Reducing the use of pesticides
As an agricultural producer or contract applicator, you have several tools at your disposal to reduce and rationalize the use of pesticides and reduce the risk of pesticides to health and the environment.
For easy and free information on the risks associated with pesticides approved for use in Québec, see the SAgE pesticides tool that allows you to:
- Research the health and environmental toxicity of pesticides, the characteristics of commercial products, and the pesticides that are approved for any given crop;
- Compare the risks associated with different pesticides approved for the same use in a given crop in order to make an enlightened choice;
- Assess the health and environmental risk of pesticides on the basis of a specific application scenario;
- Become informed about the rational and safe use of pesticides.
SAgE Pesticides also provides a Pesticide Register , which is an online tool for keeping a record of all pesticides used on a farm by the farmer or contract applicator. It is used to keep a record of the risks of all pesticides used by a business during a given season. Assessments can then be compared on a year-to-year basis to reduce the risk stemming from pesticides used by the company.
The Register also allows farmersto enter information required by the Pesticide Management Code and share it with their advisors. A CRAAQ account (Centre de référence en agriculture et agroalimentaire du Québec) is required to access the Pesticide Register.
Education and awareness
Many publications are available to help understand regulations and use good practices.
For improved water and health protection, read “Preventing Pesticide Contamination of Groundwater (PDF 189 Kb)” (French), “Existing Wells in Agricultural Settings (PDF 367 Kb)” (French) and “Protecting the environment and health in agricultural areas (PDF 2.02 Mb)” (French).
To avoid drift (carriage of pesticides outside the target treatment area), Windbreaks to reduce pesticide drift when using air-blast sprayers (PDF 1.53 Mb) (French) can be of help.
The Pesticide Information Kit: Protecting the Environment and Human Health (French) provides easy-to-understand information and best practices.
For prevention and safety tips, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) and Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) offer a number of useful, downloadable publications.
For information on appropriate personal protective equipment, see “Safe Practices and Personal Protective Equipment ” (French).
To learn how to prevent hazards associated with pesticide use, read “Protect Your Crops, Protect Your Health! ”.
If you are interested in protecting your pollinators, “Best Practices for Protecting Bees can be useful.”.
Finally, if you are interested in adopting good field crop practices, read:
- Least risky weed control in corn, its possible
- Field Crop Soil Pest Guide
- List of available corn hybrids not treated with insecticides
For guidance in making decisions about whether or not to recommend specific pesticides, including the highest-risk ones, agronomists can consult the Ordre des agronomes du Québec’s lignes directrices en phytoprotection (crop protection guidelines) (French).
Last update: March 2, 2023