Why does Monsanto use so many different kinds of pesticides on your farms?

In some respects, pesticides are like medicines for different ailments. One remedy may be used for a headache, another for high blood pressure, and yet a different one for coughing. And, just as people choose their medications depending upon the ailment, we pick our pesticides to provide the right protection for our crops.

There are literally thousands of species of weeds, insects, fungus and plant diseases that can threaten crops, and many modern crop protection products – pesticides – are designed to be used only on specific types of plants to treat specific types of pests. At Monsanto, we use a wide variety of methods to protect our crops, including sticky traps to catch flying insects and cover crops that help suppress weeds. We also use pesticides as a precision tool, often as a last resort.

When we do decide to apply pesticides, we prefer to use products with a specific focus – those that affect only the target pests we’re trying to control, without impacting other insects or non-pests. Our employees are trained, tested and certified to apply those pesticides in compliance with federal and state requirements, and we use some of the most advanced precision application equipment available to ensure we are using only what we need, when we need it, where we need it. Being able to use pesticides so precisely is one reason we are also able to effectively employ the other methods of pest control mentioned above.

Agricultural pesticides are similar to medicines in one other way: just as some drugs come in either over-the-counter or prescription doses, many of the pesticides used by farmers are commonly found in household products like ant sprays and weed killers for your lawn and garden. The concentrations for some pesticides, however, may be different from household products and that is one reason licensed pesticide applicators are trained and certified to handle them responsibly.