Why Farmers Use Pesticides

A corn earworm (pictured above and taken on our Kunia farm) is one of 10,000 reasons we work to keep crops healthy.

As the below infographic shows, there are literally tens of thousands of reasons why farmers use pesticides.

  • While some insects are great to have on a farm (“good bugs”), those that feed on plants can cause tremendous damage to a farmer’s crop (“bad bugs”).
  • Excessive weeds can choke out a farmer’s crops (or the vegetables in your home garden) because they compete for water, sunlight and vital nutrients.
  • Nematodes are tiny worms that damage plants in various ways. Some live in the soil and attack plant roots. Others may live inside a host plant, causing tissue damage or abnormal plant growth.

Farmers who utilize all crop types (organic, conventional and biotech) apply pesticides to reduce crop damage. They also use many other tools to combat pests in their fields.

Common pest management tools include physical barriers such as fences to keep large animals out of the fields. Others are biological controls: using beneficial insects like ladybugs and minute pirate bugs to feed on unwanted insects that damage crops. Crop protection products (pesticides) are also part of a farmer’s toolkit, but they can be expensive to purchase and are often used only when needed.

Monsanto uses a wide variety of methods to control pests and manage our farms in Hawaii responsibly and sustainably. We invite you to read more here.