• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 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 concluding...
 Appendix 1
 Appendix 2
 Appendix 3
 References






Title: Economic and environmental aspects of aerial operations in Florida agriculture
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082698/00001
 Material Information
Title: Economic and environmental aspects of aerial operations in Florida agriculture
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Langham, Max R.
McGrail, Linda
Publisher: Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: December, 1983
 Notes
General Note: Final report to the Environmental Protection Agency under grant number CR-808527-02-4
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082698
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 191852260

Table of Contents
    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
    Summary
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Part I: Aerial operators
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    Part II: Farmers (Central and West Florida)
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Part III: Energy use in aerial and ground methods
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    Part IV: Summary and concluding observations
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Appendix 1
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Appendix 2
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
    Appendix 3
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
    References
        Page 140
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ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF
AERIAL OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA AGRICULTURE






Max R. Langham and Linda McGrail













FINAL REPORT TO
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
UNDER GRANT NUMBER CR-808527-02-4













December 1983
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 Florida Agri-

cultural 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 infor-

mation about its contributions to agricultural production. Funds to conduct

the surveys to collect data were provided by FAAA. Federal funds from the

Environmental Protection 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 constitute 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 Protec-

tion Agency. Mr. Richard L. Lipsey, formerly Pesticide Coordinator for the

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, provided early leadership and

encouragement. Dr. V. G. Perry, Assistant Dean of Florida Agricultural Exper-

iment Stations, and Leo Polopolus, Chairman of the Food and Resource Economics

Department, provided administrative support and encouragement.

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

dinator, both with the Senior Community Service Employment Program, National

Retired Teachers Association and American Association of Retired Persons,









provided valuable support in recruiting field staff and in providing admin-

istrative 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 back-

ground on aerial operations.

Finally, we wish to thank Kathryn Ting for drafting a brief history of

aerial operations in Florida and Patricia Smart and Bobbie Hart for typing

this report.

The authors accept sole responsibility for any errors in the report.










*










TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...................................................... i

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

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

SUMMARY.............................................................. ix

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

Objectives........... ................................. 2
Data Used......... ............... ......... .... ...... ...... 3
Brief History of Aerial Application of Pesticides
in Florida Agriculture ......................................... 7

PART I. AERIAL OPERATORS.......................................... 10

Industry Equipment. ... ........................o................ 11

Aircraft . o .o............ ......................... ... ... ......

iigSu rt E ment.. ..............................................
Mixing Systems............................................... 16

Aerial Operationso....... ............ .... .... ...... ..... ....... 16

Airspeed.. .... ... ... ........................ .......... .... 19
Wind Speed..e................... ooo ...................... 22
Flaggerso........ .... .......... .... ...................... ... 25

Cost Analysis......................................... ....... ... 25

Costs Conditioned on Level of Operations...................... 28
Costs and Returns by Major Crops ............................. 33

Ground Personnel ........... ......ooo .......... ....... ....... 37
Industry Capacity ................................................ 40
Aircraft Accidents............................................... 40
Adverse Effects on Human Health and the Environment.............. 44

Humans .......... ............................................. 44
Animals...................................................... 45
Crops ......................... ............. ................. 45
Waste Disposal ............... ..... 0 .......... ...... ........... 46
Buffer Zones ................................................ 49

Problems Facing the Industry..................................... 51


iii









PART II. FARMERS (CENTRAL AND WEST FLORIDA)......................... 56

Use of Aerial Services by Sample Farmers......................... 56

Advantages and Disadvantages.............. .................... 58

Farmers' Costs for Using Ground Equipment for Pest
Control........ .. .............. ............................ 62

Costs by Crop Treated.................................... ... 62
Costs Conditioned on Level of Operations................... .62

Farmers' Opinions on Risks of Aerial vs. Ground Methods.......... 73
Personnel Handling Pesticides.................................... 76
The Environment .................................................. 76

Human Health ......................... ........................ 76
Mixing Systems ...................... .............. .......... 78
Waste Disposal .................................. ......... .... 78

Non-Crop Uses of Pesticides on Sample Farms...................... 78
Sources of Pest Control Information............................. 81

Guidelines for Control Programs.............................. 83

PART III. ENERGY USE IN AERIAL AND GROUND METHODS.................... 86

PART IV. SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS......................... 89

Food and the Environment ........................................ 96
Limitations of Study.................... ..... ........ ..... ..... 98

APPENDIX 1............................................................ 101

APPENDIX 2............................................................ 124

APPENDIX 3............ ........ ...... ....ooo ....... .......... ..... 135

REFERENCES ............................................................ 140










LIST OF TABLES

ble Page

1 Makes of aircraft, number in use, prices paid,
and years in use.............................................. 12

2 Range of hopper capacities and fuel use reported
by aerial operators .................................. ........ 13

3 Types of support vehicles, number in use by respondents,
prices paid and years in use.................................. 14

4 Spray nozzles and tips used by aerial operators............... 15

5 Acreages treated by aerial operators, percent treated
by fixed wing equipment, and average charges per acre
for helicopter and fixed wing services...................... 17

6 Airspeeds flown while dispersing chemicals by airplane........ 20

7 Airspeeds flown while dispersing chemicals by helicopter...... 21

8 Wind speeds compatible with spraying by airplane.............. 23.

9 Wind speeds compatible with spraying by helicopter............ 24

10 Protective gear and marking devices used by flaggers.......... 26

11 Components of weighted average cost per hour for
treatment by airplane....................................... ... 27

12 Components of weighted average cost per hour for
treatment by helicopter.......... ... ..................... ... 29

13 Costs and returns per acre for treatment of selected
crops by airplane....................... ...................... 36

14 Pesticide loaders in aerial operations........................ 38

15 One way frequency distributions for years of education
and years of experience of persons loading pesticides
for aerial operations........................... ....... ....... 39

16 Weighted average percentage by which acres sprayed by
airplane and helicopters could be increased, by month......... 41

17 Constraints on ability to expand aerial service to meet
increased demand.. .............................. ......... ..... 42

18 Aircraft accidents reported by aerial operators................ 43

19 Facilities for handling rinse water and frequency of use
by aerial operators ...... ............ .............. .......... 47










20 Methods for disposing of waste containers and frequency
of use by aerial operators................................... 48

21 Buffer zone distances between aerial operations and
specified sites which would result in 0, 10, and 20
percent loss of business.................................. .. 50

22 Major industry problems reported by aerial operators.......... 52

23 Farm use of aerial services................................... 57

24 Reasons reported by farmers for not using aerial
services in 1979 ........ ....................... .... .......... 59

25 Advantages of aerial application reported by farmers........... 59

26 Disadvantages of aerial application reported by farmers....... 60

27 Components of weighted average cost per acre for ground
treatment ........................................... .......... 63

28 Average fixed and variable costs per acre in treating
selected crops with ground equipment.......................... 64

29 Farmers' opinions on the comparative risks of pesticide
exposure from aerial and ground sparying for applicating
personnel ........................ ........... .... .... ........ 74

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............ 75

31 One way frequency distributions for years of education
and years of experience of farmers and farm workers
handling pesticides.................. ........................ 77

32 Methods of disposing of containers as reported by
farmers ......... ........... ..... . .. ....................... 79

33 Methods of disposing of waste water from cleaning
equipment as reported by farmers............... ........... 79

34 Types of livestock treated and major pests on sample
farms.................... ...... ................ ..... .... ... 80

35 Farmers' sources of pest control information.................. 82

36 Farmers' sources of guidance for timing of pest control....... 84

37 Farmers' sources of guidance for amount of pesticide
to use .............................. ............. ........ 84

38 Farmers' sources of guidance for choosing pesticides.......... 85









39 Estimated Btu's of energy required to treat selected
crops by ground and aerial methods........................... 88









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure Number Page

1 Locational distribution of aerial operators, number of
operators, and number of respondents by area, 1979.......... 4

2 Locations of the farming regions surveyed, number of
farmers, and number of respondents by county and by
region, 1979 ......................... ........... ............ 5

3 Plot of average total cost per hour for treatment by
airplanes on hours flown and a graph of Equation 3
through the data.............................................. 31

4 Plot of average total cost per acre treated by airplanes
on acres treated and a graph of Equation 4 through the
data........................ ............. ............. .... 32

5 Plot of average total cost per hour for treatment by
helicopters on hours flown and a graph of Equation 5
through the data.............................................. 34

6 Plot of average total cost per acre treated by heli-
copters on acres treated and a graph of Equation 6
through the data.............. ........ ...................... 35

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................................... 66

8 Plot of average total cost per acre treated by ground
methods on acres treated and a graph of Equation 10
through the data............................................ 67

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............................... 68

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................................. 69

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........................ 70

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........................ 71

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......................... 72


viii










SUMMARY


This study was an economic inquiry into selected aspects of aerial 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 operators 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 sample size. Sixty percent of the farmers in the sample of 133

responded.

Major investments in aerial operations are in equipment and human capi-

tal. 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 experienced aerial operator. Some operators

learned to fly in the military 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.

In 1979 fixed wing aircraft were predominate. Airplanes only were used

by 39 of the 49 aerial applicators; nine used helicopters only and one report-

ed both types of equipment. A typical set of support 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 acreage means that not

nearly all of Florida's crops are sprayed by air. Nevertheless, aerial opera-

tions 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 in-

volved 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 pur-

chased 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 equipment do not enter the cost calculus in

making a decision among alternative ways to do the job. In this latter com-

parison 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 profits. The considerable variation in the average net

returns observed did suggest that some some of the operators could have enjoy-

ed sizable profits while others suffered serious losses.


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 2.41 7.69 NA
from fees charged
Average net returns -.39 1.71 NA

NA = not applicable.


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 (ss table). Helicopters 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 avail-

able business. These and other reasons may help explain why helicopters can

command fees that yield positive profits.

The average total costs per acre and per hour of farmers' ground opera-

tion excluding the cost of spray materials were $8.63 and $28.81, respective-










ly. The weighted average total cost per acre for aerial applications is less

than the weighted average total cost for ground operations as shown in the

table.

The effectiveness of aerial and ground methods in controlling pest 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 variation 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 treat-

ment of citrus trees with speed sprayers and, 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 containers 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 poten-

tial problems associated with container disposal, and the description of

disposal 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 hand-

lers but the years of experience was lower (7.4 vs. 14.5). The intensity of

experience was greater for aerial handlers so the years of experience does not

provide an ideal proxy for 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 qualifications of

either group.

The study did not reveal that farmers perceived any distinguishing envir-

onmental 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 resi-

dents 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 operators in the state. This small

industry treated an estimated 4.8 million acres of crops--a little more than


xiii










the number of acres planted to 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 avail-

able. In other situations agricultural producers 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.


xiv









ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF
AERIAL OPERATIONS IN FLORIDA'S AGRICULTURE

Max R. Langham and Linda McGrail


INTRODUCTION


Since 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 benefits

(whether they be positive or negative) are associated with measurement

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, there are nearly always conflicts of interest

represented by alternative 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 produc-

tion, storage, processing, and distribution. Estimates suggest that insects

and disease reduce human food supplies by about one-third in food production





Max R. Langham is professor of Food and Resource Economics and Linda
McGrail was formerly research assistant in Food and Resource Economics,
University of Florida.









processes (Ennis, et al. 1975).1 This loss 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.

Economic problems of unemployment and inflation have been dominant public

interests during the past two years. Even so, 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 economically 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.


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 applica-

tion of pesticides with producer application costs,




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









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

4. provide descriptive information on alternative pest control methods

which may be useful in the future for assessing the economic effects

on aerial application of any regulatory actions which may be pro-

posed,

5. assess the capability of aerial applicators to increase capacity

under current and near term conditions,

6. provide information on observed externalities caused by application

of pesticides, and,

7. analyze 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 operators in

Florida in that year. Of these, 49 (62 percent) cooperated by providing data

on their operations. The general locations of the eight areas of activity in

the state and the number of aerial operators 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 factor 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





4











I 2









AREA NUMBER OF NUMBER OF L },
AERIAL OPERATORS RESPONDENTS
1 12 8
2 10 5
3 7 7
4 11 7 .
5 7 6
6 8 5

7 9 6

OUT OF STATE 3 0
TOTAL 79 49 (62Z)





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





































CENTF
LAK
ORA
SEM
SUM


WEST
ESC
SAN


NUMBER OF NUMBER F
AREA FARMERS NUMBER OF
IN SAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRES
IAL FLORIDA
E 28 12
NGE 30 20
INOLE 6 3
1TER .1 5

SUBTOTALS 75 40

FLORIDA
AMBIA 24 16
TA ROSA 34 24

SUBTOTALS 58 40


TOTALS


80 (60%)


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









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 Cen-

tral Florida area was more heavily 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 operations. Both ques-

tionnaires2 went through a series of revisions based on feedback from other

researchers and, for the aerial survey, from 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 questionnaires to be used.

In both surveys the quality of the data undoubtedly varied among respon-

dents. Except for a few who referred to personal records to provide more

accurate responses, the interviewees answered the survey questions from

memory.















2The questionnaire and introductory letters are presented in Appendix 1
for the aerial survey. The questionnaire for the farmer survey is given in
Appendix 2.









Brief History of Aerial Application of
Pesticides in Florida Agriculture3


The introduction of aerial application in the United States occurred

shortly after World War I. In 1921, lead arsenate was successfully applied to

control leaf-eating moths on catalpa trees near Troy, Ohio. The great major-

ity 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 commercial operations was formed in 1924 by the Huff Daland

Company. Based in Monroe, Louisiana, the Huff Daland Dusters benefitted from

the work of Dr. Bert R. Coad, U.S. Bureau of Entomology in Tallulah, Louisi-

ana, 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 operating 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 appli-

cation. The availability of surplus aircraft and of World War II pilots in

the postwar era helped to spur the growth of agricultural aviation nation-

wide. The Curtiss JN-6 ("Jenny") and DeHaviland DH-4 which predominated in




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









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 agricultural

pilots in the Zellwood area, a major vegetable producing region just north of

Orlando. Now owner of Potter's Flyers, Mr. Potter first came to Zellwood in

1946. Upon leaving the Air Force, he had intended to return to farming 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 purchased for under $400. At that time an

investment of more than $1000 in agricultural aircraft was considered unre-

coverable.

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

required aerial application of copper fungicides. Mr. Potter recalls 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 is treated aerially with the current substitutes 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. It had previously been applied by ground sprayer at the

manufacturer's recommended rate of 100 gallons per acre, a concentration so

high that it caused corrosive damage to the equipment.

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 contract 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 pesticide. 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 some-

times contaminated beyond tolerable 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 packaging, the change from open

container to closed loading systems and the transition from predominantly dry









to predominantly liquid materials have reduced worker exposure to pesti-

cides. The World War II vintage planes, which afforded low visibility for the

pilot, have mostly been supplanted by aircraft designed for agricultural uses.

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 other 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 crop-

land has 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 operators providing complete information on the cost of

equipment, the average investment (in 1979 dollars) was $178,000 in
(137,500)
aircraft and $37,600 in support equipment for a total investment of
(44,200)
$215,600. There was no explicit attempt in this study to measure the invest-
(165,600)
ment 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 the specialized skills needed to be an aerial opera-

tor. Others enter through civilian flight schools including a few specialized

schools designed to train agricultural pilots. Experience is the great




4Numbers in parentheses below the average represent standard deviations.









teacher and most people engaged in the business have experienced accidents 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 predominate. Airplanes alone were used

by 39 of the 49 aerial applicators; nine used only helicopters and one

reported both types of equipment. Table 1 lists the various makes of aircraft

reported, including a Cessna C-172 used for spotting. Grumman, Cessna, and

Piper were makers of the most popular agricultural planes; most of the heli-

copters 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 miscellaneous 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 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 load-

ing 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.








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.
bIncludes 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.









Table 2. Range of hopper capacities
aerial operators.


and fuel use reported by


Hopper
Make HP capacity Fuel use


Airplanes
Ag Cat 600
Ag Truck
Pawnee 235
Brave 285
Brave 375-400
Brave NR
Ag Wagon
Thrush Cmdr.
Air Tractor
DC-3 NR
Turbo Thrush
Weatherly
Stearman
Emair NR
Twin Beech
Aztec NR
Helicopters
Bell NR
Bell NR
Bell Soloy
Sikorsky
Hughes 500
Bell Mini
Hiller NR


--gal.--


200-300
300
150
270-300
270-300
275-280
240-300
NR
NR
NR
NR
NR
NR
NR
NR
NR


60-80
100
NR
NR
NR
NR
NR


-gal./hr.-


18-46
165-300
14-20
18 .
24-26
16-20
200
400
600
100
NR
NR
450
50
NR
25


12-15
20
140
250
NR
60
15


15-18







16-20
30-37
35-40


50 (diesel)
26
NR


45







22-25 (jet)
40-50
24 (jet)
12


NR = not reported;







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
Other 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.


Table 3. Types of support vehicles,









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









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

vintage system. The average costs for the systems installed in 1970 and 1979

were $3000 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 aquatic weeds and

mosquito control) ranked by magnitude of total acres treated. Also shown are

the percentage treated by fixed wing equipment and the average fees charged

per acre by plane and helicopter. Land in farms in Florida comprises approxi-

mately 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 estimated 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 means that not all of Florida's crops

are sprayed by air. Nevertheless, aerial operations in Florida provide signi-

ficant 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





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


2,958,701


Subtotal














Table 5 (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 sta e total for
for all crops. 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.









equipment, and other unique circumstances .can introduce noncompetitive

behavior in contracts for particular jobs. Rates for helicopter services

normally exceed those for fixed wing equipment. Higher rates for helicopters

are attributable in part to less competition, slower application speeds which

increase cost but also provide greater control of substances being applied,

and ability to treat areas where congestion or other restrictions on turn

around space preclude the use of airplanes.

Spray programs varied widely by crop. Some operators were closely

involved with the producer in establishing the sequence of pesticide, fungi-

cide, 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 control

substances (section 3 of the questionnaires in Appendices 1 and 2) 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









Table 6. Airspeeds flown while dispersing chemicals by airplane.a

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.
cMosquito control.









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

22

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

80

aModal r


response.









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 insec-

ticides and fungicides. The reason for this slower speed was to provide

greater control of drift.


Wind Speed

Asking questions 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 pre-

ferred 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 opera-

tors of fixed wing equipment. All seven helicopter respondents chose 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 lower when spraying herbicides than

when applying fungicides or insecticides.









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.









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.









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 that 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 negative 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 experienced pilots.


Cost Analysis


Costs were classified as fixed or variable. Fixed costs represent 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 depreciation on aircraft and support equipment,

interest, and insurance on buildings and equipment.5 Variable costs, on the

other hand, depend largely on the number of hours flown and the level of

business activity. They were gas, oil, maintenance, salaries, and liability,

worker'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 estimate are
(90.26)
presented in Table 11. On a per acre treated basis the average total cost was



5Insurance costs on aircraft are difficult to unambiguously classify.
Insurance costs based on hours flown would be a variable cost. When an oper-
ator self insures his aircraft as some do, the insurance risks assumed do vary
with hours flown.









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 Raido-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









Table 11. Components of weighted average cost
airplane.


per hour for treatment by


Item of cost Amount (1979 dollars)

Average fixed costs $54.78

Depreciation $25.79

Interest 13.50

Insurance 11.78

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 explainedin Appendix 3.
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.









$2.80 The estimated average total return per acre was $2.41 so that
(2.04) ( .98)
the estimated average net return per acre was $-.39 If 1979 was a rather
(2.25)
typical year under the conditions of relatively higher energy prices, as most

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

average 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 cost estimate
(147.58)
are presented in Table 12. Over a half million acres were treated at an

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

Costs Conditioned on Level of Operations

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

mate the relationship between 1) average total cost per hour for treatment by

airplane and the number of hours flown and 2) average total cost per acre

treated by airplane 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
R2 = .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)(1011 A2
-11
(1.1842) (.0000213) (6.03563)(10 )

R2 = .042 F = 1.64 n = 27









Table 12. Components of weighted
helicopter.


average cost per hour for treatment by


Item of cost Amount (1979 dollars)

Average fixed costs $84.13

Depreciation $42.10

Interest 20.78

Insurance 12.61

Other 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 3.


bProperty insurance.
CDues, miscellaneous equipment,
equipment.


rent for property, and taxes on property and


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.









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

number of acres treated

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 sys-

tems, management, and accuracy in reporting data)6 were operative across firms

to cause variation in the average total cost per hour.

With a quadratic specification of the mathematical form of the relation-

ship between average total cost and hours flown, the equation defines a

parabola which must turn up after attaining a minimum point. It is not clear

from the data whether cost turns up for large volumes of business. An alter-

native 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





Inaccuracies in reporting create an error in variables problem.
However, both hours flown and acres treated are believed to be reported
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 noise in the system and would reduce the accuracy of but not bias
the estimates.

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











540




480-




420-




360-




300-




240-




180-




120




60


* 0
0


0 400


1200


1600


2000 2400

Hours flown


2800 3200


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.


*






S


3600


4000


,


W f V


g


-


* *. .*


* .






































*


*


60,000


6


120,000


180,000


240,000


300,000


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.


14-




12-


m
10-

0


l4
o



U
Id
a)

- 6-
o
rcn
0


-








Equation (1) suggests that there are significant (at the 10 percent

level) cost reductions up to approximately 2200 hours flown and very little

beyond that. In terms of acres, the statistical results for both model speci-

fications 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.

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

flown is presented in equation (5). This equation was estimated using regres-

sion and a double logarithmic transformation. This specification permits one

to estimate a nonlinear function with the loss of only two degrees of free-

dom. 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)
-2
R = .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 average total cost

per hour as a function of hours flown declines throughout 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 allocates such cost on a pro rata basis the

average net return per acre treated by airplane for seven major crops or crop

categories ranges from $-3.11 to $.83 (Table 13).













































400


600
Hours flown


800


900


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


700-




600-


500-





400-


300-





200-




100.


200


300


_ I I I I








30





25





PC 20

O
1 --
0

0)


2 15 -


0)







5





0

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.









Costs and returns per acre
airplane.a


for treatment of selected crops by


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.


Table 13.









Profitable crops are citrus and soybeans. On the average, treatment of

the other crops did not cover all costs. However, the treatment 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 make economic sense and is consistent 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 which resulted
(2.21) (5.59)
in net returns above all costs of $3.09 per acre. Because of the very skimpy
(4.86)
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 parti-

tioning of fixed cost across crops is an arbitrary accounting process and one

that has little 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 per-

sonnel. A typical wage rate for such work was about $5.00 per hour in 1979.

Candidates for such jobs are normally unskilled laborer who learn on the

job. With experience 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 experi-

ence levels of persons loading pesticide material on aircraft are presented in

Table 15.






38


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









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

Total
Average
Average


0
0
1
0
0
0
1
2
2
0
4
5
57
1
5
1
7
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

87
level of education = 12.0 years
level of experience = 7.4 years
0





















level of experience = 7.4 years










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 total acreage sprayed. Because of the seasonal nature of

the business some operators 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 appli-

cators 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. Forth-

coming government regulations were the third constraint mentioned. According

to the view of two operators there can be no need for expansion, as the loss

of agricultural land to urbanization will prevent any increase in demand for

their services.


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 on 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.









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 203 43

September 201 41

October 193 30

November 204 37

December 214 40

percentages were weighted by acreage sprayed by each firm.






42



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 as-
sociated with
spraying

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

aFully covered by insurance.
bInsurance deductible.









Adverse Effects on Human Health and the Environment

Humans

Survey results indicated that three aerial application employees 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 cost

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.

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 application. 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 acci-

dent. 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 appli-

cator's expenses were $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. However 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 $2500

plus interest, and was covered by insurance. 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

$1500.

Also reported was a dispute over an unforeseen effect on the target

crop. Fertilizer provided by the farmer was aerially applied to water-

melons. 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 $2500 to date, with final settlement pending.


Waste Disposal

The high cost of agricultural chemicals provides a strong incentive 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 spray-

ing programs. Methods of handling rinse water are presented in Table 198.

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. Dumping 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 (one triple-rinsed) 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 cleaning
facility is preferable without knowing the soil and water characteristics at
the site. Methods that reuse rinse water by spraying residue over treatment
areas would minimize concentration of residues at any one location.









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

Facilities Number of firms using


Open pit or lagoon 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, burn, and let rust 3

Stack up I

Throw in pit 1

aThree reported burning before taking to landfill.









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 activi-

ties 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

business, a 10 percent loss, and a 20 percent loss. This was a very difficult
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 their method of operation or the

location of their activities made buffer zones unnecessary. Some said that

buffer distances would not be economically 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 distances 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 average of the positive responses was 112 and the standard error 66

compared 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







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


which would result in 0,


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.









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. Envi-

ronmentalists and the media were criticized for focusing on the dangers and

ignoring the applicators' professionalism 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

operator remarked that the fear of being sued had brought about more respon-

sible operation. There was also acknowledgement 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 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 communication at the personal

level by explaining to farmers and civic groups the problems aerial appli-

cators face. Besides wanting to educate the general public, several of the

applicators thought that they, and the farmers who hire them, need to know










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 7
pesticide users

Shortage of fuel 6

Price undercutting 6

Shortage of qualified personnel 4









more about the pesticides they use. Some operators wanted the chemical com-

panies to make available such information as the damage their products might

cause to metal or wood. Some wanted the University system to offer instruc-

tion 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 technological 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 problem, exces-

sive 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 scientifically unfounded. EPA in particu-

lar 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.

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 proposals.

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 air-

craft and pilot licensing. Another was for reciprocal licenses among states









in the Southeast, with similar tests required. Color coded, recyclable drums,

possibly plastic, were proposed in order to lessen the possibility of using an

improper pesticide 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 regula-

tions 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 pesti-

cides, gasoline, equipment and maintenance. They have also been affected by

insurance premiums and by the inability of operators to obtain adequate health

insurance. In place of uniformly high premiums to cover the losses of poorly

trained and careless operators, 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 coor-

dinate 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 gov-

erning research expenses be revised. An increase in government support for

research and development 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 pro-

posals 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 competi-

tion--price cutting by itinerant operators, new operators undercutting estab-

lished 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 personnel. Many

more had difficulties with the supply of fuel. Some had encountered a short-

age and wanted agricultural uses to be given priority 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 hazard-

ous for the flyers. A strong desire was expressed by aerial operators for the

protection of prime farm land from development.









Finally, the responding applicators made a few suggestions for the indus-

try itself. Some members believed that stronger state and national associa-

tions were needed. The FAAA was seen as unrepresentative of small operators,

who should become more involved in the organization. Communication within the

industry was cited as an important area in need of improvement. And a temper-

ing of individual profit-seeking with cooperation was urged in order to ensure

the industry's survival.


PART II. FARMERS (CENTRAL AND WEST FLORIDA)


The sample of farmers surveyed in the Central Florida region did not

produce on their farms 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 infestation. One citrus

grower felt that his timing was poor and his control 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










Table 23. Farm use of aerial services.


Central Florida aWest Floridab Total
Yes No Yes No Yes No

------------Number of Farms----------

Has 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 3 7 1 2 4 9
expect to in future

aLake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.
bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.

CAsked only of people answering "yes" to first question.









those reporting previous use did not use an aerial service in 1979, in con-

trast with 64 percent in the central counties. Several citrus growers viewed

aerial spraying as an emergency or temporary measure, to be used only when

fast coverage was crucial or when 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, soy-

beans, corn, and peanuts. These estimates (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 comments 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 hazard-

ous to non-target plants and animals, waste expensive chemicals, and results

in poor coverage. Other problems with coverage were reported: overspraying,

skips, failure to penetrate the tree canopy, and low volume of material per









Table 24. Reasons reported by farmers
1979.


for not using aerial services in


Reason Central West
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.






Table 25. Advantages of aerial application reported by farmers.


Advantage Number of farmers reporting
Central Floridaa West 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.










Table 26. Disadvantages of aerial application reported by farmers.


Disadvantage Number of farmers reporting
Disadvantage
Central Floridaa West 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.









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 respondents 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 training,

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 overspraying 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.

The survey suggested that farmers have the ability to discriminate

between "good" and "bad" aerial services and, as in most businesses, 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 excluding the

cost of spray materials were $8.63 and $28.81, respectively. Components of
(3.83) (13.77)
weighted average cost per acre are given in Table 27. The methods of com-

puting costs are reported in Appendix 3.


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 partitioning of fixed

costs to a particular crop enterprise is a rather arbitrary accounting proce-

dure. Here, fixed costs were partitioned in proportion to the time the equip-

ment 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, farmers 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 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).









Table 27. Components of weighted
treatment.


average cost per acre for ground


Item of costa Amount (1979 dollars)

Average fixed costs $3.45
Depreciation $2.25
Interest 1.04
Insurance 0.15
Other .01


Average variable costs 5.18
Fuel and lubricants 2.04
Labor 1.93
Maintenance 1.15
Other .06
Average Total Cost $8.63


aMethods of computing costs are explained in Appendix 3.






















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


Fixed costs Variable Costs Av e Average fixed costs
Crop as a percent of
Depreciation Interest Insurance Average Maintenance Fuel Wages Average total average total costs

--------------------------------- ----- -------1979 dollars-------------------------------------------------

Corn 4.04 1.89 0.21 6.14 2.68 0.68 1.34 4.70 10.84 57
Peanuts 2.40 0.76 0.11 3.27 1.29 0.61 1.09 2.99 6.26 52
Soybeans 2.01 0.76 0.09 2.86 1.39 0.72 1.33 3.44 6.30 45
Pasture 1.90 0.85 0.12 2.87 0.83 0.34 0.74 1.91 4.78 60
Citrus 2.32 1.04 0.16 3.52 1.12 2.35 2.07 5.54 9.06 39








(7) ATCH = 57.904 0.0417 H + .00000721 H2
(6.891) (0.0217) (.00000470)
-2
R = .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
R2 = .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)
-2
R2 = .269, F = 13.54, n = 35

(10) In ATCA = 2.8798 0.12520 In A
(0.4375) (0.07467)

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) provide 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 ATCAI = 3.4678 0.16682 In A1
(0.24663)(0.04348)
-2 374, F = 14.72 n = 24
R = .374, F = 14.72, n = 24





220



200


180
*


160



C 140
oi
0
120

o *
S100-
a)

0 80-
60 *


60

-*
40 *



20 -
*

0t

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.
*



0

30


$4
-






C 20
S* *


0



10
.. .


| *





0 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 data.














22

*


0 0
S18

0


14


o4


0
U 10





6- *

*I



2J

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.














































3 11 19
3 11 19


- a a a a a I a I


27


43 51
Acres treated


Figure 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.


40 -


35 -




30



CO
S25-




o 20
$4
a4.

w 15
o
u


10 -




5 -




0-


* *


59 67


75 83







20 -


*

18



16



14
I--S

S12
o
0

S10



8-


0




4-






00

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




12
*



C 10
r-






W 6


0


4




2 -




0-

0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280



Figure 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.








60 -


50





S40
0
o

U
v


C-
s4 30
30


o

20






10





0 -
I - I -- --I -- l I I I I I I I
0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280 .320 360 400

Acres treated



Figure 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.








(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 A3
(0.61978)(0.11915)
-2
R2 = .213, F = 4.53 n = 14

(14) Peanuts: In ATCA4 = 3.7530 0.42368 In A4
(1.0217) (0.22368)
-2
R2 = .223, F = 3.59, n = 10

(15) Pasture and hay: In ATCA = 4.1393 0.55421 In A
(1.8425) (0.44532)
-2
R2 = .099, F = 1.55, n = 6

where ATCAj represents the average total cost per acre for the jth crop, j =

1,...,5; Aj represents the acres of the crop treated; and In represents the

natural logarithm of the respective average total cost or acres treated.


Farmers' Opinions on Risks of Aerial vs. Ground Methods


Farmers were asked whether the risk of exposure to pesticides was greater

or less with aerial than with ground spraying, for applicating personnel and

for others in the vicinity. By large margins the respondents indicated that

aerial presented less risk to applicators (Table 29), and more risk to other

people in the area (Table 30). Pilots were thought to be safer from exposure

because they are above and out of the spray. Often no flaggers are used. For

people other than applicators, drift was the major reason aerial spraying was

considered riskier. Several farmers felt that the relative safety of the two

methods depended on the carefulness of the flyer in avoiding roads and habita-

tions.









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

Number
of
Responses farmers Explanation

Aerial less risky
16 Applicator away from spray
12 No reason given
5 Less exposure
2 No exposure
1 Ground personnel more adequately
protected with special clothes and air-
conditioned trucks

Subtotal 36
7 No reason given
3 No risk
11 No difference between more or less risky
6 No opinion

TOTAL 63









Table 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.

Number
of
Responses farmers Explantation

Aerial less risky
5 None given
3 People kept out of treatment area
1 Lower volume of spray
1 Speed of application

Subtotal 10
Aerial more risky
19 Drift
8 No reason given
7 More likely to spray bystanders
4 If pilot careless
2 Aggravates allergies
2 Covers wider area
1 Higher concentration pesticides

Subtotal 43
No risk 5
No difference 8
No opinion 3

TOTAL 69









Personnel Handling Pesticides


Farmers provided information on the education levels of 92 people han-

dling pesticides on their farms (Table 31). The average levels of education

and experience in years were 10.6 and 14.5, respectively. The modal number of

years in school was 12; for experience the mode was 10 years.


The Environment


The farmer questionnaire revealed little information about the uninten-

tional effects of treatments on the environment. None of the 80 farmers who

responded reported ever being involved in a lawsuit as a consequence of activ-

ities as an applicator.


Human Health

Only two growers related incidents in which their workers' health was

affected by pesticide exposure. In one case two men developed a rash from

exposure to Benlate. In the other, one man developed a rash on his arms from

exposure to chlorobenzilate. In each case there was no work loss, but there

was a switch to nonspraying activities. There were no reported financial

costs.

Seventy-three firms provided information on the number of their employees

exposed to pesticides in their own operations and/or in conjunction with the

use of a custom service. In total 163 employees were subject to exposure--157

in own operations and six with hired custom services. The three rash cases

described above represented minor effects on 1.8 percent of the people

exposed.














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

Number of handlers with specified years of:
Years Education Experience

0 5 1
1 0 6
2 0 4
3 0 4
5 9 6
6 2 1
7 0 4
8 10 0
9 3 4
10 7 14
11 0 0
12 31 1
13 3 0
14 4 1
15 2 3
16 8 2
17 2 1
18 1 1
19 0 0
20 1 5
21 0 0
22 0 1
S23 0 0
24 0 1
25 0 11
26 0 0
27 0 0
28 0 0
29 0 0
30 0 4
31 0 0
32 0 0
S33 0 1
34 0 0
35 0 1
36 0 0
37 0 1
38 0 0
39 0 0
40 0 2
41 0 0
42 0 0
43 0 0
44 0 0
45 0 1
46 0 0
47 0 1
Unknown 4 7
Totals 92 92
Average level of education 10.6
Average years of experience i 14.5

aForty-three farms provided the information in these distributions.









Mixing Systems

Closed mixing systems are designed to reduce human contact with pesti-

cides. Of 53 farmers responding who engaged in some pest control with their

own equipment, only six stated that they used such a system. In contrast, 20

of 45 farmers reporting the equipment of their custom operators said the

mixing system was closed, 15 reported an open system, and 10 did not know

which type was used.


Waste Disposal

After a field or grove has been treated there are empty containers, waste

water from cleaning the equipment, and perhaps some unused pesticide to be

disposed of. Farmers' responses indicate that nontoxic bags and boxes were

burned, and other containers were either buried on the grower's property,

taken to a public landfill, returned to the supplier, or sold to a reprocessor

(Table 32). Waste water was flushed onto the ground, often in the treatment

area or at its edge, or in a chosen spot on the premises such as a weed patch

or fence row (Table 33). A negligible quantity of unused pesticide was dis-

carded, according to our respondents. Except for one estimate of 2 percent,

the proportion of their chemicals purchased in 1979 which was disposed of was

estimated to be zero or less than 1 percent.


Non-Crop Uses of Pesticides on Sample Farms


Twenty-seven of the 80 farmers reported using pesticides on livestock.

Table 34 summarizes the types of livestock treated and the target pests or

disorder.

Most cattlemen used backrubbers and dust bags to control flies, lice, and

ticks. Hand operated sprayers also were used for flies and lice on cattle,

hogs, and goats. Internal parasites were treated with TBZ paste administered

via a caulking gun.









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


Method used Number reporting

Bury in landfill and/or on farm 28
Burn 15
Burn and bury 8
Sell drums to reprocessor 5





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


Method of disposal


Number of farmers reporting
use of method


Flush and spray in field 11
Drain onto ground (location not specific) 9
Flush at edge of field 6
Flush in weed patch and along fence rows 5
Flush on ground at farmstead 4
Sandy area away from water 2
On ground in remote place 2
Flush in driveway 1
Dump in swamp 1






80


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


Type of livestock

Cattle and calves


Number reporting

23


Hogs

Goats

Sheep

Horses

Chickens


Pest or disorder treated

flies, lice, ticks, fleas,
mange, grubs, intestinal
worms

lice, mange, worms, flies

flies

worms

flies

lice, mites









Use of pesticides on the household premises was reported by nine

farmers. The data collected were sketchy. Mostly applied with a hand

sprayer, the pesticides were used against termites, pests on ornamentals and

fruit trees, fire ants, mosquitoes, roaches and house flies. Roundup herbi-

cide was used to control weeds in fence rows around the premises on two farms.


Sources of Pest Control Information


The IFAS/USDA network which includes the Extension Service and the Exper-

iment Stations was by far the most important source of pest control informa-

tion in both parts of the state (Table 35). County Agents conducted classes

and meetings, furnished spray program bulletins, filled in crop charts for

individual farmers and, in the Panhandle, provided a scouting service.

Many farmers and growers rely on personal or family experience. One

person's knowledge came from his education at the University of Florida,

another's from growing trees for the state. Helpful publications from non-

government sources were farm magazines, Farm Bureau literature, and pamphlets

and newsletters received through the mail.

Friends and neighbors sought advice from each other and from larger, more

experienced producers, including "experts" from cooperatives. In West Florida

aerial operators played a key role in pest control decisions, replacing manu-

facturers' representatives and the local supply store. This difference

between the western and central counties reflected the Panhandle farmers'

heavier use of custom aerial services. Since information from pesticide

labels may be the original basis for many of the recommendations, labels are

undoubtedly a more important source than the survey results indicated.









Table 35. Farmers' sources of pest control information.


Source Number of farmers reporting
Central Floridaa West Floridab Total

IFAS/USDAC personnel programs
and publications 25 21 46

Personal experience or education 11 15 26

Dealers and company representatives 17 2 19

Aerial operators 1 12 13

Other producers 7 5 12

Non-government literature 3 8 11

Labels or brochures with pesticides 3 1 4

Otherd 2 2 4

aLake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.

bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.
CInstitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, and the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
dCaretakers, radio reports, ASCS field specialist.









Guidelines for Control Programs

Timing of pest control measures is most often based on personal inspec-

tion by farmers and growers of their fields and groves (Table 36). Farmers

check the amount of weed growth, examine the foliage, shake the plants and

count the insects or worms. Thresholds for treatment range from any evidence

of damage such as leaves or pods eaten, to specific numbers of insects per

plant, per square yard or per row foot. One farmer said that he sprays when

he sees any bugs at all, then sprays again with a different chemical if he

sees any a couple of days later. Another mentioned that a large flock of

egrets in the pasture alerted him to an army worm infestation. A farmer in

Central Florida normally sprays once a week during the growing season.

Seven respondents depended on scouts to decide when (Table 36) and how

much to spray (Table 37). Eight depended on scouts for what to spray (Table

38). Almost one-third of the farmers who hired aerial operators left to them

the selection of control agents and, in most cases, the amount to spray

(Tables 37 and 38). One farmer said he judged the quantity needed by the way

an infestation was spreading. Two specifically said they followed the direc-'

tion on labels.

Citrus growers producing for the fresh fruit market tended to follow a

general treatment routine based on time of year and stage.of growth in addi-

tion to checking tree condition, mite population and fungus build-up to deter-

mine the need for treatment. Weather, fruit size, and price of chemical were

named as factors in timing and the choice of chemicals. If the producer

intended to sell only to processors, some rust mite infestation was accept-

able. One such grower reported that he used biological control, applying no

pesticides except when leaf loss was heavy.









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


Source Number of farmers reporting
Central Floridaa West Floridab Total

Personal scouting, experience,
judgment 26 37 63

County agent or other IFAS
personnel 8 4 12

Scouting service 0 7 7

Other individuals (caretakers,
cooperatives' personnel, neighbors) 3 0 3

Aerial operators 1 1 2

Other 0 1 1

aLake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.
bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.


Table 37. Farmers' sources of guidance for amount of pesticide to use.


Source Number of farmers reporting
Source
Central Floridaa West Floridab Total

County agents, extension publica-
tions, and other IFAS sources 10 4 14

Aerial operators 1 10 11

Personal experience and judgment 7 3 10

Other individuals (cooperatives'
personnel, industry representa-
tives, experienced neighbors) 6 1 7

Paid professional scouts 0 7 7

Labels and brochures accompanying
chemicals 3 3 6

Historical routine 4 0 4

aLake, Orange, Seminole, and Sumter counties.
bEscambia and Santa Rosa counties.




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