Identification of Cover Crops to Enhance the Habitat of Specific Beneficial Insects in Sustainable Production Systems
Farmers are reporting great success in California in their efforts to reduce both the need for insecticides and the repeated release of beneficial insects. They have accomplished this by developing plant mixes that attract and retain beneficial insects and by sowing and mowing these mixes at the appropriate times during the growing seasons.
There is great potential for similar programs in North Carolina. However, there is little information available in the region on relationships between specific beneficial insects and the appropriate plant species that would attract and retain them. The producer intends to develop this type of information. If successful, he believes that there would be great potential for local production of cover crop seed mixes and the consequent reduction in the use of insecticides.
The producer plans to develop information on selected cover crop species that can provide habitat for beneficial insects for vegetable production and a cotton – peanut rotation in North Carolina. He will also determine if inserting the selected cover crops into existing vegetable and/or peanut – cotton rotation increases the presence and activity of beneficial insects and reduces the need for intervention.