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51. Select The Least-toxic Pesticide


A 1988 Iowa State University poll showed that four of the nine top agricultural issues that concern farmers deal with the hazards of using farm chemicals. So the question is not whether producers are concerned about pesticides. The question is how to work these concerns into the pesticide selection process.

Researchers are trying to come up with systematic ways to add environment to the equation and help producers select the least-toxic products. One of the most complete sets of ideas comes from Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska, where researchers have developed environmental economic injury levels.

eight environmental categories To create economic injury levels that consider the environment, researchers surveyed 8,000 field crop producers in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio, asking them to rank how concerned they were about each of eight environmental categories. They also asked producers how much they would be willing to spend or accept in yield losses to avoid different levels of risk from an insecticide application.
farmers talking Next, the Nebraska and Iowa researchers identified how much risk various insecticides pose in the eight environmental categories. Using all of this information, they calculated the environmental cost of using each insecticide and incorporated it into the economic threshold. By adding environmental costs into the economic threshold equation, you accept more crop loss before you begin chemical control of pests.

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