How to Reduce Pesticide Use
Pesticides are chemicals used to eliminate or control a variety of agricultural pests that can damage crops and livestock, reducing farm productivity. The most commonly used pesticides are insecticides (to kill insects) and herbicides (to kill weeds).
In addition to potential risks to human health and the environment, pesticide use in Canada accounts for over 5% of Canadian farm operating expenses; a total of more than $2 billion/year. With such a high price associated with use of pesticides – financially, environmentally and socially – technical solutions that reduce pesticide use while maintain agriculture and agri-food production levels should be good news for everyone.
Technical agronomists at the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (JTI) have designed a sprayer for combined mechanical and chemical control of weeds in, for example, grain and oilseed rape cultivation. The idea is that by combining these control methods requirements for chemical herbicides should be reduced, resulting in lower environmental risk and lower costs to farmers.
The technology in question consists of a carrier for sowing and harrowing, on which spray equipment has been directly mounted onto the carrying frame. The spray nozzles – sourced from industry as those commonly used in agricultural have holes too large for the liquid flow – ensure a good angle so that spray can be applied in rows as close to the plants as possible; within 2 – 3 cm when combined with currently available technology.
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