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Use of Agrochemicals – Environmental, Social and Economical Impacts of Alternative Farming Strategies: Precision Weed Management
Published: 02 November 2011 by MDPI in The 1st World Sustainability Forum session Remote Sensing for Sustainable Management of Land and Biodiversity
Abstract: In sustainable agriculture it is getting more important the need of reducing environmental burden duo to agrochemical use. To carry out environmental protection, the responsible use of natural resources and keep rural development for the future generation is our taskThe term "sustainable development" includes the current and long-run sustainable production and the controversies of environmental protection that assurance the right quality of life, and hard-preventable, but rather tolerated conflicts. Sustainability must include the farming that allow for easy reproduction the assets needed for production not only business management level, but also on a national level management irrespectively of the source of capital necessary for farming. It is also important to maintenance of rural areas. Precision farming is one of the farming strategies in crop production which can increase farmer\'s efficiency and can reduce the chemical use – especially in plant protection – and also the burden of environment. Here in this research we have examined the economic relations between potential savings in chemicals on EU level and in Hungary by analyzing scenarios for implementing the site-specific technology in weed management. It has been found that after switching to precision farming, the active ingredient savings in herbicide use can be 30 thousand tons (calculating with the current dose-level) in EU-27. If approximately 30% of the crop producing and mixed farms over 16 ESU adopt this new technology, this will diminish environmental loads by up to 10-35%. In Hungary the expected area on which precision plant protection can be used is about 400 000 ha if 25 % of the farms operating over 16 ESU apply the technology. That means 229-587 to pesticide savings per year depending on the savings in dose of pesticide per hectare (that were: 25-30-50%), assuming the nowadays pesticide usage. The majority of farms characterized by greater output and size can be based on their own equipment but it might as well be presumed that smaller farms can turn to precision farming not based on their own investment, buying the technical service, establishing machinery rings. At a certain farm size and farming intensity precision crop production is a real, environmentally friendly farming strategy, with the help of which the farm can reach earnings that cover at least the economic conditions of simple reproduction.
Keywords: sustainable farming, pesticide reduction, viability