Herbicide Use in Finland Promoted by the Government in the 1960s

Herbicide Spraying in Finland 1960

Herbicide Spraying in Finland 1960s

Farmers in Finland were slow in adopting herbicide use in the 1950s with only 12% of the acreage treated and fields were overrun with weeds. The Finnish government launched a national weed control program in the 1960s to promote the use of herbicides and herbicide use increased steadily. Today, more than 95% of cereal crop acres in Finland are treated with herbicides annually.

“In Finland, weeds are of relatively great significance because of the open ditch drainage systems in the fields. After the second world war the problem of weeds assumed an even greater importance owing to the mechanization of plant production. In Finland the use of herbicides was not, however, very prevalent in the 1950’s as in most other agricultural countries.

In view of the above facts a national weed campaign was launched in collaboration with agricultural organizations in 1962. The plan of campaign covered a period of three years. The promotion of the chemical control in cereal crops was the foremost object of the first year. Despite adverse climatic conditions the work proved most successful and the field acreage sprayed with herbicides was doubled, covering finally some 300,000 hectares, corresponding to 28% of the total cereal acreage.”

Author: Mukula, J.
Affiliation: Department of Plant Husbandry, Tikkurila, Finland.
Title: National weed campaign of 1962.
Source: Maatal ja Koetoum. 1963. 17:192-200.

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EU Subsidies Lead to Increased Pesticide Use in Poland

Crop Protection Product Sales

Pesticide Sales, Poland (million $)

In 2003 Poland voted to join the European Union (EU). However, Polish farmers were concerned that they would not be able to compete with other EU member countries. Polish agriculture benefitted from over €10billion from the EU and Polish budgets. As a result, farmers had more funds to buy pesticides and accession to the EU influenced an upward trend in pesticide use in Poland.

“Since EU accession an increase in plant protection products consumption has been observed in Poland. According to Eurostat, in 2003 (before accession) the average use of active substances in Poland amounted to 0.8 kg AS/ha. In 2011…the average use of active substances of plant protection products in Poland amounted to 1.4 kg AS/ha.

The reason for the increasing demand for PPPs was probably the impact Poland’s accession to the EU has had on the agricultural sector. The rise of export to the European single market and prices for many agricultural products along with subsidies have boosted farmers’ income and profitability in agricultural production. As a result, on the one hand, farmers had more funds to buy agrochemicals, while on the other hand, they had more possibilities to sell their crops (if of suitable quality) for an attractive price. These conditions led to an increased demand for PPPs. In this manner, accession to the EU influenced the increase of PPP sales in Poland, in spite of EU policy concerning the reduction of pesticide use.”

Author: Matyjaszczyk, E.
Affiliation: Plant Protection Institute, Poland.
Title: Plant protection in Poland on the eve of obligatory integrated pest management implementation.
Source: Pest Management Science. 2013. 69:991-995.

To weed or not to weed: Shakespeare as Ag Communicator

Shakespeare

Shakespeare

An Ag Communication specialist recently read through the Bard’s plays and found several quotes about the importance of controlling weeds.

“I suppose Shakespeare wasn’t an agronomist in the proper sense so much as he had an acute, affectionate love of nature along with the transcendent genius to contemplate and express his sublime sentiments. It wasn’t that he surveyed or discovered things in the world that no one else could see externally, but everywhere in nature he found metaphors for the human condition.

The Bard was so comprehensive and universally appealing that multitudes of professions have “claimed” him as their own practitioner: Why can’t we agricultural communicators claim him as our own as well?

Without further ado, here are just a few quotes I plucked out of the Bard’s works pertaining in some manner to the foulness of weeds or other pests.

Gardener:
I would go root away
The noisome weeds, which without profit suck
The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.

Servant:
The whole land,
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
Her fruit-trees all unpruned, her hedges ruin’d
Her knots disorder’d and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars?
Richard II, act iii, sc. 4

I think the above clearly shows that Shakespeare would’ve concurred with our contention that one must control weeds if one wants to preserve moisture and nutrients for one’s crops.

Hamlet:
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fye on it, ah fye! ‘tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely.
Hamlet, act I, sc. 2

Fye on you weeds! Thou art rank and gross! My fellow ag communicators have been proclaiming this for years… just like Hamlet.

Friar:
I must up-fill this willow cage of ours0
With baleful weeds and precious juiced flowers.
Romeo and Juliet, act ii, sc. 3
 
“Baleful weeds”…now that’s ominous.

Queen:
Now ‘tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted;
Suffer them now, and they’ll o’ergrow the garden,
And choke the herbs for want of husbandry.
2nd Henry VI, act iii, sc. 1

Bravo! Spray weeds early and often!”

Author: Loftis, D.
Affiliation: McCormick Co.
Title: To weed or not to weed
Source: Agri Marketing. November/December 2009. Pgs.54-55.