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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #155071

Title: THE BASICS - ORGANIC CROP PROTECTION 101

Author
item Sampson, Blair

Submitted to: American Fruit Grower
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2003
Publication Date: 8/26/2003
Citation: Sampson, B.J. 2003. The Basics-Organic Crop Protection 101, American Fruit Grower Magazine, pgs.6-7.

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural development has been occuring for about 4 to 10 millennium in different regions of the World. Except for the last 100 years or so, progress in plant and animal domestication has essentially occured in an "organic" fashion, i.e. with no artifical or synthetic inputs. Today "organic" approaches to agriculture are increasingly gaining re-acceptance, especially fruit and vegetable production. Effective organic crop protection requires the successful integration of cultural, physical, biological and chemical methods of pest control. Key to this integration is the timely access farmers have to information on local climate, pest biology and ecology as well as appropriate control recommendations.

Technical Abstract: As more advances are made in organic crop protection, farmers must have timely access to information that will provide more effective plant protection, Important information resources available to organic farmers include County Agents, grower magazines, newsletters, agriculure-related internet sites, meetings and field days, extension brochures, university experts, extension specialists and farmers sharing their own experiences. Organic crop protection involves four general approaches (cultural, physical, biological, and chemical control). More than one of these approaches is ofter required to effectively management pests. Cultural control emphasizes practices that prevent or reduce the frequency or severity of pest outbreaks, and often include crop rotation, sanitation, solarization, soil disking, trap crops, or palnting resistant or tolerant crop species. Physical control relies on physical or chemical barriers that shield plants from harmful insects. Biological control is a free service of the pest's own natural enemies. Practices that preserve or bolster predators, parasites, diseases, and competitors of a pest could reduce a farmer's dependence on natural pesticide inputs. A wide array of natural pesticides or crop protectants is available as a last resort to control pests of organic fruits and vegetables.