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Elephant Pest in the Room
Maybe We’ve Been Using Pesticides Incorrectly… Wait — Before you reach for your torch and pitchfork, hear us out! The first thing we want to address is that we said reconsider, not to be confused with eliminate completely. We fully recognize that pesticides have become a necessary tool for most commercial-scale farmers and frankly, we’re grateful for the benefits pesticides provide like reducing food scarcity and mitigating the spread of pathogens. Sure, pesticides — in some circles — don’t have the best reputation, but it is important to acknowledge that many negative connotations surrounding modern pesticides are a byproduct of how they are being used, not necessarily how the work.
To elaborate on this, we simply mean that it is easy for farmers to fall into the trap of irresponsible or uninformed application of their pesticides. This piece is in no way intended to be an anti-pesticide propaganda article. Instead, our intent is to shed some light on how you, a commercial farmer, can make the most out of your pesticides, which is a win-win for everyone involved. So, if not eliminating them, what exactly do we mean by reconsidering pesticide use?
The Reputation Behind Pesticides
Most of us think of pesticides as a necessary evil when it comes to commercial agriculture. With millions of crops receiving pesticide applications annually, it is easy to understand how coverage on this scale can result in some collateral damage. This collateral damage can be a result of many factors, including overspray and/or over-application, which can ultimately leach into soil and water systems. Additionally, pesticides coming into contact with unintended — often beneficial — insects is yet another frequent — and valid — argument against the improper use of pesticides. Be sure to check out our pesticide deep-dive which explores the reasons we want to avoid simply developing new pesticides to battle pest resistance, as well as the other implications of improper pesticide application.
So, What’s the Solution to Our Pesticide Problems?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly when and where to apply pesticides based on real-time pest pressure? Sure, farmers have been practicing methods of pest monitoring for thousands of years, but manual methods like sticky traps are labor and time-intensive tasks that are ripe for human error, a burden to scale up, and don’t deliver real-time data.
Here’s where modern technology has reinvented the wheel. Ag-tech startup, FarmSense has developed an award-winning device that allows farmers to monitor pest pressure of their crops in real-time. FarmSense’s pest monitoring devices (FlightSensor™) are strategically placed throughout a farmer’s fields. The sensor is capable of accurately detecting, counting, and identifying insects that pass through the device. Once this data is collected, it is shared on a personal online dashboard that the farmer has access to — in real-time.
If maintaining the long-term sustainability of your hard work is even a fleeting thought, we highly recommend checking out our multi-part series on regenerative agriculture. To discuss how FarmSense’s FlightSensor™ can impact your operation and to arrange a demo, follow this link.