Why use pesticides in agriculture


Farmers use pesticides to:

  • protect crops from insect pests, weeds and fungal diseases while they are growing
  • prevent rats, mice, flies and other insects from contaminating foods whilst they are being stored
  • safeguard human health, by stopping food crops being contaminated by fungi

Pesticides are used to control various pests and disease carriers, such as mosquitoes, ticks, rats and mice. Pesticides are used in agriculture to control weeds, insect infestation and diseases. There are many different types of pesticides; each is meant to be effective against specific pests.May 5, 2021


Why do we use pesticides in farming?

What pesticides are used in agriculture?

  • Insecticides – insects.
  • Herbicides – plants.
  • Rodenticides – rodents (rats & mice)
  • Bactericides – bacteria.
  • Fungicides – fungi.
  • Larvicides – larvae.

Do chemical fertilizers actually help in agriculture?

When it comes to the advantages of using fertilizers in agriculture, it’s all about efficiency. Chemical fertilizers allow growers to maximize their crop yield on a specific piece of land — the more the plant grows, the better. Fertilizer works to ensure that each piece of land produces as efficiently as possible.

What are the dangers of chemical pesticides in agriculture?


  1. World Health Organization. Public Health Impact of Pesticides Used in Agriculture. …
  2. Alewu B, Nosiri C. Pesticides and human health. …
  3. NSW EPA. …
  4. Hoffman RS, Capel PD, Larson SJ. …
  5. Canadian Cancer Society. …
  6. Johnston JJ. …
  7. Hayes TB, Case P, Chui S, Chung D, Haeffele C, Haston K, et al. …
  8. Sanborn M, Kerr KJ, Sanin LH, Cole DC, Bassil KL, Vakil C. …
  9. Pimentel D, Burgess M. …

How many pesticides does American agriculture use?

So Donley studied yearly pesticide use recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey. From that, he figured how much of the use was from chemicals banned elsewhere. In 2016, U.S. farms used 544 million kilograms (1.2 billion pounds) of pesticides.


Why do farmers use pesticides?

Farmers use pesticides to: protect crops from insect pests, weeds and fungal diseases while they are growing. prevent rats, mice, flies and other insects from contaminating foods whilst they are being stored. safeguard human health, by stopping food crops being contaminated by fungi.

Why is pesticide use important?

PPP use allows more food to be produced on a given area of land; it increases yields and improves farm revenues.

How do pesticides protect humans?

safeguard human health, by stopping food crops being contaminated by fungi. However, as pesticides are used to kill or control harmful organisms, unwanted pests, weeds, etc. they have the capacity to harm people, other non-target organisms (wildlife) and the environment.

What did the Romans use to protect their crops?

The Romans used ashes, crushed cypress leaves and diluted urines to protect their crops. Today, a wide range of synthetic products have been developed to give much safer, more targeted and effective control of pests and diseases.

Why are pesticides important in agriculture?

The Benefits of Pesticide Use in Agriculture. The point of pesticides is to protect plants from pests, weeds and diseases that have the power to destroy entire crops. Currently, up to 40% of the world’s potential crops are destroyed every year due to these threats.

How does pesticides benefit farmers?

At the same time, the use of pesticides has also benefited farmers, who can make better profits when they’re able to protect their crops without having to personally pull weeds or remove pests from fields on their own.

How do pesticides affect crops?

More specifically, pesticides can keep harmful pests –such as rats, mice, ticks and mosquitoes–away from crops while also protecting the plants from weeds and diseases that have the ability to greatly reduce crop yield. In fact, growth of major crops has tripled since 1960, mainly because of the use of pesticides.

What are some examples of pests that can be spread by insects?

For example, rats can carry the bubonic plague, while mosquitoes can spread malaria and fleas can spread typhus. Greatly reducing the number of these pests around crops can also reduce the number of human deaths caused by certain diseases.

How much of the world’s crops are destroyed every year?

Currently, up to 40% of the world’s potential crops are destroyed every year due to these threats. Without the use of pesticides, this percentage could quickly double. For this reason, all farmers in California and beyond use pesticides in some form, to protect their crops. Even organic farmers use pesticides, as they simply opt for natural …

What happens if you don’t read the label on pesticides?

If you fail to read the label and follow the directions, you could be in violation of the law in California. So, if the label requests that you put a tarp over the affected area after you apply the pesticide, and you neglect to do so, you’re breaking the law regarding pesticide use and could be fined or jailed.

Is pesticides necessary for crops?

Clearly, pesticides are necessary for crops!

What are the primary benefits of pesticides?

The primary benefits are the consequences of the pesticides’ effects – the direct gains expected from their use. For example the effect of killing caterpillars feeding on the crop brings the primary benefit of higher yields and better quality of cabbage. The three main effects result in 26 primary benefits ranging from protection of recreational turf to saved human lives. The secondary benefits are the less immediate or less obvious benefits that result from the primary benefits. They may be subtle, less intuitively obvious, or of longer term. It follows that for secondary benefits it is therefore more difficult to establish cause and effect, but nevertheless they can be powerful justifications for pesticide use. For example the higher cabbage yield might bring additional revenue that could be put towards children’s education or medical care, leading to a healthier, better educated population. There are various secondary benefits identified, ranging from fitter people to conserved biodiversity.

What is pesticide?

The term pesticide covers a wide range of compounds including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, plant growth regulators and others. Among these, organochlorine (OC) insecticides, used successfully in controlling a number of diseases, such as malaria and typhus, were banned or restricted after …

What is the pesticide use in India?

The pattern of pesticide usage in India is different from that for the world in general. As can be seen in Figure 1, in India 76% of the pesticide used is insecticide, as against 44% globally (Mathur, 1999). The use of herbicides and fungicides is correspondingly less heavy. The main use of pesticides in India is for cotton crops (45%), followed by paddy and wheat.

How do pesticides help the Indian economy?

This result has been achieved by the use of high-yield varieties of seeds, advanced irrigation technologies and agricultural chemicals (Employment Information: Indian Labour Statistics, 1994). Similarly outputs and productivity have increased dramatically in most countries, for example wheat yields in the United Kingdom, corn yields in the USA. Increases in productivity have been due to several factors including use of fertiliser, better varieties and use of machinery. Pesticides have been an integral part of the process by reducing losses from the weeds, diseases and insect pests that can markedly reduce the amount of harvestable produce. Warren (1998) also drew attention to the spectacular increases in crop yields in the United States in the twentieth century. Webster et al.(1999) stated that “considerable economic losses” would be suffered without pesticide use and quantified the significant increases in yield and economic margin that result from pesticide use. Moreover, in the environment most pesticides undergo photochemical transformation to produce metabolites which are relatively non-toxic to both human beings and the environment (Kole et al., 1999).

How many pesticides were used in 1996?

In 1996, seven pesticides (acephate, chlopyriphos, chlopyriphos-methyl, methamidophos, iprodione, procymidone and chlorothalonil) and two groups of pesticides (benomyl group and maneb group, i.e. dithiocarbamates) were analysed in apples, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries and grapes.

What are the high risk groups exposed to pesticides?

The high risk groups exposed to pesticides include production workers, formulators, sprayers, mixers, loaders and agricultural farm workers. During manufacture and formulation, the possibility of hazards may be higher because the processes involved are not risk free. In industrial settings, workers are at increased risk since they handle various toxic chemicals including pesticides, raw materials, toxic solvents and inert carriers.

Why is prevention of adverse health effects and promotion of health profitable investments for employers and employees?

There is a need to convey the message that prevention of adverse health effects and promotion of health are profitable investments for employers and employees as a support to a sustainable development of economics. To sum up, based on our limited knowledge of direct and/or inferential information, the domain of pesticides illustrates a certain ambiguity in situations in which people are undergoing life-long exposure. There is thus every reason to develop health education packages based on knowledge, aptitude and practices and to disseminate them within the community in order to minimise human exposure to pesticides.

Should pesticides be used on farms?

Farmers need pesticides to grow safe, healthy food. Without pesticides, farmers would lose a significant portion of their food crops, which leads to food waste and rising costs at the grocery store. “ Pesticides are essential for successful food production,” says Dr.

What are the advantages of using pesticides?

Pesticides help conserve the environment. They enable farmers to produce more crops per unit area with less tillage, thus reducing deforestation, conserving natural resources and curbing soil erosion. Pesticides are also critical for the control of invasive species and noxious weeds.

Why do farmers use pesticides in field during agricultural practices?

Most pesticides listed in Table 1 are used in agriculture for one of the following purposes: Protecting plants or plant products against all harmful organisms (e.g. fungicides, insecticides, molluscicides, nematicides, rodenticides). Influencing the life processes of plants (e.g. Plant Growth Regulators).

What do pesticides kill?

After all, pesticides are insecticides and are designed to kill insects – the clue’s in the name. Pesticides include chemicals that kill insects ( insecticides ), plants ( herbicides ) and fungi/moulds (fungicides).

What are the most harmful pesticides?

Fungicides were the most toxic from concentrations 300–600 times lower than agricultural dilutions, followed by herbicides and then insecticides, with very similar profiles in all cell types. Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested.

What are the 3 benefits of pesticides?

More specifically, pesticides can keep harmful pests–such as rats, mice, ticks and mosquitoes–away from crops while also protecting the plants from weeds and diseases that have the ability to greatly reduce crop yield. In fact, growth of major crops has tripled since 1960, mainly because of the use of pesticides.

What are the positive and negative effects of pesticides?

By controlling insects and rodents, pesticides prevent the spread of disease and protect buildings from termite infestations. Pesticides also keep the price of clothing and food down by eliminating predators that would destroy crops, raising the cost of things like corn and cotton.

How can pesticides help farmers?

Pesticides help farmers do that. Pesticides enable farmers to produce safe, quality foods at affordable prices. They also help farmers provide an abundance of nutritious, all-year-round foods, which are necessary for human health.

Why are pesticides important?

Pesticides are important. They help farmers grow more food on less land by protecting crops from pests, diseases and weeds as well as raising productivity per hectare. Production of major crops has more than tripled since 1960, thanks in large part to pesticides. 1 For example, rice – which feeds almost half the people on our planet – has more …

How much of the world’s crop production is lost annually due to weeds, pests and diseases?

Without the use of pesticides, more than half of our crops would be lost to pests and diseases. Between 26 and 40 percent of the world’s potential crop production is lost annually because of weeds, pests and diseases.

How does crop protection affect crop quality?

Crop quantity and quality rely on crop protection. For example, a U.S. study estimated that without fungicides, yields of most fruit and vegetables would fall by 50-90 percent. 3 Moreover, pesticides decrease exposure to food contaminated with harmful micro-organisms and naturally occurring toxins, preventing food-related illnesses.

What would happen if we didn’t have pesticides?

Without pesticides, more than half of our crops would be lost to pests and diseases.

Why are fruits and vegetables more abundant?

Fruits and vegetables, which provide essential nutrients, are more abundant and affordable. Grains, milk and proteins, which are vital to childhood development, are more widely available because of lower costs to produce food and animal feed.

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Why are pesticides used in agriculture?

The biggest reason why using pesticides seems worth it to local farmers is because they are a cost-effective way to do more business if their produce is prone to pests. The reality is, that by “playing it safe” and avoiding the use of pesticides, the financial loss that professional growers will incur due to the loss of produce is far greater than the expenses required to purchase pesticides and prevent that from happening in the first place. On top of that, by actively and continuously making your crops “disease-proof”, the chance of the produce being infected in the future drops significantly.

Why do farmers use pesticides?

In order to protect crop health from pests that feed on or infect the plants themselves, farmers tend to use pesticides in order to retain their produce. This helps them prevent potential losses and maximize gains as more crops are produced and thus more are sold in the market.

How can farmers stop using pesticides?

The main way farmers can gain leverage that will allow them to quit the use of pesticides involves new agriculture technology and its adoption pace. Farmers who have sufficient knowledge and capital to invest in new equipment will have the ability to enjoy the benefits of IoT which will acutely increase their crop monitoring abilities. By knowing exactly when a crop is being attacked by fungus, bacteria or viruses, pesticide use can be used when needed rather than used on a continuous basis – this will reduce its potent negative effects. Moreover, the more data we gain by using AgTech on crop health, we will be able to pinpoint and manufacture more eco-friendly solutions that will aid in protecting crops from diseases without negative health effects for humans.

What are the negative effects of pesticides?

Those who are continuously exposed to pesticides are prone to developing respiratory diseases and serious illness es that include cancer, as some of the chemicals that pesticides consist …

What are the different types of pesticides used in farms?

There are 6 main types of pesticides that are being commonly used in most farms: Insecticides – used to deter insects from feeding on the produce. Herbicides – used to kill malicious plants that damage crops. Rodenticides – chemicals that protect plants from rodents. Bactericides – kills bacteria on the surface (or inside) of the plant.

What is the best way to kill rodents in plants?

Rodenticides – chemicals that protect plants from rodents. Bactericides – kills bacteria on the surface (or inside) of the plant. Fungicides – help plants in areas where they are prone to fungus infections. Larvicides – Used to effectively kill larva in areas where crops are prone to it.

Is pesticide bad for the environment?

Using these chemicals might sound like a great decision for the short-term, however, there are huge long-term disadvantages for using toxic chemicals for the soil on which the produce is grown on. At the end of the day, pesticides are poisons – toxic chemicals that don’t just harm the “malicious bugs” that attack plants, but the consumer, producer (farmer) and the environment as well. Valuable vitamins and minerals that the plants absorb from the soil are being “dissolved” by the pesticides, which causes plant health to deteriorate and produce low-quality gains for the long-run.

How do pesticides affect agriculture?

The increase in the world’s population in the 20th century could not have been possible without a parallel increase in food production. About one-third of agricultural products are produced depending on the application of pesticides. Without the use of pesticides, there would be a 78% loss of fruit production, a 54% loss of vegetable production, and a 32% loss of cereal production. Therefore, pesticides play a critical role in reducing diseases and increasing crop yi elds worldwide. Thus, it is essential to discuss the agricultural development process; the historical perspective, types and specific uses of pesticides; and pesticide behavior, its contamination, and adverse effects on the natural environment. The review study indicates that agricultural development has a long history in many places around the world. The history of pesticide use can be divided into three periods of time. Pesticides are classified by different classification terms such as chemical classes, functional groups, modes of action, and toxicity. Pesticides are used to kill pests and control weeds using chemical ingredients; hence, they can also be toxic to other organisms, including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants, as well as air, water, soil, and crops. Moreover, pesticide contamination moves away from the target plants, resulting in environmental pollution. Such chemical residues impact human health through environmental and food contamination. In addition, climate change-related factors also impact on pesticide application and result in increased pesticide usage and pesticide pollution. Therefore, this review will provide the scientific information necessary for pesticide application and management in the future.

Why are pesticides important?

It is generally accepted that pesticides play an important role in agricultural development because they can reduce the losses of agricultural products and improve the affordable yield and quality of food [2,3,4]. Because of the urgency to improve food production and control insect-borne diseases, the development of pesticides increased during World War II (1939-1945). Additionaly, from the 1940s onwards, the increased use of synthetic crop protection chemicals permitted a further increase in food production [1]. Moreover, worldwide pesticide production increased at a rate of about 11% per year, from 0.2 million tons in the 1950s to more than 5 million tons by 2000 [5]. Three billion kilograms of pesticides are used worldwide every year [6], while only 1% of total pesticides are effectively used to control insect pests on target plants [1]. The large amounts of remaining pesticides penetrate or reach non-target plants and environmental media. As a consequence, pesticide contamination has polluted the environment and caused negative impacts on human health [1,7].

What is the literature review of pesticides?

This literature review firstly provides basic scientific information about the agricultural development process, the historical perspective of pesticide usage, general types of pesticide in use, and the role of pesticides in agriculture. Specific focus is then put on pesticide behavior in the environment, climate change-related factors in pesticide use and its adverse effects on the natural environment. Finally this study provides a new direction for the application and management of pesticides.

How do pesticides help the environment?

In terms of public health, pesticides are used in daily life to kill pests, including mosquitoes, ticks, rats, and mice in houses, offices, malls, and streets. As a result, the immense burden of diseases caused by these vectors has been substantially reduced or eliminated [21,23,26]. Insecticides are often the most practical way to control insects that can spread deadly diseases such as malaria, possibly resulting in an estimated death count of 5000 deaths globally each day [17]. In addition, pesticides are indispensable in agricultural production. They have been used by farmers to control weeds and insects in agricultural cultivation, and remarkable increases in agricultural products have been reported as a result of pesticide use [1,27]. To cope with demographic growth, there has been a significant increase in agricultural yield since the beginning of the 20th century. Within one century, population growth increased from 1.5 billion in 1900 to about 6.1 billion in 2000, corresponding to a world population growth rate three times greater than during the entire history of humanity. Since 2003, the world’s population has increased by yet another billion, and given the current growth rates, it is projected to reach 9.4–10 billion by 2050 [5]. The increase in the world’s population in the 20th century could not have been possible without a parallel increase in food production. Although increases in food productivity have been due to several factors, including the use of chemicals, better plant varieties, and the use of machinery, pesticides have been an integral part of the process by reducing harvest losses caused by weeds, diseases, and insect pests [25]. About one-third of agricultural products are produced using pesticides. Without the use of pesticides, there would be a 78% loss of fruit production, a 54% loss of vegetable production, and a 32% loss of cereal production [27]. Therefore, pesticides play a critical role in reducing diseases and improving the increase in crop yields worldwide. Thus, they have made a significant contribution to alleviating hunger and providing access to an abundant supply of high-quality food.

How were pesticides used in the past?

During the first period before the 1870s, pests were controlled by using various natural compounds. The first recorded use of insecticides was about 4500 years ago by Sumerians [8]. They used sulfur compounds to control insects and mites. About 3200 years ago, the Chinese used mercury and arsenical compounds to control body lice. There was no chemical industry, so all products used were derived directly from readily available animal, plant, or mineral sources. For example, volatile substances were often applied by “smoking”. The principle was to burn straw, chaff, hedge clippings, crabs, fish, dung, or other animal products, so that the smoke, preferably malodorous, could spread throughout the orchard, crop, or vineyard [8]. It was generally assumed that such smoke would eliminate blight or mildew. Smoke was also used against insects. People controlled weeds mainly by hand weeding, while various chemical methods were also reported [14]. Pyrethrum is obtained from the dried flowers of the chrysanthemum Cineraria folium, “pyrethrum daisies”, and has been used as an insecticide for over 2000 years.

What are the different types of pesticides?

Pesticides are classified by different classification terms such as chemical classes, functional groups, modes of action, and toxicity [20]. Firstly, pesticides are classified by different targets of pests, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, and rodenticides. For example, fungicides are used to kill fungi, insecticides are used to kill insects, while herbicides are used to kill weeds [21,22]. In terms of chemical classes, pesticides are classified into organic and inorganic ingredients. Inorganic pesticides include copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper, lime, and sulfur. The ingredients of organic pesticides are more complicated [23]. Organic pesticides can be classified according to their chemical structure, such as chlorohydrocarbon insecticides, organophosphorus insecticides, carbamate insecticides, synthetic pyrethroid insecticides, metabolite and hormone analog herbicides, synthetic urea herbicides, triazine herbicides, benzimidazole nematocides, metaldehyde molluscicides, metal phosphide rodenticides, and D group vitamin-based rodenticides. Figure 1shows the summary of the agricultural use of each class of pesticide in China [24].

Why do pesticides bind to soil?

In contrast, a large amount of pesticides reaches the soil, resulting in severe soil pollution [51,52]. The sorption process is a phenomenon that binds pesticides to soil particles due to the attraction between chemical and soil particles [51,53,54,55]. In addition, adsorption isotherms can be obtained according to the standard batch equilibration method (OECD106, 2000) and used for the assessment of pesticide retention in the environmental media [56].

Why do farmers use pesticides?

Conclusion: Farmers (both conventional and organic) must use pesticides in order to produce enough food to feed the world. Pesticide use peaked in the 1980’s and will continue to decline as farmers and scientists develop new and more effective methods.

Why did pesticides decrease?

Reasons for the initial rise include no-till agriculture, herbicide resistant crops, and crops like corn and soybeans being planted over more acres. Reasons for the decline include more effective pesticides, better application technology, genetic engineering (GMOs) and new production methods like cover crops. (This is further explained in Part 2)

Why are pesticides so toxic?

Glyphosate (the most popular herbicide in agriculture) is the least toxic agro-chemical on the list. This is one of the reasons farmers have used it so much instead of other chemicals over the years. Another reason is because glyphosate resistant plants (GMOs) were developed so that farmers could control weeds post emergence with a safer chemical like glyphosate. Household items more toxic than glyphosate include baking soda, table salt, Tylenol, and caffeine.

Why is glyphosate considered a safer chemical?

This is another reason glyphosate is considered a safer chemical, because it is a herbicide. Over the last 50 years, the use of safer herbicides has risen while the use of insecticides and fungicides has declined.

What percentage of pesticides were used in 1960?

Insecticides in 1960: 58 percent of pesticides – 2008: 6 percent of pesticides

What is the EPA’s continuous reevaluation of registered pesticides?

EPA’s continuous reevaluation of registered pesticides, combined with strict FQPA standards, major improvements in science, and an increase in the use of safer, less toxic pesticides, has led to an overall trend of reduced risk from pesticides. ”. – E.P.A.

Why do farmers wear protective gear?

This is why farmers wear protective gear when applying pesticides.


Asthma and Allergies

  • Indoor household pests such as cockroaches can contribute to asthma and allergies. In addition to registering products to control these pests, EPA also provides information to the public about safely using these products in homes and schools.

See more on epa.gov

Microbial Contamination

  • Various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, can cause microbial contamination in hospitals, public health clinics, and food processing facilities. EPA registers antimicrobial productsintended to control these microorganisms and help prevent the spread of numerous diseases.

See more on epa.gov

Avian Flu

  • Avian flu, sometimes called bird flu, is an infection that occurs naturally and chiefly in birds. Infections with these viruses can occur in humans, but the risk is generally low for most people. EPA works to register and make available antimicrobial pesticide products(sanitizers or disinfectants) that may be used to kill avian influenza virus on inanimate surfaces and to help pr…

See more on epa.gov


  • Certain proteins found in cells of the central nervous system of humans and animals may exist in abnormal, infectious forms called “prions.” Prions share many characteristics of viruses, and may cause fatal diseases. In 2004, EPA determined that prions are considered to be a pest under FIFRA (PDF), and that products used to control prions are subject to EPA regulation.

See more on epa.gov


  • Biological agents such as Bacillus anthracisspores can cause a threat to public health and national security. EPA has the authority to issue emergency exemptions for pesticides for use in anthrax spore decontamination efforts.

See more on epa.gov

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