Why Do We Need Crop Protection Products?

Every farmer must protect his or her crops against pests – just as they must protect animals against diseases and parasites. This task is becoming increasingly demanding, as our crops today are no longer as resilient as their forebears were. Back then, in their wild forms, plants protected themselves against pests through such means as toxins and bitter substances. Breeders have however minimized these traits through centuries of work, to make the plants more nutritious for human consumption but also and above all tastier. This is a development that is also appreciated by pests, particularly when a certain type of crop is grown on a large scale, as is frequently the case in modern agriculture today.

50 years ago insect pests often had to be collected by hand; today we have intelligent strategies:

  • Crop protection
  • Deployment of beneficials
  • Crossbreeding with resistance genes

Yet farmers are not allowed to deploy crop protection products indiscriminately. They must demonstrate proof of expertise, comply with documentation requirements and use the products as instructed. These requirements are designed not just to protect the environment, farmers and consumers, but also to prevent the development of resistances. Nonetheless, evolution can never be completely outwitted: unwanted weeds adapt to any regularly used method – even mechanical weed-removal methods. A wide range of methods and crop protection products are therefore needed to fight the development of resistances.

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