How does Monsanto Hawaii control pests?

Each week, we will answer a question from our readers regarding our operations and community outreach in the State of Hawaii. Submit your question by visiting the contact page. Thanks for reading. Mahalo!

Q: How does Monsanto Hawaii control pests?

As farmers, we grow traditional and bioengineered seeds and plants. All farmers, regardless of the size of their farms, must protect their crops from devastating pests including weeds, diseases and insects. Here at Monsanto Hawaii, we use different types of pest control measures, depending on the type and severity of the problem, in an effort to protect the health of our plants in the most sustainable way possible.

Monsanto Hawaii uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices – a system of robust evaluations, careful decision-making and methodical controls – to determine the best way to limit pest damage safely and economically.

An IPM system starts with proper pest identification, and considers a pest’s biology and other environmental factors. Determinations are then made on how much pest and pest damage can be tolerated, and what control measures can be used. An IPM system considers multiple approaches to protect a crop. Agricultural practices create an unfavorable environment for the pest. Physical controls, such as barriers or traps, can eliminate the pest directly. Biological controls can leverage a pest’s natural enemies. Chemical control uses modern pesticides in a deliberate and targeted manner. All of these approaches are used for long-term, effective control of pests.

The technology Monsanto Hawaii uses to apply pesticides is much more advanced than the average homeowner is likely to use. Monsanto Hawaii utilizes a variety of progressive equipment that can apply products safely and without harm to the operator, the environment or other organisms, while at the same time successfully controlling the target pest. Examples include spray nozzles that minimize drift, and sprayers with advanced injection systems that apply products at micro levels. All equipment operators at Monsanto Hawaii receive advanced training on how to use the equipment properly and adhere to the pesticides’ label requirements.

Monsanto Hawaii diligently complies with federal and state laws that govern responsible pesticide use. Our pesticide use is not dictated by whether the crop is biotech or non-biotech. In fact, many of the biotech crops by design require less pesticide use.

Our nursery plots are small and managed by a dedicated staff of Monsanto Hawaii employees. Each crop is provided great attention and care. By providing a high level of crop-supervision, this enables us to successfully grow crops while using minimum levels of inputs (water, fertilizer, pesticides).

In Hawaii, our pesticide applications are made with computer-controlled spray equipment and all of our operators and supervisors are Hawaii State Certified Private Pesticides Applicators. All of our employees who work with pesticides receive training every year regarding proper pesticide applications. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture, which regulates the manufacture, sale and use of pesticides in Hawaii, is able to review our pesticide application records and inventories at any time.

We monitor the weather and wind regularly, and use modern application tools that control the size of the pesticide droplet, and apply it very close to the plant we’re trying to protect. Utilizing these procedures ensures that we minimize spray drift, makes sure that the pesticide product reaches the targeted crops, and provides for the safety of people and the environment. It is also our policy to apply pesticides only when necessary to protect the crop through the implementation of the IPM practices, as previously indicated.

At Monsanto Hawaii, the safety of our employees, the communities where we operate, our customers, consumers and the environment are our highest priority. Hawaii is blessed with great natural beauty and we plan to keep it that way.