Testing the Efficacy of Insecticides and Fungicides Allowed for Organic Vegetable Production, 2011-2013
Project Leaders: Abby Seaman, NYS IPM Program, Cornell University
Holly Lange, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology, Cornell University
Chris Smart, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology, Cornell University
Tony Shelton, Department of Entomology, Cornell University
Abstract: Organic farming continues to be a growth sector in agriculture. In 2005, the Organic Trade Association conducted a survey of organic industry leaders and experts who projected that growth will continue at 5-10% per year over the next 20 years (The Past, Present and Future of the Organic Industry: A retrospective of the First 20 Years, a look at the Current State of Organic and Forecasting the Next 20 Years). In 2007 New York ranked 4th in the U.S. with 583 certified organic farms, and ranked 6th nationally in organic vegetable production in 2005, with 2,952 acres. In New York, organic vegetables are grown on a wide range of farm sizes, from small acreage farms marketing directly to the consumer, to medium and large-scale farms marketing wholesale and to the processing industry. Growth potential is high for all farm sizes because of increasing interest in local food production, but the prospect for growth in the acreage grown for processing is particularly good, with a NY- based major processor of organic foods seeking to cut transportation costs and carbon footprint by sourcing more raw product from the Northeast. While organic certification standards and practice prescribe an approach to pest management that integrates soil health, rotation, resistant varieties, and other cultural practices, damage from certain pests is still present at levels requiring intervention in many years. Certified organic farmers are required to use products that meet National Organic Program regulations for allowable products. Efficacy information on many products allowable for organic production is scarce, difficult to find, and much of it is not relevant to the Northeast. Organic vegetable farmers and those contemplating a transition to organic need reliable and relevant information on the effectiveness of the products they are allowed to use to help them assess risk and make informed decisions about their participation this growing market. We conducted replicated trials to test the efficacy of labeled insecticides and fungicides, allowed for organic production, against the following crops and pests known to be problems for organic farmers, and will add additional pests that are identified by organic farmers: Crucifers: Cabbage aphids, flea beetles, imported cabbageworm, diamondback moth, cabbage looper, Alternaria, downy mildew, black rot; Cucurbits: Seedcorn maggot, striped cucumber beetle, squash bug, squash vine borer (on an organic farm with a known infestation) downy mildew, powdery mildew; Tomatoes: Early blight, Septoria leaf spot, tomato anthracnose, late blight.