Implementing Organic practices in Modern Apple Growing

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $8,945.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: River Falls Research Orchard
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Gabe Olson-Jensen
River Falls Research Orchard


  • Fruits: apples


  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    The problem I am trying to solve is using organic practices in apple growing over harsh fungicides and insecticides. The first step is utilizing pheromone disruption as one of the main practices. Pheromone disruption is the use of pheromone to disrupt the female and the male insect so they can't reproduce. This will greatly reduce insecticide use as it reduces the number of insects.  The main insect I’m targeting is the Codling Moth. It gets into the apple as a small larvae and makes it bumpy. There are a few forms of organic disruption: "Puffers"and pheromone strips-Puffers are on a timer and will puff out pheromones at certain intervals. Strips will sit on the tree and passively put off the pheromone. The second product I will use is Drape Net. It is a protective netting generallly used for hail, but I think it can be used as a IPM practice as the netting is fine and it won’t let insects in. I can easily tie it to the first wire of the trellis and it will protect the trees from any insects.  I will also use various organic and biological sprays that can easily be sprayed through the netting.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Trial, test, and evaluate different organic sprays over 23 months. Look exactly at the effectiveness and long term vitality in fruit growing.

    2. Test and evaluate different organic nutrients on Honeycrisp along with weekly applications of calcium.

    3. Test drape net for a  insect barrier in trellis systems. It is commonly used for hail protection but some growers think it will work for insect protection.

    4. Test and evaluate several  pheromone disrupting products including puffers and strips.

    5. Test and evaluate all these practices on several new cultivars that are Honeycrisp progeny because it has issues with disease.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.