A team of researchers with members affiliated with several institutions in France has found that lowering the amount of pesticides applied to crops does not have to mean lessening expected yields. In their paper published in the journal Nature Plants, the team describes their study of hundreds of French farms where pesticide use was varied to find out how much was actually needed.
[R]esearchers sought to learn whether the large amounts of pesticides used on farms are actually necessary to sustain yields. To find out, they accessed a database that held information on 946 non-organic arable commercial farms across France.
In studying reports generated by their analysis of the farms, the researchers found that 77 percent of the farms under study showed no conflict between using smaller amounts of pesticide and yield rates. They also found that the other 23 percent of the farms were generally associated with industrial farming, which is particularly dependent on high concentrations of pesticides to sustain yields. The researchers contend that their analysis also showed that approximately 59 percent of all farms in France could reduce their use of pesticides by approximately 42 percent without harming yields.
[Read the full study here.]
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