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Trimming Energy Use in Pest Control Production and Use

In the United States, about 10 kilo-calories of fossil fuels were required to produce and deliver one kilo-calorie of food to the consumer. A third of this amount of energy is spent on the production of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and on the equipment used in its applications. Due to the current energy and economic crises, the agriculture sector, which is the top energy consuming government sector, must radically reduce its total energy consumption.

When most industries are exploring new and more sustainable energy sources with green technologies, the agricultural industry has initiated the necessary evaluations in finding alternatives to current and traditional agricultural processes, particularly on competitive pest control measures. This is in hopes of reducing energy expenditure while optimizing crop yield. The adoption of more environmentally sound farm practices require less energy input such as the integrated pest management have set the first step in progressing to more energy-efficient farming and pest control practices.

Integrated pest management is mainly designed to provide pest control solutions that do not depend on chemical and potentially toxic pesticides. Competitive pest control companies are beginning to see promising investment potentials in this alternative pest control solutions. In a pest control plan, this approach basically identifies the specific pest present and assesses the economic thresholds, which will lessen the necessity and use of preventive pesticides. For heavy pesticide applications such as those seen in fruit and vegetable farms, adopting integrated pest management can reduce pesticide use by up to 50 percent. This certainly brings substantial amount of savings for those who farm acres of land.

Another energy saving solution is organic farming. Organic farming practices use only 63 percent of the total energy required by chemical-based farming systems. This significant cut in energy consumption results from reducing the demand for nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, which reduces the energy spent in manufacturing said farming products. Eliminating chemical pesticides in the picture actually increases the crops’ resistance against pests and diseases. An agroecological farming study funded by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Ethiopia supports this claim. Since organic farming eliminates the use of any form of synthetic or chemical products to manage pests and crop yield, it does not necessitate the use of farm machinery for pest control and soil fertility. Farming machinery are run by gasoline or diesel engines.

Clearly, the manufacture and use of chemical based pesticides is energy intensive. The increasing demand, popularity and sustainability of alternative farming and competitive pest control practices will hopefully cause a gradual reduction in the total consumption and manufacture of energy intensive farming and pest control practices. The future holds a promise of seeing more farming practices that will ensure better quality and yield in crops with minimal energy input.

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