Alternatives to pesticides, the story of an organic farmer


On the occasion of the “Pesticide Alternatives Week”, we asked a cereal grower to explain the changes in his daily life since his conversion to organic farming.

Bill Muller  has forty years of agriculture behind him. “Twenty years in convention; Twenty years in organic, “summarizes the one who is now vice president of CO.CE.BI, a cooperative specializing in the collection of organic grains.

“In hopes of obtaining a mirific return”

In Philippe Bligny (Avallonnais), Muller is one of the four partners of the GAEC of Champ Beaublé, where he cultivates 320 hectares of wheat, barley, oats, spelled, lentils, sunflowers, flax, hemp … and where 70 dairy cows are raised.

“With the pesticides, in the short term, one has the impression of mastering the thing,” says the organic cereal. You feel like you are getting out of the natural environment: fauna, microfauna, insects, mushrooms … We think we can escape from this environment thanks to the use of pesticides. ”

When Muller cultivated his cereals in conventional agriculture – his conversion to bio goes back to the year 1998 – he recounts having gone through two phases in the way of practicing his trade.


“The first is the hope of obtaining a miraculous return, and the belief that it will go through the use of intensive techniques: the more I put the product, the more I win. But then, in the end, we think: “Whenever I put less, how much do I risk losing?” One becomes dependent on a system, itself dependent on climatic incidents Or sanitary facilities. There is a strong temptation to intensify its use of pesticides to guarantee and secure its turnover. ”

Less anxiety

In 2001, Muller n sold his first organic cereals. “I got rid of the anguish of missing a treatment,” he continues. Because the psychological pressure on the farmer in conventional agriculture is very high: as soon as one sees his field and observes an undesirable plant, one tries to define a threshold: “how many bad plants per square meter ? “Or” how many insects per spike? It is difficult to resist the temptation to treat. This amounts to taking a risk that others do not take. ”

Muller takes care to point out that” there is not one side good, and the other bad “farmers. “We live in a complex system. But since he converted to organic, he rediscovered his profession:


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