Get the Facts on Pesticides in Canada
Integrated Pest Management
Many farmers participate in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs to monitor and control pests. The presence of pests is monitored through a provincial or regional program, a local pest management specialist, private scout, or the farmer him or herself. Using traps, observing the condition of the crop, and gathering information from weather recorders, the experts can determine what the issue is and where it is occurring. This results in choosing the correct method of pest management, and the ability to target specific locations for treatment. With chemical applications in the field, this can reduce the amount of pesticide application that is used overall because a farmer can spray only where it is needed.96 The idea behind IPM is to “integrate” or combine multiple strategies to reduce pest pressure.
Why do pests have to be controlled?
One of the keys to maximizing crop production is minimizing the impact of pests. Pests may include insects, animals (e.g. rodents), fungus, weeds or disease. Some of these pests can affect the growth of the crop in the field, and others may cause damage after harvest (i.e. during storage). Farmers will make individual decisions on which products or methods are best for their farms and specific pest situations. Often the pest pressures vary from season to season and farmers must be able to adapt to these changes.
Pesticides: Research and Regulation
Pesticides are highly regulated in Canada. It takes significant time, money and research to bring a pesticide to market. Most pesticides undergo 10 years of research and development and cost approximately $250 million before they are ready for sale.98 Chemicals permitted for use in organic agriculture are also regulated, and are included in an organic Permitted Substances List.99