Organic pest management can include the use of pheromone traps, the release of beneficial insects, the use of trap crops, and other organically approved techniques (see Rules related to pest control, next page). Farmers use crop rotation, mechanical tillage and manual weeding to prevent weeds, insects and other pathogenic organisms from taking root. The first line of defense is prevention. Healthy soil creates strong plants that are resistant to pest pressure.
Farmers can encourage populations of natural predators and beneficial insects, such as ladybugs. Other strategies include crop rotation and the selection of pest-resistant crop varieties. When pests become a more serious problem, organic farmers can use pheromones to interrupt pest mating cycles or mechanical controls, such as capture. When all other methods have been exhausted and the farmer faces a possible significant loss, specific pesticide sprays approved as organic can be used.
Generous sprays of non-specific pesticides are always the last resort. Incorporating natural pest control measures into your cultivation plan is a good start, but there are several man-made options available to the grower to keep pests at bay. Rather than trying to repair unhealthy soil, organic farmers seek to create healthy soil by nourishing the nutrients that are already there and maintaining the soil structure and its water retention capacity. However, since they are toxic chemicals designed to kill agricultural pests, there is some concern about their effects on the human body.
It is recommended to follow the synthetic applications with an organic application of “tea” a couple of days later. In severe cases, saprophytes, microorganisms that feed and live on dead or decaying organic matter, begin to take over as dying plants struggle to recover. Organic farmers avoid synthetic pesticides and additives, so you might be wondering what they're using to keep insects away. Organic farmers use alternative strategies to reduce and control pests without the use of synthetic inputs.
Organic farmers implement many strategies, including those detailed above, to reduce the use and consequences of chemical pesticides and promote an agricultural system that works in harmony with nature. Bacillus subtilis is a natural bacteria found in soil and in the gastrointestinal tract of livestock and humans, and has shown great promise in controlling diseases such as powdery mildew. The Rodale Institute is growing the organic movement through research, farmer training and consumer education. There are many different approaches to controlling pests, such as preventing the introduction of pests in the first place, scheduling activities at an optimal time, rotating crops, using mechanical control techniques and even encouraging the appearance of natural enemies of pests.
However, healthy soils alone aren't the only weapons that organic gardeners use to keep their plants thriving. Good nutrition and management are the main ways farmers control pests and diseases, and these attributes of food are transmitted to livestock. Lysol spray is a commercial product found in many homes and is a great way to kill bacterial, fungal and viral pathogenic organisms.
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