Pesticides are chemicals used to eliminate or control a variety of agricultural pests that can damage crops and livestock and reduce farm productivity. The most commonly applied pesticides are:
- Insecticides (to kill insects),
- Herbicides (to kill weeds),
- Rodenticides (to kill rodents),
- And fungicides (to control fungi, mold, and mildew).
Pesticides are not a modern invention, even Sumerians were aware of using pesticides in farming and they used elemental sulfur to protect their crops from insects. Today, the main issue for various environmental agencies is preventing of uncontrolled use of pesticides, because excessive amounts are harmful for the plant and for the environment (water, soil, air). The aim is to make people aware of the need for rational pesticides usage, but not to forbid them. Whichever method of production used (conventional, integrated, organic), pesticides should be used, but the origin of pesticides is different (chemical, vegetable, animal). According to some studies, if pesticides would be omitted in the production of corn, wheat and soybeans, the yield would be reduced to 73%. There is a widely held thought that conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are loaded with pesticide and herbicide (chemical) residue. The fact is this: we are exposed to chemicals all the time from the air and water, and in cars, houses and workplaces – and even in things like cosmetics. The amount of exposure from food residues is far less than all of these. As for pesticide use, organic food is not guaranteed to be free of pesticides. Organic food production allows the use of several EPA registered pesticides, mostly being of natural origin. Although studies claim you are much less likely to find pesticide residue in organic foods, some surveys found nearly 30% of the organic samples tested had some detectable level of pesticides. The image below shows how much food would you need to eat to reach the level of toxicity.
By using farm management software like Agrivi, farmers can monitor pesticides entered into the soil, get a list of permitted substances, the maximum recommended amount that should be applied and the recommended period and number of applications. Consumption of pesticides can be traced by culture, year and field with dashboards and reports, to ensure compliance with good farm management practices. Take control over your farm, sign up now for free!