University of Manitoba: Natural Systems Agriculture: What is Pesticide Free Production?
University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Department of Plant Science

What is
Pesticide Free Production?


Pesticide Free Production, or PFP, is a production system in which crops are grown without the use of in-crop chemical pest control methods during the crop year. This means that crops are not exposed to pesticide applications from the time of emergence until the time of grain marketing. By producing crops in a PFP system, growers may be able to reduce input costs without sacrificing yield, and so retain more of the income generated by the sale of their produce.

Pesticide Free ProductionTM and PFPTM are registered trademarks of the University of Manitoba.

A definition for PFP crops is given below.

PFP crops are non-GMO crops, that have not been treated with pesticides from the time of crop emergence until the time of marketing. In addition, such crops cannot be grown where residual pesticides are considered to be commercially active.

What about fertilizer?

In a PFP system, fertilizers can be used as they would on conventionally grown crops. Fertility-oriented seed treatments, such as inoculants or Provide, are allowed in PFP.

What about pesticide?

Many pesticide products are permitted for use in non-PFP years. As well, some pesticides may be applied to the field in the year of PFP crop production, provided that they are not applied directly to the crop and that they do not have any commercial activity during the crop year. For example, a preseed burnoff with a non-residual herbicide such as glyphosate is within the guidelines but a preseed application of a residual herbicide such as Pursuit is not.

How is it different than organic?

Unlike organic production, there are no restrictions on the grower in terms of commitment to PFP. If, during the cropping year, the field is overwhelmed with a pest outbreak that requires treatment with a pesticide, then the grower is still able to market that product as he or she normally would. The producer could then attempt PFP on that same field the next year. Pesticides are permitted in non-PFP years, and some non-residual pre-seed chemicals are also permitted in the year of PFP. Fertilizer use is also permitted.

Is there a market for PFP?

It is likely that most farmers are already producing some crops that would qualify for PFP. One of the aims of the University of Manitoba is that by developing a core of participating growers, marketing opportunities will arise for crops produced within these guidelines. It has not been determined if, or how much, PFP crops will command a market premium. The first objective is to enable growers to produce crops with less inputs and so reduce costs of production and increase returns. The University of Manitoba supports the execution of PFP within sustainable farming systems.

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This page created August 2004.