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Control of plant pests in organic agriculture

The protection of organic crops relies mainly on appropriate treatments and cultivation techniques. Crop rotation and maintaining the biological activity and high fertility of soil are key measures.

Crop rotation in organic farming has several important functions:

  1. It maintains an optimal humus content and soil fertility through the use of natural and green fertilizers, catch crops, and the introduction of Fabaceae plants;
  2. It prevents the spread of diseases and pests; sowing plants from the same botanical group on the same field for several consecutive years should be avoided;
  3. It prevents uncontrolled growth of weeds; this requires regular mechanical weeding, the introduction of catch crops, inter-cropping to prevent weed infestation, and the use of plant varieties that are competitive to weeds (e.g. strongly tillering cereals);
  4. It increases the biodiversity of agricultural biocenoses, by keeping field margins, bushes, and flower belts.

It is extremely important to use healthy and weed-free seed material. 

Plant species and varieties grown on organic farms should have natural disease resistance.

The use of herbicides is strictly forbidden, and thus a lot of physical work is required from farmers (including mechanical weeding). Fields and crops should be continuously and regularly monitored for the presence of weeds, pathogens and/or pests, to allow for their prompt control.

Sometimes, despite the use of all the above-mentioned preventive measures, it is necessary to use interventional selected plant protection products. These can only be plant protection products approved by IOR-PIB for use in organic farming systems, and containing active substances listed in Annex II to Commission Regulation (EC) no. 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) no. 834/2007 on the organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, and that have been approved for marketing in Poland.

Plant protection products approved for use in organic farming systems are listed at https://www.ior.poznan.pl/1631,srodki-ochrony-roslin-do-upraw-ekologicznych and https://www.gov.pl/web/rolnictwo/rodki-ochrony-roslin-spelniajace-wymogi-produkcji-ekologicznej. The list includes plant protection products approved for use based on regulations on organic farming developed by MRiRW, except the Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of 2 March 2010 on institutions assessing and confirming the compliance of products for organic farming with the requirements set out in regulations regarding organic farming and maintaining a list of these products (Journal of Laws 2010 no. 54 item 326).

  • Platforma Sygnalizacji Agrofagów

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Instytut Ochrony Roślin - Państwowy Instytut Badawczy

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