- Agronomic: hops
- Crop Production: biological inoculants, no-till, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: agritourism
- Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
- Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, cultural control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: soil microbiology, organic matter, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities
The purpose of this grant was to determine whether biological disease and insect control could be effective enough to maintain pest pressure below economic thresholds and still produce a quality organic hop crop.
As many new yards are cropping up all around the Midwest, people are needing to relearn what may be effective, sustainable, and responsible pest management strategies for hops in the modern day world.
In the winter of 2010, we engaged a biological crop protection person who marketed to the greenhouse industry and asked to experiment with those same bio-pesticides. We also set up to purchase beneficial parasites and predators from another vendor.
In the Spring of 2011, we used the approval of the grant to both expand the experimental test plot from 1/5 to 3/5 of an acre, purchase more rhizomes, and purchase the different OMRI bio-rational pest control products. Once the expansion was complete, we started to introduce beneficial mites to control any two-spotted spider mite damage that may occur. Our results can be found below.
Our objectives were to determine if biological disease and insect control could be achieved in an outdoor organic hop yard setting versus some of the more established biological programs found in greenhouse settings. Many people's general conclusions were that because it was not in an enclosed setting, the beneficial organisms would either not survive or move off-site. We found out later that conventional wisdom was incorrect.