Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘IPM’

IPM – Continuously improving the way we manage pests on our potatoes!

Blog 12Integrated Pest Management – or IPM for short – sounds big and combative, but in reality, it is a basic concept that has become a part of the fabric of agriculture that helps farmers limit pest populations (insects, weeds and diseases) and prevent pests from creating havoc in our crops without relying completely on chemical pesticides.  In the world of potatoes, Wisconsin growers were early pioneers of biologically-based IPM and are recognized nationally for their adoption of advanced approaches for managing pests in their crops.

What is IPM and how is it done?  As it’s name implies, IPM integrates a wide range of tactics that hold pest populations below damaging levels. These can range from biological and cultural approaches at the local level to regionally-based systems that predict and geographically track pest locations and numbers.  It is a basic approach where you get to know everything there is to know about your crop’s pests – where do they come from and when, how do they behave and why, what are their vulnerabilities – and then determine which practices can be best used to exploit these pests and prevent them from entering their crop or causing damage after they do. IPM integrates basic practices such as moving crops in the landscape to make them harder to find, scouting to determine which pests are where, physical barriers to foil entry, tillage and smother crops to limit weeds and predicting pest development with more advanced practices, such as varietal resistance, advanced technologies to diagnose problems quickly and accurately, and using ecologically based processes and geo-referencing to track populations across broad regions. All of these fit under the IPM umbrella, and pesticides are used only when necessary to prevent damage.   (more…)

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Thoughts for Food: The Leafhoppers are Coming!

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It’s the growing season in the Central Sands and a new crop is emerging; carrots are peeking up amid the oats, a “nurse crop” that is used to protect the delicate young carrot seedlings from damaging winds and all of us have an expectation for another great crop.  Although most Wisconsin farmers are keeping an eye on the carrots, they are also concerned with what’s happening in southwest Arkansas.  Why? (more…)

Thoughts for Food: Protecting the Environment While Managing Pests

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Imagine those delicious tomatoes you just planted. You can already taste that juicy and tangy first bite! But not so fast; it’s not quite that simple. It’s June and three of your plants are mysteriously missing – cutworms! What are they? Where did they come from? The rest of your plants are hidden by a thicket of weeds. ‘I didn’t plant those!’ you think to yourself. It’s July and we are back on track. But wait. Half the leaves have been torn off, the rest are covered in brown spots—hornworms? The news says it’s early blight – how, why?  So it goes on into fall when you finally pick your few remaining treasures before some new plague devours them.

Fighting the critters that devour our plants is pretty much a given, whether you are tending a small kitchen garden or farming 1,000 acres. If you want your crop to succeed, then you need to know not only what your crop needs, but what makes those critters tick! (more…)

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