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Disease Management

Effect of Biosolarization and Cover Crops on Weeds and Soil-borne Pathogens

As the negative health and environmental effects of chemical soil fumigation become more apparent, it is critical to devise safe, alternative methods of soil fumigation. Organic growers constantly struggle with weed control and need innovative, chemical‐free weed management techniques. 

On-Farm Assessment of Melon and Cucumber Feedstocks for Downy Mildew and Bacterial Wilt

In this project I will assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seedstocks, and move forward with an ongoing project to develop a pickling cucumber that is resistant to both diseases.

Corn Earworm Management: A Survey of Organic Sweet Corn Growers

The objectives of this project are to attain information about the corn earworm management strategies of organic sweet corn growers. This information will be used to achieve two outcomes: creation of an extension publication about corn earworm management strategies, aimed at organic farmers, and collection of data that will inform longer-term efforts of developing earworm-resistant sweet corn cultivars for organic farmers.

Flowering Plants in Organic Strawberry Fields to Enhance Natural Enemies and Pollinators and Improve Pest Control and Fruit Quality

Methods to conserve and augment beneficial insects in modern horticultural production systems are needed given issues with pest resistance to insecticides, pest resurgence due to lack of natural enemies, and replacement of native with invasive species. Production systems also require pollinators and, in recent years, declines in managed and wild species have been well documented. Organic agriculture systems are less disturbed by insecticides and well suited to benefit from practices designed to improve abundance and diversity of beneficial insects.

A New Approach for Successful Organic Peach Production in the Southeast

The production of organic peaches is extremely difficult under the humid conditions of the Southeast due to high pest and disease pressures, and the lack of effective, organically approved pesticides. Consequently, only very few growers have taken the risk and transitioned into organic peach farming. This proposal aims to provide growers in the Southeast with a new tool to reduce the risk of transitioning to organic production of peaches. This strategy consists of the use of paper bags to physically protect the fruit from pests and diseases to reduce reliance on spray applications.

Impact of Disease Suppressive Composts on Organic Vegetable Quality, Composition and Yield

Project Objectives

-Analyze several animal manure-based, organic-approved compost products for suppression of important soil-borne pathogens of vegetable crops in the Northeast -Determine applicability of a farmer-based test kit for assessment of compost maturity to predict suppressiveness -Evaluate compost effects on plant stand and crop composition -Determine changes in microbial activity, disease suppressiveness and soil nitrate nitrogen of organically managed soils after addition of a compost 

Evaluation of mulching materials and limestone rates for management of fusarium wilt of sweet basil

Basil fusarium wilt is a seed-borne disease that can severely reduce basil yields. The biggest concern, however, is that the pathogen can persist in the soil for ten or more years preventing the future use of the land for basil production. The objective of this study was to develop organic control methods that would allow production in infested soil. Several organic mulches, a biocontrol product (Rootshield), and lime applications were examined on soil intentionally infested with fusarium. Basil plants mulched with a composted pine bark had the lowest incidence of fusarium wilt.

Intercropping with resistant varieties for management of plant diseases in organic tomato production

The objectives of this research were to: 1) Evaluate susceptibility to early blight in 16 heirloom and modern hybrid cultivars. 2) Evaluate whether disease incidence and severity are reduced on a susceptible tomato variety intercropped with a resistant variety, compared to a monoculture of the susceptible variety.

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