Throughout the summer, you’ve likely seen machinery, like tractors or even airplanes, traveling across the fields spraying crops with pesticides. For many, pesticides seem daunting or even dangerous, but for farmers they are a tool used to protect their crops from harmful diseases, insects and weeds.
Without pesticides, food crops could fail, or yields could be severely reduced; either of which would send food prices soaring. These are powerful tools and farmers treat them as such. In fact, every farmer must go through training and certification before they can apply pesticides, and all pesticide products are extensively tested to ensure the safety of food, people, wildlife and the environment before they can enter the market.
Many farmers spray crops during the summer season. Crops have sprouted out of the ground at the same time as outside pressures have ramped up. Weeds are growing at the same time, wanting the same nutrients as the crops. Insects are looking to feed on crops. Diseases begin to spread through the water and soil. Farmers are out in the fields maintaining the health of their crops.
The three main types of pesticides are herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, which protect against weeds, diseases and insects. Very similar to the products you might use in your own garden, pesticides make for a healthy plant, which makes for healthy food.
Morgan, a first-generation farmer from southeastern South Dakota, shares on her blog what spraying season is all about. Read more about how Morgan’s family uses pesticides to keep their crops healthy all season long here.
Photo credit: United Soybean Board.