of support equipment are listed in Table 3. Not

listed, but included in the financial analysis, are various miscella-

neous items such as permanent and portable tanks, trailers, loaders,

and mixing equipment. Reported information on nozzles and tips is in

Table 4. The Teejet was the basic spray nozzle while the Disc-Core







Table 1. Makes of aircraft, number in use, prices paid, and years in use.

Number
Number included Average purchase price Average years owned
in use in average All New Used New Used

- - 1979 dollars - -

Airplanes
Ag Cat 21 17 67,800 89,100 56,200 8 4
Ag Truck 18 17 50,500 55,300 28,000 4 4
Pawnee 16 12 37,400 58,100 26,600 7 5
Brave 14 11 68,100 68,200 67,900 3 2
Ag Wagon 11 11 32,000 38,200 15,500 4 3
Thrush Cmdr. 10 9 73,900 78,900 63,900 4 5
Air Tractor 4 3 72,100 83,100 50,200 2 2
Other 12 10 56,200 45,800 58,800 5 3


Helicopters
Bell 24 8 90,400 110,800 78,200 11 10
Bell Soloy 2 2 175,500 175,500 c 1 c
Other 11 8 65,600 94,900 55,800 17 6

"aOnly those aircraft for which both price and year purchased were reported.
blncludes makes with data reported by only one operator, aggregated to avoid disclosure of information
from particular firms. Airplanes in this category are four DC-3s, two unknown makes, and one each
Cessna, Emair, Stearman, Turbo-Thrush, Twin Beech, and Weatherly.
cNone reported.
dIncludes makes with data reported by only one operator, aggregated to avoid disclosure of information
from particular firms. Helicopters in this category are four unknown makes, four Sikorskys, and one
each Bell Mini, Hiller, and Hughes 500.








14



Table 2. Range of hopper capacities and fuel use reported by aerial
operators.

Hopper
Make HP capacity Fuel yse

- gal. - gal./hr. -
Airplanes
Ag Cat 600 200-300 18-46
Ag Truck 300 165-300 15-18
Pawnee 235 150 ( 14-20
Brave 285 270-300 18
Brave 375-400 270-300 24-26
Brave NR 275-280 16-20
Ag Wagon 240-300 200 16-20
Thrush Cmdr. NR 400 30-37
Air Tractor NR 600 35-40
DC-3 NR NR 1100
Turbo Thrush NR NR 50 (diesel)
Weatherly NR NR 26
Stearman NR 450 NR
Emair NR NR 50
Twin Beech NR NR 45
Aztec NR NR 25


Helicopters
Bell NR 60-80 12-15
Bell NR 100 20
Bell Soloy NR 140 22-25 (jet)
Sikorsky NR 250 40-50
Hughes 500 NR NR 24 (jet)
Bell Mini NR 60 12
Hiller NR NR 15

NR = not reported; NA = not available.







Table 3. Types of support vehicles, number in use by respondents, prices paid, and years in use.

Number
Number included Average purchase price Average years owned
Type in use in average All New Used New Used

- - 1979 dollars - -

Pickups 80 51 6,400 7,100 4,800 3 3
Larger trucks 26 19 8,500 9,200 7,600 6 6
Mixing trucks 9 4 38,500 70,000 28,000 1 6
Fertilizer flat bed trucks 8 6 4,100 b 4,100 b 7
Tank truck 7 5 5,300 b 5,300 b 3
Tractors 3 2 16,900 10,900 23,000 2 1
Semitrailers 2 2 32,200 54,700 9,700 3 16
Others 6 3 6,200 8,400 1,800 1 1

aonly those vehicles for which both price and year purchased were reported.
bNone reported.

cCar, station wagon, van, four-wheel drive, forklift, and crane truck, aggregated to avoid disclosure
of information from particular firms.








16



Table 4. Spray nozzles and tips used by aerial operators.

Number of
Make firms reporting

I. Nozzles

Airplanes
Teejet 30
Micronair 3
Teejet and Beecomist 1
Micronair and Beecomist 1
Teejet and spreader 2
Make uncertain 4
Number reporting 41


Helicopters
Teejet 8
Beecomist 1
Teejet and Beecomist 1
Microfoil 1
Varies with application 1
Number reporting 12


II. Tips

Airplanes
Not specified 26
Flat fan 1
Flood 1
Cone 4
Disc-core 6
Adjustable 2
Number reporting 40


Helicopters
Not specified 9
Disc-core 2
Number reporting 11









17



was the most common tip. The reported pressures at which materials

were dispensed varied over a wide range of 15 to 100 pounds per square

inch (psi). Pressures of 30 to 60 psi were common, with 40 the most

often reported.

A typical set of support facilities included a maintenance shop,

a loading area (permanent and/or mobile) and a complement of support

vehicles. Pickups were used as general utility vehicles. The larger

trucks were more specialized and were used to haul water (tank

trucks), mixing equipment, fertilizer, etc.



Mixing Systems

From verbal descriptions provided, the equipment used to mix and

load pesticides could perhaps best be described as variations on open

or partially closed systems. The typical operations used metered

pumps from pesticide containers and mixed ingredients in tanks with

some form of agitator system. Forty-two firms reported such open or

partially closed systems.

Six firms reported having closed systems. One was installed in

1966, two in 1970, and three in 1979. Installation cost was not

reported for the 1966 system. The average costs for the systems

installed in 1970 and 1979 were $3,000 and 21,000, respectively.



Aerial Operations



Florida operators are involved in pest control on a wide variety

of agricultural products. Table 5 lists those crops (including









17



was the most common tip. The reported pressures at which materials

were dispensed varied over a wide range of 15 to 100 pounds per square

inch (psi). Pressures of 30 to 60 psi were common, with 40 the most

often reported.

A typical set of support facilities included a maintenance shop,

a loading area (permanent and/or mobile) and a complement of support

vehicles. Pickups were used as general utility vehicles. The larger

trucks were more specialized and were used to haul water (tank

trucks), mixing equipment, fertilizer, etc.



Mixing Systems

From verbal descriptions provided, the equipment used to mix and

load pesticides could perhaps best be described as variations on open

or partially closed systems. The typical operations used metered

pumps from pesticide containers and mixed ingredients in tanks with

some form of agitator system. Forty-two firms reported such open or

partially closed systems.

Six firms reported having closed systems. One was installed in

1966, two in 1970, and three in 1979. Installation cost was not

reported for the 1966 system. The average costs for the systems

installed in 1970 and 1979 were $3,000 and 21,000, respectively.



Aerial Operations



Florida operators are involved in pest control on a wide variety

of agricultural products. Table 5 lists those crops (including








Table 5. Acreages treated by aerial operators, percent treated by fixed wing equipment, and average
charges per acre for helicopter and fixed wing services.a

Percent treated
Acres by fixed wing Average charge per acreb
Crop or activity treated equipment Helicopter Fixed wing

Crops for food and feed
Citrus 671,499 83 8.74 3.42
Corn, sweet and field 566,051 78 1.42 1.95
Soybeans 376,631 98 2.50 4.91
Sugarcane 247,962 59 1.65 1.44
Leafy vegetables 242,526 44 1.38 1.64
Potatoes 163,300 98 3.00 1.90
Melons 106,737 99 3.50 2.41
Pasture, rye, and hay 94,010 99 3.50 2.52
Cabbage 58,104 30 2.62 1.99
Cotton 55,400 100 5.04
Peanuts 54,455 100 3.50
Miscellaneous vegetables and melons 51,000 71 5.00 0.97
Celery 45,003 67 1.38 1.85
Beans and peas 32,303 99 2.22
Lettuce 26,000 100 1.85
Radishes 23,000 100 1.74
Tomatoes 22,816 100 1.52
Carrots 21,400 100 1.58
Wheat 19,000 100 4.50
Rice 18,103 67 1.82 3.00
Chicory 12,500 100 1.65
Escarole 12,500 100 1.65
Cucumbers 10,291 61 3.50 1.82
Avocados 8,000 100 1.25
Sorghum and millet 7,100 100 4.88
Peppers 3,904 100 2.31
Squash 3,360 100 1.42
Mangoes 3,000 100 1.62
Peaches 2,400 100 c
Eggplant 240 100 3.00
Strawberries 106 100 c
Subtotal 2,958,701

Continued













Table 5. Acreages treated by aerial operators, percent treated by fixed wing equipment, and average
charges per acre for helicopter and fixed wing services (continued).

Percent treated
Acres by fixed wing Average charge per acreb
Crop or activity treated equipment Helicopter Fixed wing

Other crops
Tobacco 25,003 100 2.51
Sod 3,000 100 4.00
Pine trees 90 100 11.66
Subtotal 28,093

Other
Mosquito control 1,450,000 100 0.24
Native range 415,360 100 0.59
Undifferentiated 222,935 100 0.37
Canal, ditches and ditchbanks,
other weed control, and aquatics 13,600 0 18.20
Subtotal 2,101,895
Total 5,088,689
Estimated state total
for all cropsb 4,815,443

aData represent information obtained from 48 aerial operators.
bThis estimate was based on the assumption that the activity of non-respondents was proportional to
their numbers.
cNot reported.








20



aquatic weeds and mosquito control) ranked by magnitude of total acres

treated. Also shown are the percentage treated by fixed wing equip-

ment and the average fees charged per acre by plane and helicopter.

Land in farms in Florida comprises approximately 13.3 million acres

(Thompson). Of these, about one-third (33.8 percent in 1978, the last

year for which data were available) were, planted to crops. The esti-

mated number of acres of crops sprayed by air in Florida in 1979 was

4.9 million, or approximately 109 percent of the crop acreage. Of

course, multiple applications on some acreage and multiple cropping

means that not all of Florida's crops are sprayed by air. Neverthe-

less, aerial operations in Florida provide significant input into

agricultural production.

Operators seemed to base charges on unique conditions at the time

of agreement to perform the service. This situation is as one would

expect in an industry which is normally quite competitive. However,

timing, available equipment, and other unique circumstances can intro-

duce noncompetitive behavior in contracts for particular jobs. Rates

for helicopter services normally exceed those for fixed wing equip-

ment. Higher rates for helicopters are attributable in part to less

competition. Another factor is slower application speeds, which

increase cost but provide greater control of substances being applied.

In addition, helicopters can be used in areas where congestion or

other restrictions on turn around space preclude the use the air-

planes.

Spray programs varied widely by crop. Some operators were

closely involved with the producer in establishing the sequence of









21



pesticide, fungicide, or fertilizer applications for a particular

crop. Most, however, carried out treatment as specifically requested

by the producers.

Attempts to obtain detailed information on target pests and con-

trol substances were not very successful. Individual customer

receipts from one operator indicated that nearly every job has unique

features.

Typical rates of coverage were about 78 acres per hour with fixed

wing aircraft and about 44 acres per hour with helicopters.



Airspeed

For operators using fixed wing equipment, airspeed seemed to be

more a function of type of plane and pilot preference than of crop

sprayed. For example, the range in airspeeds for a Cessna Ag Truck

might be listed as 90 to 115 mph while for an Ag Tractor, 100 to 135

mph, and some pilots expressed a desire to fly as fast as possible for

optimal aircraft control. Table 6 shows the number of fixed wing

operators who consider particular flying speeds either preferable or

acceptable for pesticide application.

Helicopter operators did vary speed according to crop. Citrus

was sprayed at about one-half the speed of other crops (Table 7). One

operator indicated that the highest speeds were used on pastures.

Another said that when applying herbicides he flew 10 to 15 mph slower

than when applying insecticides and fungicides. The reason for this

slower speed was to provide greater control of drift.








22



Table 6. Airspeeds flown while dispersing chemicals by airplane

Airspeed Desired Minimum Maximum

MPH - - Number of firms reporting - - -

60 1
65 1
70 1
75
80 3 1
85
90 5 7b
95 1 2 1
100 12b 6
105 1 2
110 7 2 5
115 3 3
120 6 6b
125 1
130 1 3
135 1
140
145
150 Ic

aNot all firms provided all three speeds. A few firms provided
different speeds for different aircraft.
bModal response.
'Mosquito control.








23



Table 7. Airspeeds flown while dispersing chemicals by helicopter.

Citrus Other crops
Airspeed Desired Minimum Maximum Desired Minimum Maximum


MPH - - - - Number of firms reporting - - - -

18 2a

20 4a 1

22 2a

25 1 1

30 2

35 1

40 1 1

45 2a 2A

50 2a

55 2a 1

60 1 1 1

80 1

aModal response.








24



Wind Speed

Asking question about wind speed is a little like asking "How

long is a piece of string?" There are many answers and in this case

they depend upon the environment in which the operator is working--

including the crop involved, the objects or crops in contiguous areas,

the substances being dispersed; and wind direction.

Responses for fixed wing equipment are recorded in Table 8.

There seemed to be a preference for a slight wind. One operator

explained that since it is necessary to overlap spray swaths, a little

wind is desirable so that they do not have to fly back through the

spray. Wind speeds below 6 mph were preferred by 69 percent of the

operators, and 74 percent indicated that the maximum wind speed at

which they would spray was 10 mph or less.

Helicopter operators definitely preferred lower wind speeds than

operators of fixed wing equipment. All seven helicopter respondents

choose 3 mph or less as optimal, and eight of ten considered 8 mph or

less to be the maximum (Table 9).

There was a difference of opinion on the relation between wind

speed and the crop being treated. One airplane pilot expressed a

preference for higher winds when spraying corn and citrus; another

wanted less wind when spraying citrus. One helicopter pilot reported

that the top wind speed at which citrus should be treated is 3 mph

slower than for other crops. Lower wind speeds are required when

there is danger from drift. Operators using both types of aircraft

stated that the maximum was 5 mph slower when spraying herbicides than

when applying fungicides or insecticides.









25



Table 8. Wind speeds compatible with spraying by airplane.

Wind Speed Preferred Maximum


MPH - - Number of firms reporting--

0 2
1
2 3
3 1
4 1
5 4 4
6 2
7 1
8 2 2
9 1
10 14
15 4
25 2
30 1
0 3a 1
0 5 1
0 10 4
1- 2 2
2- 5 2
3- 4 1
3- 5 2
5- 6 1
8 10 1
8 -12 1
10 20 2
Unknown 1

aReported as ranges.








26



Table 9. Wind speeds compatible with spraying by helicopter.

Wind Speed Preferred Maximum


MPH - - Number of firms reporting - -

0 4
1
2
3 1
4
5 4
6
7 1
8 2
9
10 1
11
12 1
0 2a 1
0 -3 1
1 -3 1

aReported as ranges.









27



Flaggers

Sometimes in aerial operations it is useful to have a person

called a flagger on the ground to mark the swaths to be sprayed. Only

one-fourth of the 44 operators who responded said they used flaggers.

For the 11 who did, the protective equipment and marking devices used

are shown in Table 10.

When asked, "Could you use an automatic flagging device?", 14 of

37 respondents answered yes. The reason given for a few of the nega-

tive replies was that the fields worked were too small and irregularly

shaped to utilize flags. Some who said they could use these devices

indicated they would rather not because they are not very accurate,

not cost effective at 15 cents per flag, or not necessary with experi-

enced pilots.



Cost Analysis



Costs were classified as fixed or variable. Fixed costs repre-

sent those elements of cost which are incurred by the mere fact of

being in business and do not vary with the amount of business a firm

does. In this study, items classified as fixed costs were deprecia-

tion on aircraft and support equipment, interest, and insurance on

buildings and equipment.5 Variable costs, on the other hand, depend





Insurance costs on aircraft are difficult to unambiguously clas-
sify. Insurance costs based on hours flown would be a variable cost.
When an operator self insures his aircraft as some do, the insurance
risks assumed do vary with hours flown.









27



Flaggers

Sometimes in aerial operations it is useful to have a person

called a flagger on the ground to mark the swaths to be sprayed. Only

one-fourth of the 44 operators who responded said they used flaggers.

For the 11 who did, the protective equipment and marking devices used

are shown in Table 10.

When asked, "Could you use an automatic flagging device?", 14 of

37 respondents answered yes. The reason given for a few of the nega-

tive replies was that the fields worked were too small and irregularly

shaped to utilize flags. Some who said they could use these devices

indicated they would rather not because they are not very accurate,

not cost effective at 15 cents per flag, or not necessary with experi-

enced pilots.



Cost Analysis



Costs were classified as fixed or variable. Fixed costs repre-

sent those elements of cost which are incurred by the mere fact of

being in business and do not vary with the amount of business a firm

does. In this study, items classified as fixed costs were deprecia-

tion on aircraft and support equipment, interest, and insurance on

buildings and equipment.5 Variable costs, on the other hand, depend





Insurance costs on aircraft are difficult to unambiguously clas-
sify. Insurance costs based on hours flown would be a variable cost.
When an operator self insures his aircraft as some do, the insurance
risks assumed do vary with hours flown.








28



Table 10. Protective gear and marking devices used by flaggers.

Number of
Marking firms
Protective gear device using


Air-conditioned truck Truck with flags 3

Air-conditioned vehicle Mirror and strobe lights 1

Flaggers used for pasture Radio-controlled dune 2
only (no protective gear buggy
needed)

Flaggers used for fertilizer Truck 1
application only (no pro-
tective gear needed)

Long-sleeved shirt, long pants, Umbrella 1
boots, gloves, umbrella; does
not flag restricted chemicals

Rainsuit, boots, respirator Flags 1

Coveralls, mask, gloves Truck with flags 1

Men and protective clothing Red and white flags 1
furnished by customer if
he wants work flagged
Total 11









29



largely on the number of hours flown and the level of business activ-

ity. They were gas, oil, maintenance, salaries, and liability, work-

er's compensation, and group insurance.

The average total cost per hour flown by airplane for all firms

in 1979 was $220.28 (in 1979 dollars). The components of this cost
(90.26)
estimate are presented in Table 11. On a per acre treated basis the

average total cost was $2.80. The estimated average total return per
(2.04)
acre was $2.41 so that the estimated average net return per acre was
(.98)
$-.39. If 1979 was a rather typical year, as most operators sug-
(2.25)
gested, the industry is essentially one that does not permit the aver-

age operator to cover all costs and one that leaves no excess profit.

The large estimated standard error of the estimate of average net

return suggests that the estimate of $-.39 is subject to considerable

error and that some of the operators probably enjoyed sizeable profits

while others suffered serious losses.

For firms using helicopters, the average total cost per hour

flown in 1979 was $277.65 (in 1979 dollars). The components of this
(147.58)
cost estimate are presented in Table 12. Over half a million acres

were treated at an average total cost per acre of $5.98. The average
(6.55)
net return per acre above all costs was $1.71.
(3.72)


Costs Conditioned on Level of Operations

Airplanes. Regression analysis was used on the cross-firm data

to estimate the relationship between 1) average total cost per hour

for treatment by airplane and the number of hours flown and 2) average








30



Table 11. Components of average cost per hour for treatment by
airplane, weighted by number of acres treated by each firm.

Item of cost Amount (1979 dollars)

Averaged fixed cost $54.78

Depreciation $25.79
Interest 13.50
Insurance .7Z
Other 3.71


Average variable costs 165.50

Labor 71.53
Fuel 34.51
Maintenance 22.36
Insurance 6.74
Other 30.36


Average total cost $220.28

aMethods of computing costs are explained in Appendix 1.
property insurance.

cDues, miscellaneous equipment, rent for property, and taxes on
property and equipment.
dLiability and insurance for employees.
eRent for aircraft and other equipment, unemployment, payroll and
sales taxes, and operating costs for such items as advertising
supplies and utilities.









31



Table 12. Components of average cost per hour for treatment by
helicopter, weighted by number of acres treated by each
firm.

Item of cost Amount (1979 dollars)

Averaged fixed cost $84.13

Depreciation $42.10
Interest 20.78
Insurance 12.61
Others 8.64


Average variable costs 193.52

Labor 80.01
Fuel 28.24
Maintenance 36.22
Insurance 13.21
Other 35.84


Average total cost $277.65

aMethods of computing costs are explained in Appendix 1.
property insurance.

CDues, miscellaneous equipment, rent for property, and taxes on
property and equipment.
dLiability and insurance for employees.
eRent for aircraft and other equipment, unemployment, payroll and
sales taxes, and operating costs for such items as advertising
supplies and utilities.








32



total cost per acre treated by airplance and the total number of acres

treated. The functions estimated are given in equations (1) and (2).


(1) ATCH = 298.050 0.1460 H + .0000328 H2
(44.740) (.0663) (.0000176)

-2
R = .089 F = 2.64 n = 33


where ATCH is average total cost per hour flown in dollars and H is

hours flown.


(2) ATCA = 5.2496 .0000341 A + (7.2427)(10-11) A2
(1.1842) (.0000213) (6.03563)(10-11


-2
R = .042 F = 1.64 n = 27


where ATCA is average total cost per acre treated in dollars and A is

the number of acres treated.
-2
As one can see from the R's much of the observed variation in

average total cost per hour is explained by factors other than hours

flown. Although volume of business is important, many other factors

(such as accounting systems, management, and accuracy in reporting

data)6 were operative across firms to cause variation in the average

total cost per hour.







6Inaccuracies in reporting create an error in variables problem.
However, both hours flown and acres treated are believed to be report-
ed accurately since both variables are important measures of activity
for a firm. Since major inaccuracies appear in the cost data, these
errors would add to the error variance in the system and would reduce
the accuracy of but not bias the estimates.








33



With a quadratic specification of the mathematical form of

the relationship between average total cost and hours flown,

the equation defines a parabola which must turn up after at-

taining a minimum point. It is not clear from the data whether

costs turn up for a large volume of business. An alternative

model specification using a double logarithmic transformation

(linear in logarithms) gave the results shown in equations 3

and 4 and plotted in Figures 3 and 4.7

(3) In ATCH = 5.7130 0.07859 In H
(.62171) (0.09299)

R2 = .022 F = 0.71 n = 33


(4) In ATCA = 2.1169 0.10420 In A
(1.2330) (0.11341)

R2 = .031 F = 0.84 n = 27

Equation 1 suggests that there are significant (at the 10 per-

cent level) cost reductions up to approximately 2200 hours

flown and very little beyond that. In terms of acres, the

statistical results for both model specifications indicate that

the average total cost per acre is explained as well by the

unconditional mean as a mean conditioned on the number of acres

treated.



7As is often the case when very little of the variation is
explained by a regression equation, R is negative. Therefore,
R2 values were reported for equations 3 and 4. Since the
deviations are measured in logarithmic values and the R2's are
not corrected, the R2's for equations (3) and (4) are not
comparable with the 2 's from equations (1) and (2).












540
*

*
480-



420




' 360

*00
S

300



' 240



180




120
5 5


60o ; i | |
0 400 800 1200 1600 2000 2400 2800 3200 3600 4000

Hours flown

Figure 3.--Plot of average total cost per hour for treatment by airplanes on hours flown and a graph of
Equation 3 through the data.











16
*


14-

*


12-



O10-


4-
0

01
a8-


6 -
0.










2- s
0 0



0 60,000 120,000 180,000 240,000 300000 360,000

Acres treated



Figure 4.--Plot of average total cost per acre treated by airplanes on acres treated and a graph of
Equation 4 through the data.








36



Helicopters. The average total cost per hour as a function of

hours flown is presented in equation (5). This equation was estimated

using regression and a double logarithmic transformation. This speci-

fication permits one to estimate a nonlinear function with the loss of

only two degrees of freedom. A similar function is given for average

total cost per acre in equation (6).


(5) In ATCH = 9.9905 0.67606 In H
(2.4175) (0.37999)


R2 = .022 F = 0.71 n = 33



(6) In ATCA = 16.0951 1.4156 In A
(3.2221) (0.31886)


R2 = .75 F = 19.71 n =7


Predicted values given by these functions along with plots of the

data are presented in Figures 5 and 6. The results suggest that aver-

age total cost per hour as a function of hours flown declines through-

out the range of the data. Average total cost per acre decreases

rather sharply up to about 30,000 acres and then levels off. Most

economies of size are exploited at a much smaller acreage than with

fixed wing equipment.



Costs and Returns by Major Crops

Airplanes. There is considerable arbitrariness in assigning

fixed costs to particular activities. If one allocated such cost on a

pro rata basis the average net return per acre treated by airplane for












700




600




S 500-














200-




100
0. i i 400 -
200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
Hours flown

Figure 5.--Plot of average total cost per hour for treatment by helicopter on hours flown and a graph of
Equation 5 through the data.















30





25




a
S20

0



u 15



a
S100




5



*



5,000 11,000 17,000 23,000 29,000 35,000 41,000

Acres treated

Figure 6.--Plot of average total cost per acre treated by helicopters on acres treated and a graph of
Equation 6 through the data.









39



seven major crops or crop categories ranges from $-3.11 to $.83 (Table

13).

Profitable crops are citrus and soybeans. On the average, treat-

ment of the other crops did not cover all costs. However, the treat-

ment of these crops did permit operators to cover their variable costs

and a part of their fixed investment in equipment--so in the short

run, this type of treatment activity makes economic sense and is con-

sistent with profit maximizing behavior.

Helicopters. Average total cost of treating citrus by helicopter

was $5.65 per acre. The average fee charged was $8.74 per acre
(2.21) (5.59)
which resulted in net returns above all costs of $3.09 per acre.
(4.86)
Because of the very skimpy nature of the data, costs and returns were

not estimated for other crops treated by helicopter. Again it is

important to point out that the partitioning of fixed cost across

crops is an arbitrary accounting process and one that has no basis in

cost theory.



Ground Personnel



As shown in Table 14, loading in most operations is done by a

ground crew employed by the aerial operator. In about 20 percent of

the firms the pilots are also involved in loading. In a few cases

customers assist with loading. Operators reported a problem of

obtaining qualified pesticide handling personnel. A typical wage rate

for such work was about $5.00 per hour in 1979. Candidates for such

jobs are normally unskilled laborers who learn on the job. With expe-








40



Table 13. Costs and returns per acre for treatment of selected crops
by airplane.

Average fee Average Average net
Crop or total return total cost return

- - - - dollars/acre - - - -

Citrus 3.63 2.75 .83
(1.13) (1.20) (1.33)

Corn 1.47 2.20 -.73
(.23) (1.37) (1.43)

Melons 2.78 3.83 -1.05
(1.70) (3.42) (3.43)

Pastures 2.44 3.58 -1.14
(.89) (2.86) (3.29)

Peanuts 2.33 5.44 -3.11
(.22) (10.69) (10.65)

Soybeans 2.20 2.00 .20
(.22) (1.70) (1.71)

Leafy vegetables 1.68 2.09 -.41
(.09) (4.90) (4.91)

aNumbers in parentheses represent standard errors.
bAverage fee for some crops in this table differs from the average
shown in Table 5 because only fees with corresponding cost per acre
were included in these calculations.








41



Table 14. Pesticide loaders in aerial operations.

Number of firms
Loaders reporting


Ground crew 31

Ground crew and pilots) 7

Ground crew and customer 2

Pilot(s) 2

Customer 1

Customer and pilot 1








42



rience with various pesticides and with the maintenance of equipment,

the workers become valuable employees, and about one-third of the

ground crew members have long tenure in their jobs. The education and

experience levels of persons loading pesticide material on aircraft

are presented in Table 15.



Industry Capacity



There was evidence of excess capacity in the industry at the

current level of demand for aerial services. Operators reported the

percentage by which they could increase the number of acres treated

with existing personnel and equipment. Table 16 presents an average

of their responses for each month, weighted by the total acreage

sprayed. Because of the seasonal nature of the business some opera-

tors do not spray at all during the winter. Only two (fixed wing)

stated that they had as much work year-round as they could do.

In case of a growth in demand beyond their capacity, 13 of the 44

applicators responding thought there would be real constraints on

their ability to enlarge. A scarcity of ground personnel and capable

pilots was the obstacle most often named (Table 17). Another was the

difficulty of obtaining fuel, either because of shortages in 1979 or

because of the investment necessary to purchase and store the minimum

quantity oil companies would deliver. Forthcoming government regula-

tions were the third constraint mentioned. According to the view of

two operators there can be no need for expansion, as the loss of agri-

cultural land to urbanization will prevent any increase in demand for

their services.









43



Table 15. One way frequency distributions for years of education and
years of experience of persons loading pesticides for
aerial operations.

Number of loaders with specified years of:
Years School Experience

0 0 7
1 0 12
2 1 13
3 0 7
4 0 3
5 0 8
6 1 5
7 2 2
8 2 2
9 0 0
10 4 5
11 5 1
12 57 1
13 1 1
14 5 1
15 1 5
16 7 2
17 1 0
18 0 1
19 0 0
20 0 4
21 0 0
22 0 0
23 0 0
24 0 0
25 0 2
26 0 0
27 0 0
28 0 2
29 0 0
30 0 1
31 0 0
32 0 0
33 0 0
34 0 1
Unknown 0 1
Total 87 87


Average level of education = 12.0 years
Average level of experience = 7.4 years









44



Table 16. Weighted average percentage by which acres sprayed by
airplanes and helicopters could be increased, by month.

Type aircraft
Month Airplanes Helicopters

- - - Percent - - -

January 214 49

February 216 49

March 202 45

April 188 18

May 182 18

June 187 24

July 192 40

August 203 43

September 201 41

October 193 30

November 204 37

December 214 40

percentages were weighted by acreage sprayed by each firm.








45



Aircraft Accidents



Most firms that have been in this line of business over a period

of years have experienced accidents involving equipment. A brief

account of accidents that occurred while taxiing or in flight is given

in Table 18.

In addition, two minor ground accidents were reported. A ground

crew member stepped of the tail of a plane and did $47 damage, and a

worker caught his finger in the belt drive of an air compressor. The

economic loss of this latter accident was $200; the extent of damage

to the finger was not stated.



Adverse Effects on auman Health and the Environment



Humans

Survey results indicated that three employees of firms providing

aerial services were affected by pesticide exposure in Florida in

1979. In one case a pilot inhaled methyl parathion fumes while

flying. He was treated in the emergency room and did not miss work.

Cost to the firm was about $50. In another instance, a worker loading

Acaraben got some in his eyes. They were washed with water and no

further medical attention was required, nor was any costs incurred.

In the most serious case, a worker spilled aldrin on his clothes and

did not change, although clothes were reportedly available. He missed

three days' work with effects described as chemical intoxication.

Estimated cost to the firm was $120.








46



Table 17. Constraints on ability to expand aerial service
to meet increased demand.

Number of firms
Constraint reporting

Personnel 5

Fuel 2

Congestion '2

Capital 1

Responsibility 1

None given 2
Total 13




Table 18. Aircraft accidents reported by aerial operators.

Equipment
Medical cost cost to
Accident Injury to firm firm


Taxiing accident; None reported None reported $16,900
wind, tail section,
and prop damage

Engine failure; Back and neck $1000 -0-a
aircraft totaled injury

Pilot error; Internal injuries $1500 $ 3,400b
aircraft totaled and broken ankle

Equipment failure Death of pilot $60,000
in flight not
associated with
spraying

Aircraft flew into None -0- $30,000
bad weather

aFully covered by insurance.
blnsurance deductible.








45



Aircraft Accidents



Most firms that have been in this line of business over a period

of years have experienced accidents involving equipment. A brief

account of accidents that occurred while taxiing or in flight is given

in Table 18.

In addition, two minor ground accidents were reported. A ground

crew member stepped of the tail of a plane and did $47 damage, and a

worker caught his finger in the belt drive of an air compressor. The

economic loss of this latter accident was $200; the extent of damage

to the finger was not stated.



Adverse Effects on auman Health and the Environment



Humans

Survey results indicated that three employees of firms providing

aerial services were affected by pesticide exposure in Florida in

1979. In one case a pilot inhaled methyl parathion fumes while

flying. He was treated in the emergency room and did not miss work.

Cost to the firm was about $50. In another instance, a worker loading

Acaraben got some in his eyes. They were washed with water and no

further medical attention was required, nor was any costs incurred.

In the most serious case, a worker spilled aldrin on his clothes and

did not change, although clothes were reportedly available. He missed

three days' work with effects described as chemical intoxication.

Estimated cost to the firm was $120.








45



Aircraft Accidents



Most firms that have been in this line of business over a period

of years have experienced accidents involving equipment. A brief

account of accidents that occurred while taxiing or in flight is given

in Table 18.

In addition, two minor ground accidents were reported. A ground

crew member stepped of the tail of a plane and did $47 damage, and a

worker caught his finger in the belt drive of an air compressor. The

economic loss of this latter accident was $200; the extent of damage

to the finger was not stated.



Adverse Effects on auman Health and the Environment



Humans

Survey results indicated that three employees of firms providing

aerial services were affected by pesticide exposure in Florida in

1979. In one case a pilot inhaled methyl parathion fumes while

flying. He was treated in the emergency room and did not miss work.

Cost to the firm was about $50. In another instance, a worker loading

Acaraben got some in his eyes. They were washed with water and no

further medical attention was required, nor was any costs incurred.

In the most serious case, a worker spilled aldrin on his clothes and

did not change, although clothes were reportedly available. He missed

three days' work with effects described as chemical intoxication.

Estimated cost to the firm was $120.








46



Table 17. Constraints on ability to expand aerial service
to meet increased demand.

Number of firms
Constraint reporting

Personnel 5

Fuel 2

Congestion '2

Capital 1

Responsibility 1

None given 2
Total 13




Table 18. Aircraft accidents reported by aerial operators.

Equipment
Medical cost cost to
Accident Injury to firm firm


Taxiing accident; None reported None reported $16,900
wind, tail section,
and prop damage

Engine failure; Back and neck $1000 -0-a
aircraft totaled injury

Pilot error; Internal injuries $1500 $ 3,400b
aircraft totaled and broken ankle

Equipment failure Death of pilot $60,000
in flight not
associated with
spraying

Aircraft flew into None -0- $30,000
bad weather

aFully covered by insurance.
blnsurance deductible.









47



There were two reported instances in 1979 of a person other than

an employee being affected by pesticides from aerial operations. In

one case a farm worker received some exposure to toxaphene. Any costs

associated with this incident were not determined. In the other case

a child with an allergy problem had a reaction to a benlate applica-

tion. The claim was settled out of court by an insurance company.

Costs were $119 for supposedly contaminated cowboy boots and belt, and

$450 in legal fees.

Each of the above incidents proved to be minor at the time of the

accident. This survey was not designed to investigate the existence

or extent of any long-run effects of pesticide exposure. Both the

survey results and informal conversations with personnel suggest that

aerial operators have respect for the toxicity of the chemicals and

exercise caution in handling them. They also recognize that their

business is one which is vulnerable to the attitudes and interests of

others and that their actions are subject to considerable scrutiny

because their activities are both audible and visible.



Animals

Two incidents involving fish were reported. A fish farmer filed

a $100 million suit against an aerial operator who had been spraying

groves in the general area of his farm. It was claimed that drift had

killed some fish and changed the reproductive habits of others, thus

ruining the farm. No specific chemicals were named. The case was

thrown out of court because the claimant would not produce evidence on

the profitability of his business. The applicator's expenses were








48



$700 in legal fees. In the second incident, 10 to 20 fish in a ditch

within a citrus grove were killed when the grove was sprayed with

ethion. There was no cost to the operator.

No other occurrences were reported from direct experience. How-

ever one operator repeated an unconfirmed account of an incident which

was supposedly associated with an itinerant sprayer. A few cows were

reported to have died from eating potash which had been spilled in the

field and not cleaned up.



Crops

Drift was the cause of one reported case of crop loss in 1979 and

was asserted to be the cause of another. At the time of the survey a

claim was under litigation that spraying of 2,4-D, nalquatic and

sticker had damaged a portion of an 18-acre field of caladiums. The

claim was in excess of $2,500 plus interest, and was covered by insur-

ance. The aerial operator questioned its legitimacy because of the

distance of the field from spraying activity and the wind direction at

the time of spraying. In the other case, paraquat drifted onto

planted pines, killing a few trees and costing the applicator $1,500.

Also reported was a dispute over an unforeseen effect on the

target crop. Fertilizer provided by the farmer was aerially applied

to watermelons. Two weeks later the farmer reported that the melons

could not be sold because they were marked by the fertilizer. He

claimed that application had been made too early in the day. The

operator said the fertilizer was put on after 5:00 P.M. The incident

was not covered by insurance, and had cost the operator $2,500 to

date, with final settlement pending.








49



Waste Disposal

The high cost of agricultural chemicals provides a strong incen-

tive to use them efficiently. Respondents estimated that less than

one percent of the chemicals purchased was not applied to crops.

Aircraft tanks are routinely flushed with clear water after they have

been emptied on the fields being treated. It is this rinse residue

which is generally wasted. Six firms reported collecting and reusing

the rinse water associated with routine spraying programs. Methods of

handling rinse water are presented in Table 19.8 Some firms reported

more than one method; however, there was no information obtained that

suggested that the method of disposal depended on the pesticide

involved.

Disposal of pesticide containers is another waste problem. Dump-

ing in a sanitary landfill was the most frequently used method (Table

20). Again some firms reported more than one method of disposal.

Many firms reported burning combustible materials, including the paint

on metal containers. Most reported rinsing and puncturing containers

and several rinsed, punctured, and crushed before disposal. Large

drums were normally sold to drum reclaimers.










It is difficult to know which specific type of equipment clean-
ing facility is preferable without knowing the soil and water charac-
teristics at the site. Methods of reuse rinse water by spraying resi-
due over treatment areas would minimize concentration of residues at
any one location.








50



Table 19. Facilities for handling rinse water and frequency of
use by aerial operators.

Facilities Number of firms using

Open pit or lagon 12

Septic or other underground tank 7

Spray on treatment site 7

Collect in tank and reuse 6

Special area designated for rinsing 6

Other 4

aDump, gravel area at far end of airport, natural reservoir, and
no special facility.





Table 20. Methods for disposing of waste containers and frequency
of use by aerial operators.

Method Number of firms using

Sanitary landfill 24

Sell drums to reclaimers 13

Return to customer 11

Burn combustible material, crush and bury 4

Rinse,b burn, and let rust 3

Stack up 1

Throw in pit 1

aThree reported burning before taking to landfill.
bone firm triple rinsed.









51



Buffer Zones

One means of reducing the problem of pesticide drift is to

increase the distance between the target and areas susceptible to

damage. Therefore, aerial operators were asked to estimate buffer

distances between their activities and 1) platted subdivisions, 2)

public bodies of water, and 3) domestic animal habitats (poultry

facilities, dairy and beef feed lots, and pasture and range). The

distances requested were those which would result in no loss of busi-

ness, a 10 percent loss, and a 20 percent loss. This was a very dif-

ficult question for the operators to answer because most of them had

not previously considered the distribution of their business in this

manner.

Approximately one-third of the aerial operators attempted to give

an answer. Some operators stated that it was not possible for them to

estimate these impacts because of odd sizes and shapes of fields.

Others thought the question did not pertain to them because the method

of operation or the location of their activities made buffer zones

unnecessary. Some said that buffer distances would not be economi-

cally feasible or in the interest of the general public.

Those operators who did provide answers did not give distances

for all situations. The number of respondents and the average dis-

tances they reported are given in Table 21. Large standard errors for

the distances given are due mainly to responses of zero feet. For

example, 10 respondents gave a positive (nonzero) estimate for the

distance from a platted subdivision which would result in no loss of

business. The remaining six operators estimated zero feet. The aver-








52



age of the positive responses was 112 and the standard error 66 com-

pared with 70 and 75, respectively, in Table 21.

Noise is another problem which buffer zones could alleviate.

Although there was not a specific question about it in the survey,

several operators indicated in informal discussions that they had had

a few calls concerning noise. Early morning hours are a prime time

for spraying because winds are normally calm then. This fact combined

with the growing number of rural non-farm residents in Florida will

undoubtedly lead to more such complaints in the future.



Problems Facing the Industry



The first question in the survey asked the aerial operators what

they believed were their industry's major problems in Florida. Its

poor public image was named by the largest number of respondents

(Table 22), and was most often attributed to misconceptions about the

risks of aerial spraying. Environmentalists and the media were criti-

cized for focusing on the dangers and ignoring the applicators' pro-

fessionalism and their positive contributions to food production. A

misunderstanding of the relationship between odor and toxicity was

thought to be the cause of unwarranted law suits. However, one opera-

tor remarked that the fear of being sued had brought about more

responsible operation. There was also acknowledgment that some pilots

do not make an effort to minimize drift or to avoid spraying field

workers, and thereby damage the reputation of the industry. Farmers

were seen as contributing to the problem when they consider only







Table 21. Buffer zone distances between aerial operations and specified sites which would result in 0,
10, and 20 percent loss of business.a

Loss of business
0% 10% 20%
Average Average Average
Number distance Number distance Number distance
Site description reporting (feet) reporting (feet) reporting (feet)

Domestic animal habitat:


Poultry facility 16 166 10 195 9 324
(229) (269) (507)

Dairy or feedlot 18 117 10 135 12 218
(168) (167) (398)

Pasture or range 16 139 9 128 13 230
(336) (175) (374)

Platted subdivision 16 70 10 160 12 335
(75) (196) (419)

Public body of water 17 185 11 202 9 491
(321) (217) (568)

aNumbers in parentheses are standard errors.








54



Table 22. Major industry problems reported by aerial operators.

Number of times
Problem mentioned


Negative public attitude 29

Excessive regulation 25

Increased operating costs 18

Urbanization 13

Insufficient information provided to
pesticide users 7

Shortage of fuel 6

Price undercutting 6

Shortage of qualified personnel 4









55



price, not quality, and reward the less conscientious pilots with

their business.

Many of the operators recommended counteracting the negative

publicity with a public relations campaign by their own association

and the pesticide manufacturers. They also called for increased com-

munication at the personal level by explaining to farmers and civic

groups the problems aerial applicators face. Besides wanting to edu-

cate the general public, several of the applicators thought that they,

and the farmers who hire them, need to know more about the pesticides

they use. Some operators wanted the chemical companies to make avail-

able such information as the damage their products might cause to

metal or wood. Some wanted the University system to offer instruction

in aerial spraying, and to provide better guidance and dissemination

of information. Required participation in the state and national

agricultural aviation associations was suggested as a means of keeping

more operators informed about industry problems as well as technologi-

cal developments. As one person noted, the industry should realize

that there are some drawbacks to pesticide use, and the public needs

to be aware of the problems of not using them.

Many aerial operators saw public misinformation and overreaction

by environmentalists at the root of the second most often named prob-

lem, excessive and discriminatory regulation. They believed their

work was controlled by too many agencies, and the safety and reporting

requirements were too strict, impractical, redundant, and scientif-

ically unfounded. EPA in particular was criticized for unreasonable

regulations. A few operators tended to associate all regulation with

the EPA even when the regulation was associated with a state program.








56



Some operators felt that their industry was inequitably treated

with respect to other pesticide users. For example, farmers who apply

pesticides do not have the same requirements as aerial applicators.

Some thought that the regulatory agencies focused on large operations,

leaving small operators poorly regulated.

To improve the situation, some respondents offered specific pro-

posals. One was that the responsibility for regulation be divided

between a state board solely in control of aerial applicators, and the

FAA in charge of aircraft and pilot licensing. Another was for recip-

rocal licenses among states in the Southeast, with similar tests

required. Color coded, recyclable drums, possibly plastic, were pro-

posed in order to lessen the possibility of using an improper pesti-

cide and to reduce waste disposal problems.

In general the operators wanted more industry input into the

regulatory process. They suggested improved lobbying, cooperative

efforts by NAAA and FAAA to monitor legislation, and representation

from the industry when regulations are being discussed. A contrasting

view was that better self-regulation by the industry would eliminate

most of their problems.

The third most important problem indicated by the survey was one

over which the aerial operators have little control, that is, the high

cost of operation. Their costs have been driven up by increased

prices for pesticides, gasoline, equipment and maintenance. They have

also been affected by insurance premiums and by the inability of oper-

ators to obtain adequate health insurance. In place of uniformly high

premiums to cover the losses of poorly trained and careless operators,









57



it was believed that a program of incentives and penalties would

encourage safe application and equipment improvement.

Inefficient equipment is another contributor to high operating

costs. One operator indicated that the equipment currently in common

use is at least ten years out of date, and that the products used are

not designed to coordinate with the equipment that dispenses them.

Another observed that there has been a reduction in research effort.

To stimulate the development of better equipment it was suggested that

the patent laws and the tax laws governing research expenses be

revised. An increase in government support for research and develop-

ment would provide further incentive.

Higher operating costs make it hard to earn a reasonable return on

investment while charging fees that farmers can afford. Various other

proposals for bringing down applicators' costs and, therefore, their

fees, would require some type of government action. Some operators

wanted help paying the cost of the new requirements. Some would like

a low interest loan program such as farmers have. Several thought

that fuel should be tax exempt when used for aerial application and

other agricultural purposes. Some wanted the government to control

the price of gasoline.

In certain parts of the state there was concern over cutthroat

competition--price cutting by itinerant operators, new operators un-

dercutting established ones, and prices being set without regard for

inflation.

In addition to cost problems there were input supply problems. A

few operators reported a scarcity of qualified pilots or ground per-








58



sonnel. Many more had difficulties with the supply of fuel. Some had

encountered a shortage and wanted agricultural uses to be given pri-

ority in allocation. Numerous others complained that the minimum

amount they were allowed to purchase cost more than they could afford

at one time and required too much storage space.

An issue receiving considerable attention in the United States

today is the urbanization of farm land. It is a major problem for

aerial applicators in two ways. Loss of cropland means loss of actual

or potential business for them. In addition, the interspersion of

houses and mobile homes with the remaining agricultural land makes

their work more difficult. Many operators felt that people who move

into the new developments from urban areas do not understand what

farming involves or what the applicators are doing. They go out to

watch the spraying, causing extra expense for operators and farmers

because the application cannot be completed. They complain about

noise and drift. The power lines built in the fields to serve their

houses are hazardous for the flyers. A strong desire was expressed by

aerial operators for the protection of prime farm land from develop-

ment.

Finally, the responding applicators made a few suggestions for

the industry itself. Some members believed that stronger state and

national associations were needed. The FAAA was seen as unrepresenta-

tive of small operators, who should become more involved in the organ-

ization. Communication within the industry was cited as an important

area in need of improvement. And a tempering of individual profit-

seeking with cooperation was urged in order to ensure the industry's

survival.









59



PART II. FARMERS (CENTRAL AND WEST FLORIDA)



The sample of farmers surveyed in the Central Florida region did

not produce the diversity of crops--particularly vegetables--grown in

the four county region. Citrus growers dominated the sample. In

contrast, the sample of farms in the West Florida region seemed more

representative of that area's agriculture.

The survey indicated that most respondents (73 of 80) felt that

1979 was a rather typical crop year from the perspective of their pest

control program. In West Florida two farmers thought there were more

pests than usual, while another reported a lighter than normal infes-

tation. One citrus grower felt that his timing was poor and his con-

trol measures not sufficient for fresh fruit. For another it was only

the second year of treatment after not spraying for many years. One

simply said it was a poor crop year and a seventh farmer did not give

a reason for his atypical year response.



Use of Aerial Services by Sample Farmers



Farms in West Florida relied on aerial application of chemicals

more heavily than those in the central part of the state (Table 23).

More Panhandle farmers had hired aerial services at some time. Only

13 percent of those reporting previous use did not use an aerial ser-

vice in 1979, in contrast with 64 percent in the central counties.

Several citrus growers viewed aerial spraying as an emergency or tem-

porary measure, to be used only when fast coverage was crucial or when









59



PART II. FARMERS (CENTRAL AND WEST FLORIDA)



The sample of farmers surveyed in the Central Florida region did

not produce the diversity of crops--particularly vegetables--grown in

the four county region. Citrus growers dominated the sample. In

contrast, the sample of farms in the West Florida region seemed more

representative of that area's agriculture.

The survey indicated that most respondents (73 of 80) felt that

1979 was a rather typical crop year from the perspective of their pest

control program. In West Florida two farmers thought there were more

pests than usual, while another reported a lighter than normal infes-

tation. One citrus grower felt that his timing was poor and his con-

trol measures not sufficient for fresh fruit. For another it was only

the second year of treatment after not spraying for many years. One

simply said it was a poor crop year and a seventh farmer did not give

a reason for his atypical year response.



Use of Aerial Services by Sample Farmers



Farms in West Florida relied on aerial application of chemicals

more heavily than those in the central part of the state (Table 23).

More Panhandle farmers had hired aerial services at some time. Only

13 percent of those reporting previous use did not use an aerial ser-

vice in 1979, in contrast with 64 percent in the central counties.

Several citrus growers viewed aerial spraying as an emergency or tem-

porary measure, to be used only when fast coverage was crucial or when








60



they did not have time to operate their own ground equipment (Table

24). Some farmers discontinued aerial application because of poor

results or bad experiences. In the western region, one reported

skipped rows and failure of the applicator to keep appointments.

Another had lost eight head of cattle when the plane "leaked" over his

pond.

The fees paid for aerial services by farmers in the sample were

often not reported, and when reported, it was not always clear whether

the fee included only the aerial service or the aerial service plus

chemicals. With the data available estimates of per acre application

fees were made for citrus, soybeans, corn, and peanuts. These esti-

mates (not including cost of chemicals) were $6.88, $3.42, $3.44, and

$2.96 per acre, respectively. In each case the average fee paid based

on farmer responses exceeded the average fee charged based on aerial

operation response.



Advantages and Disadvantages

"Best method," "Aerial is ideal," "Aerial or none"--these com-

ments were made by farmers when asked to list the advantages of aerial

application (Table 25). Specifically, respondents said that aerial

spraying can be done when the ground is wet and plants are tall; grass

grown for hay is not mashed; crops are not crushed or soiled; and a

large area can be sprayed in a short time, quickly knocking down the

pest population without tying up farm labor.

One of the disadvantages mentioned (Table 26) was drift, which is

hazardous to non-target plants and animals, wastes expensive chemi-








61



Table 23. Farm use of aerial services.

Central Floridaa West Floridab Total
Yes No Yes No Yes No

- - - Number of farms - - ---

Had used aerial service 22 18 39 1 61 19

Used aerial service
in 1979c 8 14 34 5 42 19

Did not use in 1979,
but expect to in future 3 7 1 2 4 9

aLake Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.
bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.

cAsked only of people answering "yes" to first question.







Table 24. Reasons reported by farmers for not using aerial services
in 1979.

Central West
Reason Floridaa Floridab Total

- Number of farmers reporting -

Ground Equipment Adequate 7 0 7

Dissatisfied in Past 3 2 5

Spray Not Needed 0 2 2

Grove Too Small 1 0 1

No Answer 3 1 4

aLake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.
bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.








62



Table 25. Advantages of aerial application reported by farmers.

Number of farmers reporting
Central West
Advantage Floridaa Floridab Total


Fast, timely 15 12 27

Avoids crop damage 1 17 18

Feasible in wet weather 2 14 16

Saves farm labor 1 11 12

None 11 1 12

Lower cost than ground application 7 1 8

Not limited by plant size 0 6 6

More effective, penetrates well,
good control on outside of canopy 1 4 5

Saves outlay on ground equipment 0 3 3

Other 0 4 4

No opinion 2 1 3

No answer 5 0 5

aLake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.
bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.
CSafer; trained, dependable personnel.








63



Table 26. Disadvantages of aerial application reported by farmers.

Number of farmers reporting
Central West
Advantage Floridaa Floridab Total

Overspraying or
insufficient coverage 3 16 19

None 4 9 13

Expense 2 8 10

Impractical for congested
areas and small groves 7 0 7

Less effective for some
pests or pesticides 5 1 6

Doesn't penetrate foliage 3 2 5

Wind more restrictive 3 2 5

Danger from drift 0 5 5

Dependent on trustworthiness
or availability of pilot 0 5 5

Lack of control 3 0 3

No opinion 3 1 4

No answer 9 0 9

Others 1 1 2

aLake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.
bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.
CLeaves own equipment idle; government regulation.








64



cals, and poor coverage. Other problems with coverage were reported:

overspraying, skips, failure to penetrate the tree canopy, and low

volume of material per acre due to weight limitations of the planes.

Various citrus growers found aerial treatment ineffective for fungus,

insects, application of summer oil or for fresh fruit. Some respon-

dents said that full coverage required the use of ground rigs to touch

up corners and ends, and some found aerial application unsuitable

because of size or location of field.

The cost of aerial application was seen as a benefit by some

farmers and a drawback by others. It was mentioned favorably more

often in Central Florida, where one citrus grower reported that he had

gotten excellent results at one-third the cost of ground treatment.

Another noted that dusting with sulphur was cheaper by air. In West

Florida, however, the cost was more frequently stated as a negative

factor.

For some users the advantage of an aerial service was the train-

ing, promptness or reliability of the personnel. However, some had

trouble getting a pilot when needed. Relying on the pilot to use the

right chemicals and mixtures and to cover the crop without overspray-

ing was a problem for others. One reported that a careless operator

had sprayed the garden and livestock near his house, and had killed

his neighbor's bull with spray. Farmers' experiences with individual

pilots influenced opinions of this method of pest control. One said

there were no disadvantages with a good pilot. One farmer, who said

there were no advantages, was very upset with a particular operator he

had hired.








68



their out of pocket costs (maintenance plus fuel) in choosing whether

to use their ground equipment or hire a custom service.



Costs Conditioned on Level of Operations

There was considerable variation in the average total cost per

acre and per hour. An attempt to explain a part of this variation

with a quadratic function of the level of operation is presented in

equations (7) and (8).


(7) ATCH = 57.904 0.0417 H + .00000721 H2
(6.891) (0.0217) (.00000470)

-2
R2 = .105 F = 2.42 n = 35


where ATCH is average total cost per hour and H is hours of ground

treatment.


(8) ATCA = 14.4366 0.00500 A + 0.0000004378 A2
(2.4066) (0.00326) (0.00000032)


-2 = .047 F = 1.30 n = 35


where ATCA is average total cost per acre and A is the number of acres

treated.

Least squares estimates of a double logarithmic specification of

these two functions are presented in equations (9) and (10).


(9) In ATCH = 4.4206 0.17498 In H
(0.2141) (0.04756)

R-2 = .269 F =13.54 n = 35
R =-.269 F= 13.54 n =-35








69



(10) In ATCA = 2.8798 0.12520 In A
(0.4375) (0.07467)

-2
R2 = .051 F = 2.81 n = 35


Figures 7 and 8 provide plots of the data and predicted values given

by equations (9) and (10), respectively. Figure 7 shows that the

average total cost per hour declines rather rapidly up to about 750

hours of treatment. Figure 8 shows that the cost per acre declines up

to about 2500 acres.

Equations (11)-(15) provides estimates of the relationship

between cost per acre and acres treated for citrus, corn, soybeans,

peanuts, and pasture. Plots of the data and predicted costs using the

respective equations are presented in Figures 9-13.


(11) Citrus: In ATCA1 = 3.4678 0.16682 In A1
(0.24663) (0.04348)

-2
R2 = .374 F = 14.72 n = 24



(12) Corn: In ATCA = 3.4498 0.28370 In A
(0.71284) (0.20545)

-2
R2 = .131 F 1.91 n = 7



(13) Soybeans: In ATCA3 = 3.2504 0.25351 In A
(0.61978) (0.11915)


2 = .213 F = 4.53 n 14
R = .213 F = 4.53 n 14










220


200


180


160


a 140
,-4
0
"" 120


100. -
& o

g 80.



5
60


40 .

20
20 0*0 0 -- ---0----------------------
0

: .. : .I. -, --- - | I -- -- --- ----
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000

Hours of treatment

Figure 7.--Plot of average total cost per hour for treatment with ground methods on hours of treatment and a
graph of Equation 9 through the data.











50





40
al









3 20





10.
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000








Acres treated

Figure 8.--Plot of average total cost per acre treated by ground methods on acres treated and a graph of
Equation 10 through the dta.






Equation 10 through the data.













26





22





18





u 14
'-4



a 10
a


6- 0
21. .



6-

*





0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000





Figure 9.--Plot of average total cost per acre of citrus treated by ground methods on acres of citrus treated
and a graph of Equation 11 through the data.










40



35



30



S25
0













*






0
5 15



1o









3 11 19 27 35 43 51 59 67 75 83
Acres treated

Figure 10.-Plot of average total coat per acre of corn treated by ground methods on acres of corn
treated and a graph of Equation 12 through the data.












20
*
18


16


14


S12

0
10






Q6
00




4
I8. s I





2


0

0 120 240 360 480 600 720 840
Acres treated



Figure 11.--Plot of average total cost per acre of soybeans treated by ground methods on acres of soybeans
treated and a graph of Equation 13 through the data.










16



14


S*
12



10



8




S6
0


4 -








0 A

0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280



Figure 12.--Plot of average total cost per acre of peanuts treated by ground methods on areas of peanuts
treated and a graph of Equation 14 through the data.











60



50



: 40


-4
30



20



10




0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280 320 360
0 40 8 Acres treated


e t average total ot per acre of pasture treated by ground methods on acres of pasture treated
Figure 13.--P a aht of ve quatio 15 through the data,
and a graph of Equation 1 hog h aa








65



The survey suggested that farmers have the ability to discrimi-

nate between "good" and "bad" aerial services and, as in most busi-

nesses, inferior services drive away customers.



Farmers' Costs for Using Ground Equipment for Pest Control



The average total cost per acre and per hour of operation exclud-

ing the cost of spray material were $8.63 and $28.81, respectively.
(3.83) (13.77)
Components of weighted average cost per acre are given in Table 27.

The methods of computing costs are reported in Appendix 1.



Costs by Crop Treated

Table 28 provides a breakdown of average total cost per acre for

spraying five major crops. A word of caution is in order. The parti-

tioning of fixed costs to a particular crop enterprise is a rather

arbitrary accounting procedure. Here, fixed costs were partitioned in

proportion to the time the equipment was used to spray the respective

crop.

The cost of treating by ground methods has a sizeable component

of fixed cost. Average fixed costs ranged from 39 to 60 percent of

average total costs. After an investment is made in equipment, farm-

ers will want to use their own equipment as long as they can cover a

part of their fixed costs. Therefore, farmers who have the capability

of doing their own spraying will compare their average variable costs

with the cost of custom services. Farmers who have no alternative use

for their labor at the time treatment is needed may consider only





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