According to USDA organic regulations, organic farming systems should rely on cultural, mechanical, and biologically-based practices to prevent pests from reaching economically-damaging levels.   GMOs are not allowed, and the use of synthetic insecticides in organic crop production is virtually excluded. Only when cultural, mechanical, and biological practices are insufficient to prevent or control crop pests may an allowable substance be applied to suppress pests. Even though allowable materials are available, their cost is often prohibitive for use in agronomic crops. In this webinar, we will provide a brief overview of commonly-recommended insect management practices for organic agronomic crops, and discuss in more depth practices that affect insect communities in the context of ecological food webs. We will provide specific examples of practices that promote “top-down” control of insect populations by natural enemies, such as ground and tiger beetles; and “bottom-up” control through management effects (e.g., soil fertility) on the quality of crops as a host plant for plant-feeding insects.

CCA/CPAg:  1.0 Integrated Pest Management
CPSS/CPSC:  1.0 Professional Meeting

Speaker Information:
Mary Barbercheck
Professor and Extension Specialist of Entomology
Penn State University

Mary Barbercheck is Professor and Extension Specialist of Entomology at Penn State University. Since 2002, her research has focused on the effects of cover crop-based rotational no-till and other approaches to reducing tillage on soil-dwelling arthropods, insect pathogens (nematodes and fungi), and soil function in transitioning and organic agronomic crop systems.  Her extension programs focus on biologically-based IPM, the soil food web, and soil health in agricultural production systems. 

Ariel Rivers
Dual-title Doctoral Candidate in Entomology and International Agriculture and Development
Penn State University

Ariel Rivers is a dual-title doctoral candidate in entomology and international agriculture and development at Penn State University. Ariel has a broad background in on-farm resource conservation. In her doctoral research she is examining the effects of diverse, reduced-tillage cropping systems on the ground-dwelling arthropod community, with a goal of understanding the impacts of agricultural practices on biological control of pest arthropods.

Ebony Murrell
Postdoctoral Research Associate in Ecosystem Science and Management
Penn State University

Ebony Murrell is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Ecosystem Science and Management at Penn State University.  Her research focuses on using organic farming practices to suppress insect pests.  Her most recent research has investigated whether soil fertilization and cover cropping can be used to increase predatory insects, improve plant chemical defenses against herbivory, or do both.

$25.00 Members/Certified Professionals
$40.00 Non-members

You have 30 days to view this content after purchase.

Seminar Information
Seminar Date:
November 03, 2015
No Pesticides? No Problem! Insect Management in Organic Cropping Systems
Speaker Information
Mary Barbercheck   [ view bio ]
Ebony Murrell   [ view bio ]
Ariel Rivers   [ view bio ]
Individual topic purchase: Selected
Soil Science Society of America
Professional Meetings: 1.00
American Society of Agronomy
Integrated Pest Management : 1.00
Member/Certified Professional Price:$25.00
Non-Member Price:$40.00