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Plant pest control in organic agriculture

Organic crops are protected mainly by means of appropriate treatments and cultivation techniques. The key measures used for that purpose are crop rotation and keeping soils biologically active and highly fertile.

Crop rotation in organic farming serves multiple essential purposes, Specifically, it:

  • helps keep humus content and soil fertility at optimal levels through the use of natural and green fertilizers, catch crops, and Fabaceae plant introductions;
  • prevents the spread of diseases and pests by rotating crops and specifically by refraining from sowing plants from the same botanical group in the same field for multiple consecutive years;
  • prevents the uncontrolled growth of weeds; this requires regular mechanical weeding, the use of catch crops, inter-cropping to prevent weed infestation, and the use of plant varieties that are competitive to weeds (such as strongly tillering cereals);
  • increases field biodiversity by maintaining field margins, bushes, and flower belts.

It is critical to use healthy and weed-free seeds. 

It is also vital to select naturally-disease-resistant plant species and varieties for organic cultivation.

As the use of all herbicides are strictly prohibited, farmers are forced to resort to the use of methods involving extensive physical labor (including mechanical weeding). Fields and crops must be regularly monitored for the presence of weeds, pathogens and/or pests, to enable their prompt control.

At times, despite all the above-mentioned preventive measures, it becomes necessary to resort to the use of selected plant protection products on an ad hoc basis. Such products must be approved by the IPP-NRI for use in organic farming, may only contain such active substances as are 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 organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labeling and control, and must be approved for marketing in Poland.

Plant protection products approved for use in organic production 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. These lists include plant protection products approved for use drawn up on the basis of organic farming regulations made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, other than Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of 2 March 2010 on institutions that assess and verify the compliance of organic farming products with the requirements set out in organic farming regulations and that maintain a list of such products (Official Journal 2010 no. 54 item 326).

  • Platforma Sygnalizacji Agrofagów

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Instytut Ochrony Roślin - Państwowy Instytut Badawczy

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