Reducing pesticide use while preserving crop productivity and profitability on arable farms

This study reviewed pesticide use across a wide range of farms in France to determine how it relates to the productivity and profitability of the farms. They found that low pesticide use rarely decreases productivity or profitability. For 77% of farms, high profitability and productivity were achieved with low pesticide use. The authors estimated that pesticides use could be reduced by 42% without negatively affecting productivity or profitability on 59% of the farms surveyed. Potential reductions were greater on farms that currently have high pesticide use. Among the types of pesticides examined, reductions in herbicide use had a higher risk of productivity loss, partially due to the difficulty of implementing non-chemical weed control. The authors demonstrated the possibility of reducing pesticide use significantly but recognized the challenges in shifting practices to achieve reductions.

Lechenet M., F. Dessaint, G. Py, D. Makowski, and N. Munier-Jolain
Nature Plants
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