Best practices for pest management in Organic farming

Pest management in organic farming is a widely searched topic these days. In this particular blog, we will try and understand that what is pest management, why organic farming became so popular over the years, and then see some of the best practices for pest management in organic farming.

  1. Pest management

Pest management is the process of controlling the pests (harmful insects and bugs) in order to save the crop to be killed or destroyed by the pests. All insects and bugs are not necessarily pests, some insects and bugs remove bad bugs and help in pollination and are necessary for the process of germination. Pests are only creatures that are considered harmful for humans and their food production. Some harmful creatures eat the crop in such a manner that it can kill the whole slot of that crop and also some insects eat the food production in a way to sufficiently damaging its appearance and making it very difficult to sell to the consumers. pest management in Organic farming

  • Why pest do attracts the crop?

But have you ever wonder that how do pests reach the crop or grow on the crop? So, the answer to this question is quite simple. Some insects go to crops in order to consume it for their livelihood but instead, they get the nutrients and means to reproduce and gradually grow in a large number, and that group of insects consuming the crop and the food production is referred to as pests. As I said earlier the process of controlling these pests is referred to as Pest management and by controlling I don’t mean that all the pests should be removed or killed but their number should be minimized as all the pests are not harmful some are needed and to ensure that there is an only limited number of pests, the farmers closely observe the crops on a daily basis.

As the years passed, people discovered a number of ways to control the pests. The traditional way included using harmful chemicals or substances in order to kill the pests known as pesticides. But now organic farmers use non-harmful substances to minimize and control pests and some of the widely known methods will be mentioned in this blog later. pest management in Organic farming

2. Organic farming

The word organic means something that is derived from living matter. So organic farming is the method that uses organic manures and fertilizers for pest control and to enhance the growth of crops naturally without destroying the environment. pest management in Organic farming

Organic farming certification process in India

  • Emerging need of organic farming

Now the question is why there was a need for and organic farming in the first place and with time why it’s getting more and more popular and widely used. To answer the question, organic farming was initially originated in the 20th century. The reason organic farming came into the world was to minimize the use of harmful methods used to control pests. As those methods, not just killed pests but also decreased the fertility of the soil, played an important part in increasing soil pollution. Also, those methods were harmful to human beings. As the chemicals used were dangerous for human touch. Also, the factories of those chemicals produced harmful substances harming the environment. And that is why organic farming was introduced to reduce the use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides, reduce soil erosion, benefit the environment, and also recycle the animal waste back into the land or the farm.

The next thing that boosted organic farming was that the fruits, crops, and food production yielded by organic farming are pure and natural. And with increasing diseases, people like to buy products which are not infected by chemicals. Some other methods of organic farming were crop rotation and companion planting and this provided environment sustainability and food security. Also, it was seen that organic farming helped in the improvement of health as the food production was rich in nutrients. pest management in Organic farming

3. Methods used for pest management in organic farming

  • Cultural Practices: This is a traditional process of pest management that comes under organic farming as it does not include any harmful chemicals and processes. The processes under cultural practices are Crop rotation and Intercropping. Crop rotation is an essential process as it revives the fertility of the soil by growing less nutrition sucking crop time to time and also pests don’t get habitual to a single type of crop and that is why in this method alternate crops are grown every year. Intercropping is a method used to protect the most valuable crop by distracting the pest with two or more other crops grown on the same farm at a suitable distance from each other. The valuable crop which is attracted by the pests the most is cultivated in the middle of the farm surrounded by less valuable crops. pest management in Organic farming
  • Sticky traps: The name of this method speaks for itself; they are different colour rectangular boards with some sticky substance spread all over them. Different colours of boards are used as different insects and flies attract different colour boards. For example, white colour traps are used for cucumber beetles. And the yellow colour trap is commonly used for many kinds of insects and flies like whiteflies, fruit flies, etc. These traps are kept at a distance of 3-5 feet. pest management in Organic farming
Best practices for pest management in Organic farming
Yellow Sticky traps
  • Physical pest control: This is one of the simplest methods used for pest control. This method includes hand-picking insects and manually pulling weeds. In this method, there are some more techniques used to like cutting, mulching, mowing, soil coverage, and barriers. Also some equipment such as row covers, protective nets are used. Also, water spray can be used to eliminate insects from the upper surface of the plant.
  • Biological way: This method includes microorganisms that are not harmful to the plants. But on the contrary, some microorganisms are beneficial in many ways. One way to use those microorganisms is to preserve rival insects in the natural environment and then release them in the farms where the pest is destroying the crops. And the other way is to boost the population of those naturally occurring microorganisms to benefit the growth of the plant.
  • Oil sprays: This is a very effective method to kill pests on the spot as it suffocates the pest. But you have to be extra careful while using this method. This method should not be used during peak time when flower blossoms. Also, this method can’t be used on plants which are lacking moisture. For this method, several kinds of oils are available in the market but lighter and more refined horticultural oils are preferred. pest management in Organic farming
  • Bio-pesticides: Bio-pesticides are substances that neither harms humans nor plants. They usually affect the targeted pests and related microorganisms. For example, some bitter substances like neem are spread all over the plants by Indian farmers. This is a slow method but a very effective one. pest management in Organic farming
Best practices for pest management in Organic farming
Spraying biopesticides on plants