Last month we met with a group of farmers who urged Rutgers to provide expanded information on organic pest control recommendations.
What are my organic treatment options and how well do they work? As an organic grower, I sometimes accept less control, and more costly treatment than conventional farmers, but the information on efficacy is unclear. If Rutgers isn’t doing efficacy trials, can you sift through the literature to tell me what others have found that definitely works?
Control of cabbage root maggot (CRM) is a timely example that illustrates the ‘struggle for relative efficacy’ in making organic recommendations when compared with conventional options. Forsythia in bloom–any day now–occurs at about the same time that farmers can expect CRM to damage their transplanted cole crops. Even light CRM infestations can kill small seedlings and transplants, delay crop development, and render root crops unsaleable. Higher populations can kill older plants or reduce yield.
- monitoring and control of CRM in cole crops.
- the use of online weather station degree-day (DD) data to predict CRM activity and timing of treatment – instead of relying on phenology.
- how the lack of field research capacity makes recommendations difficult for organic pest controls in comparison with conventional controls.
- why talent scouting (sifting through the literature) is an adjunct to research capacity, not a replacement.