FARMERS should aim to never use insecticides, says internationally renowned soil scientist Jill Clapperton, of Rhizoterra Inc., Montana, US.
Speaking at the Vic No-Till annual conference in Ballarat last week, Dr Clapperton said: "It's bad for you, it's bad for the environment, it's bad for the soil - it's bad for everything."But some times we need it, I get that. Our goal should be not to need it."Insecticides are some of our most toxic substances - they kill all insects, beneficial and pests - and insects are probably more manageable than many of our other pests."
Now with our technology we can put things between rows properly and grow mixed covers, we have some opportunities to look at this more. We are starting to understand the different insects and how they interact."Dr Clapperton is a freelance scientist and farmer, proving her science in her own fields."
The farm helps me understand some of the problems farmers face," she said."And we need the yields to fund my research."
Her main message to farmers is they need to focus on building diversity of organisms within soils.This stabilised the agro-ecosystem, she said."The point is we just don't know how much we can produce when we do that," she said. "I am absolutely confident we can produce enough food for our people."