Title: Reconciling pesticide reduction with economic and environmental sustainability

Abstract: Reducing pesticide use is one of the high-priority targets in the quest for a sustainable agriculture. Until now, most studies dealing with pesticide use reduction have compared a limited number of experimental prototypes. Here we assessed the sustainability of 48 arable cropping systems from two major agricultural regions of France, including conventional, integrated and organic systems, with a wide range of pesticide use intensities and management (crop rotation, soil tillage, cultivars, fertilization, etc.). We assessed cropping system sustainability using a set of economic, environmental and social indicators. We failed to detect any positive correlation between pesticide use intensity and both productivity (when organic farms were excluded) and profitability. In addition, there was no relationship between pesticide use and workload. We found that crop rotation diversity was higher in cropping systems with low pesticide use, which would support the important role of crop rotation diversity in integrated and organic strategies. In comparison to conventional systems, integrated strategies showed a decrease in the use of both pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers, they consumed less energy and were frequently more energy efficient. Integrated systems therefore appeared as the best compromise in sustainability trade-offs. Our results could be used to re-design current cropping systems, by promoting diversified crop rotations and the combination of a wide range of available techniques contributing to pest management. [Martin Lechenet, Vincent Bretagnolle, Christian Bockstaller, François Boissinot, Marie-Sophie Petit, Sandrine Petit & Nicolas M. Munier-Jolain (2014). Reconciling Pesticide Reduction with Economic and Environmental Sustainability in Arable Farming. PloS one, online 02 June] Comment

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Article: WeedsNews4911 (permalink)
Categories: :WeedsNews:research alert, :WeedsNews:herbicide reduction, :WeedsNews:economics, :WeedsNews:policy
Date: June 10, 2014; 1:06:22 PM EST
Author Name: David Low
Author ID: admin