Decisions, Decisions. What to spray and how to decide

Well, the worm cycle in the alfalfa hay is going full bore this time of year. Seems like before July, most years, they are easy to manage and are controlled but most pesticides that you choose. There are some, what we call, “soft” chemicals that target the worms and are not toxic to other organisms. I really prefer to use these types of products. But something happens when the temperatures get hot. The worms just explode. The go from eggs to causing big areas of damage very quickly and these soft materials just do not work as well later on in the season. This happens with other pests as well. The heat just makes the populations go faster and the pests grow bigger faster and the pesticides just do not work as well. In the alfalfa, the material that works the best at this time of year has some side effects though. It shows up in the water samples in the rivers. Not a good thing. We cannot use it within 24 hrs of putting water onto the field but even doing that it is still showing up in water samples. The problem is now that it is very hot and the alfalfa needs water. The other options do not seem to be working as well to kill the worms and these options are much more expensive as well. On a crop that is not making that much money to begin with, using a more expensive option is not very popular. So do you go with the cheaper option with environmental problems or the more expensive options that may not be most effective but safer for the environment? Well, what do you do? What changes have you made in your life to help the environment? Have you made those easy, cheap fixes but not the ones than may be more expensive? Have you bought that Prius yet? Farmers make the same choices. It isn’t that they don’t want to do everything they can to help the environment. They have to do what they can afford to do. We all make those choices. We have a budget to consider and sometimes the options available to us are not as good as we’d like but we have to do what is best for our business, family, crop, etc. Think about that next time you hear about farmers maybe spray a chemical that some find questionable for the environment?

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