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pesticide free production of field crops may go mainstream
Published in Agron. J. 95:1262-1273 (2003).
Pesticide Free Production of Field Crops
Results of an On-Farm Pilot Project
Orla M. Nazarko, Rene C. Van Acker*, Martin H. Entz, Allison Schoofs and
Dep. of Plant Sci., Univ. of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2
* Corresponding author (email@example.com).
Received for publication November 18, 2002.
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.
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