As my operation has grown in complexity, so have the practices that I use. I do my best to avoid using agricultural poisons, but there are areas where I use a little. I do not use herbicides or pesticides for outdoor production and never have.
My breeding conditions are “better than organic.” Other than occasional amendments with organic matter produced on site, I do not amend the ground used for breeding work at all. This is intentional. I have poor soils and I want to select varieties that can perform reasonably well in native ground. As a consequence, my varieties should perform well under organic conditions.
No pesticides or herbicides are used on our sale crops. I do occasionally use inorganic fertilizers to bring the soil up to optimum levels. It proved impossible to reliably get the right balance with locally available organic fertilizers. I need consistent nutrient levels in this area to make it easy for me to detect disease. As a seed producer, I think it is more important to produce a disease free crop than an organic one.
I routinely use inorganic fertilizers in the greenhouse. They are just easier to manage and more available locally. This is also the one area of the operation where I will use pesticide, if necessary. It usually isn’t. This is where I produce the foundation stock for our disease free tubers and I need to make sure that insects that can transmit viruses don’t get the upper hand. Usually, manual and organic practices are sufficient, but sometimes I just need to make sure that the aphids are all dead. The amount of pesticide that I use in a year is generally less than a single consumer size spray bottle. We do not sell anything out of the greenhouse, so nothing that we sell has come in contact with any pesticides.