The detrimental effects of pesticides have many scrambling for alternatives. Be it through pest-sniffing dogs or banning the substance altogether, there has yet to be an affordable and simple solution. With an abundance of arable land in its countrysides, England is taking a different approach. Farms are experimenting with wildflowers, hoping to naturally boost pest predators and alleviate the need for chemical pesticides.
Using wildflower margins to support insects including hoverflies, parasitic wasps and ground beetles has been shown to slash pest numbers in crops and even increase yields.
Harvesters will use GPS technology to monitor their crops throughout full cycles. Where nature may falter, machines step in — primarily to avoid predator outbreaks. We all know plagues are better off immortalized in history books.
“There is undoubtedly scope to reduce pesticide use – that is a given,” said Bill Parker, director of research at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. “There will be probably quite a lot of years when pests are not a problem and pesticide use could be vastly reduced.”
Despite the experiment’s promising nature, the change demands copious amounts of time and effort. Still, many advocating for a much needed cultural shift in agricultural industries are likely to see it through.