Too many pesticides in UK farming?

We at Go Local Food are not registered organic due to the cost of the registration. Which does not mean that we would not be able to meet the requirements if we chose to go down that route.

Farming viewWe are certainly not in the same class as the farmer who wrote this article stating that in his view and that of other farmers – yes there is an overuse of pesticides in farming in the UK. It’s worth the time to read through the whole item to see how many organic principles are considered as useful and possible within the average UK farm. As the article says

“A host of living things make often-unseen contributions to the productivity of our farms.

Earthworms are crucial to healthy soils and good soil structure – their burrows increase water penetration. Soil bacteria and microscopic fungal mycorrhizae help capture nitrogen and enable mineral uptake which boosts crop growth. And there’s growing evidence that beneficial microbes could help in preventing plant disease.

Few of nature’s contributors are given the recognition they deserve, though some make the headlines:

  • Insects contribute £650m per year in pollination services.
  • The humble dung beetle is worth £365m by returning nutrients to the soil, and reducing water pollution.

By working with nature she’ll often do the job for us. And this applies to pest control too. Natural predators are the obvious example.

  • We all love ladybirds which arrive in droves to feast on the aphids attacking our crops. And the lowly carabid beetle that will come along and munch our slugs. Encouraging these beasties by creating in-crop habitat is a tried and tested method of harnessing nature to improve productivity.
  • What we plant and when we plant it is important too.
  • More diversity in our crop rotations helps prevent pest and disease build-up. Sowing dates are often crucial to reduce weed competition and pest damage.
  • Companion planting can confuse or deter pests. Growing clover under your wheat crop not only suppresses weeds, but boosts your yield by adding nitrogen to the soil.”

But it’s a case of working out what works best and how best to incorporate it into the normal growing on your average farm in the UK. It’s a thoughtful article that is worth the read through.