When we are talking about the food we eat, words like Insecticide, Herbicide, and Fungicide tend to make us a little nervous. It makes us feel safe to hear “Organic, Additive Free and All Natural. In the humid Southeast, peach crops would be impossible to grow due to bugs and disease if farms did not use pesticides to protect them. Pesticides are “pharmaceuticals” for agriculture. Much like we vaccinate our children to prevent disease and take medications to treat sickness, farmers must treat diseases and parasites that are dangerous to the fruit and could ultimately kill the tree. Pesticides are regulated by the EPA in much the same way as medications are monitored by the FDA. The EPA sets standards for safe use of pesticides and Pearson Farm adheres to these standards without exception.
Here at Pearson Farm, we are constantly scouting our orchards for problems. We look specifically for insects like the plum cucillio bug and the oriental fruit moth. These little stinkers will lay eggs in the delicate skin of the peach that will hatch into worms. You know that old saying “what’s worse than finding a worm in your peach……finding half a worm! 🐛". By scouting, we are able to employ a strict Integrated Pest Management system. This means that we use all of the means necessary at our disposal to control a particular pest. That includes natural predators, crop rotation and biological pest controls. We also watch the weather forecasts closely. When we see bad weather is coming, we apply fungicides as protection instead of correction. Sprays remain a part of our protection and prevention program here on the Farm but they are a last resort rather than a first line of defense.
Pearson Farm grows our Georgia Peaches naturally, but we reserve the right to spray the crop if it is in danger. Our families live and work on the farm, so we are 100% committed to using pesticides in the most responsible manner. We do all we can to limit the amount of pesticides we must apply. When we do spray, we control the drift by monitoring droplet size and wind. We respect re-entry into the orchard and follow all pre-harvest intervals required by the pesticide manufacturer. We utilize personal protection equipment for employee safety and continually monitor application conditions and equipment.
Early spring is when our peach crop is growing and maturing but it is also the time that the crop is the most vulnerable to disease and damage. Just like we protect our growing children from danger, it is our responsibility here at Pearson Farm to protect each crop until it is ready for harvest. These next few weeks we will meet the guys who will be scouting our orchards, driving the tractors and protecting our young growing peaches 🍑🍑🍑