Reducing pesticide use while preserving crop productivity and profitability ($)

To safeguard human health and the environment, the French government has called for a nation-wide reduction in the use of pesticides (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides). Towards this end, they have been collecting pesticide usage and yield data from French farmers. Lechenet et al. explored these data to identify potential impacts of decreasing pesticide use. Their study indicates that many farms ought to be able to decrease their pesticide use with no negative impact on productivity and profitability, although this is less feasible for farms in certain regions growing certain crops. Although this study indicates the potential for lowering pesticide use, the authors point out that “the adoption of low-pesticide management strategies might be challenging for farmers… and increase the complexity of farming management”. Nature Plants 10.1038/nplants.2017.8