Pest Management

The educational materials listed on this page are about Pest Management.

Producers must control a wide range of insect, weed and disease pests that can disrupt the healthy growth of crops. Given increasing resistance to chemical control methods (including organic pesticides and natural pesticides) farmers are increasingly adopting multifaceted strategies to keep pests at bay. These strategies include the biological controls and cultural controls featured in integrated pest management (IPM) as well as traditional chemical and physical controls. Integrated pest management (IPM) uses a range of ecological strategies to prevent pest damage and resorts to the use of pesticides only when monitoring indicates such action is required to avoid economic loss. Whole farm pest management systems build upon the biological pest control approach of IPM systems by integrating ecological pest management practices into all aspects of crop production. Soil organic matter and nutrient management, tillage, crop rotation and field boundaries, borders and buffers all play an important role in both increasing crop pest resistance and reducing pest pressures. Weed control is a challenge on all types of farm operations. A successful weed management plan will vary depending on the type of operation and whether it is conventional or organic. Helpful practices in an integrated weed management plan may include chemical weed control (conventional and organic herbicides), the use of mulches (living mulch or cover crops, killed mulches, plastic mulch), tillage or cultivation, crop rotation, and more novel techniques such as soil solarization or using geese or goats for weed control.

SARE’s Manage Insects on your Farm addresses the principles of ecological pest management. A Whole Farm Approach to Managing Pests provides tips for designing whole-farm pest management solutions. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, Crop Rotations on Organic Farms and Steel in the Field also provide helpful insights into the roles cover crops, rotations and tillage can play in pest management.

Farmers need to understand disease management on the farm to employ effective plant disease control methods. Becoming familiar with crop diseases means utilizing myriad effective strategies to prevent and control diseases. Various integrated management practices control the spread of disease including biological control, physical control and cultural control. Chemical control may include synthetic fungicides, while organic producers rely on an organic fungicide or other natural fungicide to aid in crop protection. For example, disease management in tomatoes, which are susceptible to many diseases, includes the use of resistant cultivars, sanitation, sound cultural practices and fungicide for tomatoes. While there are many chemicals available for different crops, such as fungicide for grass or soybean fungicides, holistic or integrated approaches to disease management are also important tools for effective plant disease control. Key practices include integrated crop and livestock systemscrop rotation, utilizing disease resistant varieties and cultivarscultural controlbiological controlphysical controlchemical control, and prevention.

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Wireworms in Western Washington

Christine Langley has successfully run Lopez Harvest organic farm on Lopez Island in Washington state’s famed San Juan Islands for more than two decades. But for most of that, she wasn’t fighting wireworms.  Those showed up about a dozen years ago, and have made her job a lot harder.  “I grow a lot of lettuce […]

Specialty Crop Production in High Tunnels

A three-year, SARE-funded project focused on developing fruit and vegetable systems suited to high tunnel production in the high-elevation arid Intermountain West. Successful systems were developed for lettuce, tomato, squash and strawberry production. Work with brambles showed that methods suited to other regions were not locally appropriate. The following Utah State University Cooperative Extension fact […]

A Sunn Hemp Cover Crop for Soil Health and Nematode Management

These University of Hawaii fact sheets and virtual field day explain how to use sunn hemp as a cover crop to control weeds, nematodes and other pests, add soil nutrients, prevent erosion, and contribute to a more robust and complex community of beneficial nematodes. Available fact sheets include: Using Sunn Hemp as a Cover Crop […]

Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project

Public concerns regarding pesticide misuse, food safety, water use and contamination, and depletion of non-renewable resources have motivated the reevaluation of some of the practices of conventional agriculture and the exploration of alternative, more sustainable approaches to growing food. In 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) project was established at the University of California’s […]

Large Raspberry Aphid

Large raspberry aphid is notable as a vector of viruses in Rubus, including Raspberry leaf mottle virus (RLMV, semi-persistent) and Raspberry latent virus (RpLV, persistent) in red raspberry, and Black raspberry necrosis virus (BRNV, non-persistent) in black raspberry. These viruses are to blame for decreased cane vigor and field decline requiring frequent replanting, as well […]

Conservation Buffers in Organic Systems: Nevada

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. Conservation Buffers provides […]

Conservation Buffers in Organic Systems: Oregon

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. Conservation Buffers provides […]

Wireworm Biology and Nonchemical Management in Potatoes

This bulletin is one of a series on organic potato production developed by OSPUD, a collaboration among Oregon State University personnel and 11 farmers operating diversified organic vegetable farms. The purpose of OSPUD is to improve potato quality and profitability through a participatory learning process and on-farm, farmer-directed research. The first two years of OSPUD […]

A Guide for Hawai’i’s Farmers

This guide was developed to assist new farmers in tropical small-island settings by providing a distillation of expert information on sustainable agriculture principles, agroecology, crop production, animal production, agroforestry and marketing.

On-Farm Internship Training Binder

The Placer Ag Futures Project was conceived as a response to critical issues affecting local agricultural sustainability. This project was intended to help grow a new crop of agricultural professionals that are trained in sustainable agricultural practices. One part of the Ag Futures Project was the on-farm internship training. The summer internship program consisted of […]

Training Ag Professionals in IPM

A multi-state program in the Columbia River Basin is improving agricultural practices by training young ag professionals in integrated pest management.

Conservation Buffers in Organic Systems: California

This is a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative. This guide is part of a series of guides created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff in the Western Region. Conservation Buffers provides […]

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage

This handbook is designed for Extension county agents and educators and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel in the western U.S. Most County Extension Agents and Educators get questions related to wildlife pests. These may be for backyard wildlife pests or they may be related to traditional or organic farmers or ranchers. The purpose of […]

Tea Time in the Tropics

This book critically evaluates the phenomenon of compost tea and provides a thorough discussion of the composition and process of making compost.