Managing Beneficial Insects and Using Pest Trap Crops in Organic Broccoli
In his previous producer grant (FS02-146) Charles Church grew and sold 14,000 pounds of organic broccoli using a biologically based IPM program. This is particularly significant because he is a North Carolina farmer looking for high-value alternatives to tobacco. He accomplished this, in part, by creating habitat for beneficial insects. He was able to successfully control caterpillars but did have problems with aphids and harlequin bugs as the season progressed.
In this current project, he intends to identify and develop trap crops for harlequin bugs and improve the predator populations for aphid control. He will use the trap crop of mustard to attract harlequin bugs and then hit them with timed sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis. This will be in addition to farmscaping border areas with habitat (Umbelliferia and Compositae families) that attracts and provides food and shelter to beneficial insects (e.g. yarrow, dill, fennel and tansy). He will monitor pest/natural enemy populations and use supplemental natural enemy releases of beneficial insects if needed.