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Organic Farmers Must Be More Inventive When Protecting Crops From Pests

November 29, 2010: 09:52 AM EST

Organic farmers have to be more resourceful in protecting crops from pests, because they don’t have access to the chemical pesticides used by conventional farmers. Powerful organic bug sprays just don’t exist. But organic farmers have access to a growing body of knowledge about methods, known collectively as integrated pest management, to keep bugs at bay. That knowledge is growing at least partly because the 2008 farm bill provides $20 million a year to research organic pest control technologies. The funding supports 24 current research projects. A key finding so far: natural enemies are the cornerstone of organic pest control. Wild sunflowers, for example, provide a home to lady beetles and parasitic wasps that kill bad bugs; planting alyssum among lettuce plants attracts hoverflies that kill destructive aphids.

Jim Robbins, "Farmers Find Organic Arsenal to Wage War on Pests", N Y Times, November 29, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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