Pesticide Free Production of Field Crops
- Orla M. Nazarko,
- Rene C. Van Acker *,
- Martin H. Entz,
- Allison Schoofs and
- Gary Martens
Existing strategies for pesticide use reduction in the northern Great Plains have suffered from limited adoption. A novel approach, Pesticide Free Production (PFP), was recently developed in Manitoba, Canada. A participatory, on-farm study was conducted to assess the potential of PFP to be implemented on typical farms and the level of success farmers experienced with PFP. Pesticide Free Production prohibits the use of in-crop pesticide and seed treatments during one crop year as well as prior use of residual pesticides. Synthetic fertilizer use is permitted, as are pre-emergent applications of nonresidual pesticides. A total of 71 farmers, representing 120 fields and 11 crops, participated in the study. Fields and farmers were grouped based on whether or not fields (i) achieved PFP certification and (ii) were in transition to organic production. Certification was achieved for 83% of the participating area. Spring cereals were the most likely crops to achieve PFP certification. Yields in all groups were slightly lower than conventional averages in Manitoba but were not significantly different among groups. Weed densities were higher (P = 0.065) in noncertifiable fields than in certifiable fields. Most farmers reported manageable weed densities in the year following PFP. Soil conservation practices were used on a high proportion of PFP fields. Management practices associated with PFP included the use of delayed seeding, forages in rotation, and increased seeding rates. Agronomic and demographic characteristics of participating fields and farmers were typical for Manitoba. Pesticide Free Production demonstrates considerable potential to be successfully adopted by mainstream farmers.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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