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No-Spray IPM

Growing fruit organically is notoriously difficult because of the wide variety of pests and diseases that can cause major problems for fruit crops. Despite that, we are committed to a 100% no-spray philosophy here. We do not, and will not, use pesticides of any kind at HFF, even those allowed under organic certification standards. But that doesn't mean we are entirely at the mercy of pests. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach we utilize at HFF for managing pests within acceptable levels (versus trying to completely eliminate them) and with the least disruption to agroecosystems. We combine our no-spray management system with the IPM system, in what is essentially a no-spray IPM.

Organic IPM is based on a strategy of five components:


  1. Acceptable Pest Levels: Pests only need to be economically controlled, not eradicated. If we eradicate pests, we also eliminate their predators!

  2. Prevention: Many pests and diseases can be managed by the use of "cultural practices" such as selecting resistant varieties, proper orchard floor management, removal of diseased plants, cleaning pruning shears, etc. For example, all the apple varieties we grow are resistant to the major fungal diseases in our area (cedar apple rust, fire blight, and apple scab). Also, maintaining high biodiversity on the farm is really the best preventitive thing we can do. Birds, predatory insects, spiders, toads, bats, and other beneficial buddies are always at work eating pests before they become problematic. 

  3. Monitoring: Regular monitoring of pests is of critical importance. Visual monitoring, monitoring traps, and record-keeping can all help you stay one step ahead of pests and give you time to plan how to deal with an infestation.

  4. Mechanical Control: If pests reach an unacceptable level, physically removing them is our first line of defense. 

  5. Responsible Biological Control: Our second and final line of defense is natural, biological control in the form of microorganisms, beneficial fungi, beneficial insects, etc. In regular IPM systems, the next step would be some kind of chemical control or spray, but we feel if such steps are needed to grow a certain crop in this area, we will just switch to a different crop that doesn't need those sprays.

organic, apple, ipm, goldrush, disease-resistant, variety, cultivar, scab, CAR, fire blight, cedar apple rust
Parasitic wasp eggs on a caterpillar
neem, natural pesticide, tree, leaves, IPM
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