West

Enhancing biological control in mating disruption and organic pear orchards by understory management

Habitat management to enhance biological control in cultivated crops is an increasingly common method of pest control in both annual and perennial cropping systems. Examples of this approach include use of windbreaks or hedge rows to prompt build-up of natural enemies around crop edges, planting of insectary seed mixes as cover crops in perennial crops, or management of natural ground cover (e.g., via mowing frequency, strip mowing, or selective herbicide use) to enhance build-up of natural enemies.

Bat Houses for Integrated Pest Management-- Benefits for Bats and Organic Farmers: Phase I

Bats are helpful to farmers, as they consume large quantities of insect pests, but many bat species are declining due to loss of roost sites. Farmers can help bats by providing new roosts in the form of bat houses while at the same time benefiting from batsí pest reduction services. However, as much of the evidence for batsí roles in insect biocontrol is anecdotal, further studies are needed to better document batsí contributions to agriculture.

Conserving and restoring pollination services in organic farms of Yolo and Solano Counties, Northern California

Native bee pollinators link natural habitats with agricultural areas. Native bee populations may rely on natural habitats to provide forage and nesting resources during part of the year, and agricultural areas the rest of the year. Native bee pollinators may provide pollination services in both areas, and may in turn depend on both. Thus problems in one area could affect the other.

Increasing Organic Farmer Access to Relevant and Practical Research-Based Information

The principal objective of this project was to make a greater proportion of relevant and practical research-based information available to organic farmers. Experienced organic farmers were specifically targeted. In the original proposal, NCAT planned to create a quarterly publication featuring abstracts of relevant research gleaned from the literature. Emphasis was to be placed on recent, cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics pertinent to organic production and marketing.

Evaluation of Alternative Cultivators for Vegetable Production

The brush hoe cultivator (Bartchi Fobro Co., Switzerland) was evaluated for weed control cool-season vegetables in the Salinas Valley. The brush hoe was compared with conventional vegetable cultivators in seven on-farm trials. The brush hoe cultivated closer to the seed row than the conventional cultivators used by the growers. It left uncultivated strips 2 7/8 inch wide while conventional cultivators generally left uncultivated strips four inches wide. The brush hoe provided comparable or improved weed control over conventional cultivation.

A grower-managed biorational program for artichoke pests (BIORAPP) on the north central California coast

A native egg parasite, Trichogramma thalense, was mass-reared in the laboratory and released a maximum of thirteen times against the eggs of the artichoke plume moth (Platyptilia carduidactyla) in three 5-acre biointensive artichoke production fields on the northern Santa Cruz/San Mateo County coast in 1998 and again in 1999-2000.

Evaluation of kaolin-based particle film coatings on insect and disease suppression in apples

The Organic Farming Research Foundation of Santa Cruz, CA generously provided a grant of $3,479 in 1999 to initiate this study at the Southwest Research Center, Mt. Vernon, MO. The 2000 growing season was completed September 28, 2000, and I am pleased to submit this final summary of our results. A proposal for the funding of the second year's research has been submitted to OFRF. The particle film technology tested in this study appears to offer tremendous potential in safely suppressing both insects and disease in Midwestern apple production.

Organic Management of Garden Symphylans (Scutigerella immaculata) in Annual Cropping Systems

The garden symphylan is an increasingly common problem on organic farms. Symphylans have a diverse diet, feeding on decaying organic matter and on the roots of a very wide range of crops and other plants, including many weeds. Heavy symphylan populations can severely stunt, and even kill, most annual

Weed control with green manure and cover crops

Weeds pose one of the most important threats to crop production. Losses in both yield and quality of crops due to weeds, as well as costs of weed control, constitute an enormous economic problem in crop production. Weeds have a major influence on the production decisions made by producers. Additional land, labor, equipment, fuel, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, fertilizer, and irrigation water may be required to maintain economical production when weeds are present. 

OBJECTIVES

On-farm testing of organic weed control strategies in Indiana

Nashville, IN - In this on-farm study, organic vegetable producer Dale Rhoads tried out several organic herbicide materials and flaming in conjunction with a ‘stale’ seedbed to reduce the time and cost of hand-weeding leafy greens beds. The materials tested were Matran 5 (now reformulated and sold as Matran EC), two different vinegar solutions diluted to 13% and 10%, and Burnout II.

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