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 Resource Guide to Organic Insect and Disease Management Minimize

Second Edition of Best Seller Is Hot Off the Press

by Eric Sideman, Ph.D.

In 2005, MOFGA, OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) and NEON (Northeast Organic Network) jointly produced the Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management. We used a fact sheet style with chapters covering the pests and diseases found in four crop families, and chapters on 13 materials used in organic management. This style was very well received. In fact, the Guide was the number one bestseller on the Cornell online bookstore, and we received in 2006 an award for “Outstanding New Extension Publication” from the New York State Association of County Agriculture Agents.

In 2008 some of the same authors thought it was time to expand and update the book. Taking the lead this time, MOFGA applied for and received a SARE (USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant. Now, five years later, the second edition of the Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management is available.

The manual continues to be based on information developed in research trials. While other published guides exist (e.g., New England Vegetable Management Guide and popular organic farming literature), our approach is different. These existing resources do not incorporate unbiased efficacy trial information and often do not focus on products approved for organic production, nor practices and their success in complex systems integral to successful organic production.

A key to our approach this time was to work with farmers through farm visits and group meetings to assess their perspective on which problems are important. In addition, we discussed with famers their thoughts on efficacy of both cultural practices and materials recommended in the first edition.

The new edition of the Guide again has two primary sections. The first provides cultural information and management practices for nine crop families, adding four families that were not included in the initial publication (alliums, umbels, chenopods and legumes). The principal insects and diseases of these important families are identified with text and pictures. Their biology, including life cycles, are presented. Understanding that biology allows growers to prepare for potential pest problems and plan cultural avoidance or protection practices. The book emphasizes that cultural practices should be the first line of management and that spray materials should be a last resort, i.e., used as a rescue treatment if cultural practices fail. Unlike most available resources, we base our recommendations on efficacy studies done at universities and experiences of the authors who have been working with organic growers for decades.

The second section includes updated material fact sheets that were in the first edition, plus several additional fact sheets on promising materials, including sulfur, hydrogen peroxide, and the beneficial Trichoderma sp. (beneficial fungi) and Streptomyces lydicus (a beneficial actinomycete). Each fact sheet includes background information about the type of material, how it is made, how it works, the types of pests it controls, application guidelines, and a description of its environmental and human health effects. Efficacy is described in a summary account and through graphs.

The book also has updated information on changes to the National Organic Program regulations and OMRI status of recommended materials.

Even if you have the first edition, the second edition of the Resource Guide to Organic Insect and Disease Management is a must.

The new edition of the Guide is available both in hard copy for sale at http://calsbookstore-lamp.cit.cornell.edu/catalog/ or as a free pdf at http://web.pppmb.cals.cornell.edu/resourceguide/.

Eric Sideman is MOFGA’s organic crop specialist. You can contact him at 568-4142 or esideman@mofga.org.


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