Hazards Can Be Cautionary Necessities

“Pesticides are poison to kill.”

Again we were reminded of that after recent showers. Insecticides, herbicides, de-wormers, cattle pour-on, mouse bait, and on and on are intended for a single purpose: “To kill.”

More than a decade ago, the neighbor dairyman pointed out to us: “Fly spray is poison, so it kills.” Quite obvious, but yet how easy to forget.

At county fairs recently, we’ve seen exhibitors applying bug repellents on their animals without regard to surroundings, wind, water or people.

It never occurred to them they were handling a hazardous substance. Its purpose is to kill, or at least drive menaces away, and usually there’s mortality verified by pests on the ground.

Our reminder came as we were continuing efforts to control invading locust trees in a waterway. Our method is crude and time consuming, likely made snide of by those who see us, or we tell about the procedure, because we cut and treat each individually.

Still, sole purpose is to kill them, and the expensive chemical seems to be doing the job However, hundreds of trees that we had not treated were also dead.  Herbicide used in our treatments had washed onto ground nearby and killed those trees as well.

Not only was that proof of  pesticide effectiveness, but another reminder about how easily hazardous substances  can be spread onto places we don’t want them.

Environmental protection laws are a big aggravation for most farmers and cattlemen, but proof  of the true harmful potential was revealed right in our own pasture.

Obviously, fertilizer, pesticides, feedlot wastes, etc., can be blown by the wind and washed onto neighboring acreage to do damage where never expected. Once into the airstream or water flow, chemicals from one farm could end up thousands of miles away.

Since we were treating hedge tree stumps with 2,4D and diesel fuel four decades ago and had breathing problems for weeks after, we’ve been cautious of using any chemicals.

Yet, the only way to control invasive plants, increase crop yields and stop livestock parasites is often with these hazardous materials. But, we must always be careful when using them.

Reminds us of James 3:7: “The poison is deadly.” But, Leviticus 26:6: “It will keep harmful pests out of your country.” Yet, Sirach 18:27: “Wise people exercise caution in everything.”