Successful plant protection begins with a thorough tilling of the soil to make the requirement for the use of chemical means as low as possible. For example, this means that the use of herbicides in mulch drilling can be minimised if the roots of the weeds are moved to the surface of the soil before sowing, where they dry out. However, pests such as the European corn borer can also be fought by mechanical means, which reduces the need for plant protection products even further.
Since mechanical plant protection is really not possible on crops that have already began growing, both conventional and organic farms rely on measures using field sprayers at this stage. While a range of chemical plant protection products is available for conventional farms for this, organic farms are limited to comparatively few biological products.
However, both types of farming operate according to the maxim of the most economical use possible. In this case, there is often a difficult degree of balancing interests between cost-saving application quantities and comprehensive control, during which creation of resistance is to be avoided.