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With organic fields next door, conventional farms dial up the pesticide use, study finds

Associated Press

Champions of organic farming have long portrayed it as friendlier to humans and the earth. But a new study in a California county found a surprising effect as their acreage grew — their conventional neighbors were using more pesticides than before. The researchers, whose work appears in this week’s journal Science, say the conventional farmers were likely trying to stay on top of an increased insect threat to their crops. That may be due to spillover of both beneficial insects and pests from organic fields, which sometimes rely on good bugs to eat the bad ones. The researchers suggest that clustering organic farms together, rather than scattering them amid conventional fields, could improve this phenomenon.

Article Topic Follows: Environment

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Associated Press


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