Pests include insects, diseases, weeds, rodents, birds, nematodes, and more. Over the last century, changes in scale (large fields of one crop), loss of biodiversity (e.g. continuous wheat production), and introduction of exotic insects, diseases, and weeds, have all contributed to a conventional agricultural system with a high potential for pest damage that relies heavily on chemical control. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) reduces use of and reliance on synthetic pesticides for pest management by integrating biological, physical, and chemical pest control practices and strategies. CSANR has focused its pest management work within WSU on approaches and practices that are more biologically based and/or that are allowable for use on organic farms.
Biological pest management starts with an understanding of the pest itself (life cycle, vulnerable stages) and its interaction with crops or livestock (host resistance, economic thresholds, etc.). Resistant varieties or crop rotation that deprives a pest of its host plant, represent key biological practices for farmers. Increasing biological control by natural enemies is more complex and requires a higher level of knowledge to lead to consistent success.
Crop Protection Pages