How to Make Recommendations for Using Organic Products: Research and Anecdotal Evidence Jeanine Davis Department of Horticultural Science NC State University 2009 Photos by Jeanine Davis and Amy Hamilton unless noted otherwise
There aren’t statewide, University/ Extension published guides like these to use for organic farms.
Because of the nature of organic agriculture, we probably never will have “cookbook” guidelines for production. • Systems approach • Microclimates • Every farm is different • And does the cookbook method really work for other farms?
To serve this industry, we can make recommendations based on: • Appropriate research. • What we observe on farms (anecdotal). • What we learn from conversations with farmers, industry reps, etc. • What we learn from our trusted colleagues. • What we glean from the Web and other electronic media.
Search out quality information • Check credentials • What is the author’s experience? • Is there a bias? • Is the information based on research and/or personal experience? Or is it personal opinion? Good Questionable for our purposes
Research on organic control products is limited and results are often contradictory Example of an entry in the Cornell Resource Guide EUROPEAN CORN BORER (Ostrinia nubilalis)Materials Approved for Organic Production: Bt kurstaki: No recent studies on peppers; however, Bt can be effective but has a very short residual protection. Spinosad: Recent studies: 3 good, 1 poor result on this crop.
Make observations in the field, critically read everything you can find, share information with your colleagues.
Compile information in a way that you can interpret it Fictional; for illustration purposes only
Search the web for up to date, university based info like this: Powerpoint
Keep in mind that what works in your county might be different from other areas, or even from farm to farm in your county. Organic Late Blight Control-Research Findings:
This is similar to what we see with conventional production Powdery mildew on pepper: NC: azoxystrobin FL: pyraclostrobin, azoxystrobin , trifloxystrobin, Kaligreen CA: myclobutanil, pyraclostrobin, sulfur, Kaligreen KY: azoxystrobin, benomyl, fenarimol, kresoxymmethyl, myclobutanil, propiconazole, triforine, thiophanate-methyl, triadimefon, trifloxystrobin.
Analyze all the information, and in consultation with specialists and other agents, come up with recommendations for your area. Example
Example of how to “word it” “Farmer John, we don’t have any research based recommendations for organic control of powdery mildew in NC. Matter of fact, there has been very little research conducted on it anywhere that I can find. The two studies I read about in NY and Calif. suggest that Kaligreen is effective. On other organic farms in our county, I’ve observed success with sulfur and once with a bicarbonate material. So why don’t we try a small test here with those products and see what kind of control you get. Maybe I can talk Farmer Alice into doing it, too and then we can get some answers.”
This is the part of handling organics that makes some agents uncomfortable. Here’s Jeanine’s advice: • Have faith in yourself. You are a trained horticulturist. The same basic principles apply to organics as to conventional crops. • Think in terms of systems. Don’t just look at the disease or insect. Look at the plant, the field, and everything surrounding the field. • You know how to look for the answers. You have the resources. • With your resources, training, and experience, you can evaluate the situation and make good recommendations for your organic farmers. • You won’t have all the answers all the time. Sometimes you have to say, “I don’t know, so how about if we try a little test.” • In time, you will gain confidence and answers, but that only comes through doing it.
Some organic disease and insect control products that work in my area: For Disease: For Insects: • Serenade • Sonata • Oxidate • Sporatec • Surround • Actinovate • Copper • Potassium biocarbonate • Saf-T-Side • Neem • Diatomaceous earth • PyGanic • Dipel • Ecotec • M-Pede • Entrust • Spinosad
Acknowledgements This presentation address general organic production practices. It is to be to use in planning and conducting organic horticulture trainings. The presentation is part of project funded by a Southern SARE PDP titled “Building Organic Agriculture Extension Training Capacity in the Southeast” Project Collaborators • Elena Garcia, University of Arkansas CESHeather Friedrich, University of ArkansasObadiah Njue, University of Arkansas at Pine BluffJeanine Davis, North Carolina State UniversityGeoff Zehnder, Clemson UniversityCharles Mitchell, Auburn UniversityRufina Ward, Alabama A&M UniversityKen Ward, Alabama A&M UniversityKaren Wynne, Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network