Update Organic Production

Pest Management Strategic Plan Available

Published in the March 2009 Issue Published online: Mar 30, 2009
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A pest management strategic plan for Western organic potato production is now available online through the Western Integrated Pest Management Center.

Led by Ronda Hirnyck of University of Idaho Extension and Jennifer Miller of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, the plan takes a pest-by-pest approach to identifying current management practices and summarizes the research, regulatory and education needs of the region's organic potato growers.

It includes insects, diseases, weeds, nematodes and vertebrates and production overviews of Idaho, California, Colorado, Columbia Basin, Klamath Basin and west of the Cascade Mountains.

"This is the only pest management strategic plan in the nation for an organic crop," says Hirnyck, who has also led development of plans for conventional potatoes, sugarbeets, small grains, non-rangeland forages, alfalfa and clover seed. "It's complex, because organic potatoes are managed using a cropping system approach."

The plan was developed by growers, commodity associations, food processors, crop consultants, U.S. EPA, and Cooperative Extension and other land-grant specialists and was funded by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Services as well as the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Bullitt Foundation.

Participants placed a priority on research into long-term organic soil management, organic sprout control, improved storage dormancy, evaluation of biological control agents and conservation of natural enemies. They also cited the need for faster development and approval of organic pest management materials and for education on comprehensive pest management practices, including resistant varieties, green manures and certified seed.

The plan is available at www.ipmcenters.org/pmsp. For a printed copy, contact Hirnyck at rhirnyck@uidaho.edu or 208-364-4046.