With more and more consumers shying away from agricultural products grown using chemicals, many small farmers are making the switch to organic farming techniques in order to increase profitability. Maintaining your organic status means ensuring that no chemicals come into contact with your produce, which can make pest control a challenge.
Here are three natural, yet effective pest control tactics you can employ on your small farm without risking your organic status in the future.
1. Use bigger predators to get rid of slugs.
Slugs can wreak havoc on your harvest, and managing these pests can be a challenge when chemical control tactics aren't an option. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided a simple way for you to eliminate slugs without risking chemical exposure.
Relying on larger predators (like chickens or ducks) to manage slugs for you can be effective. These larger predators eat the slugs without damaging your crop, and they can even help fertilize your fields as they work. Turn a flock of chickens or ducks loose if you have a slug problem, and let nature take its course to manage slugs without chemicals.
2. Attract hoverflies to get rid of aphids.
Aphids are small pests that can cause a significant amount of damage if their populations are left unchecked. While conventional farmers can use chemical sprays to treat their crops for aphid infestations, you don't have that luxury if you want to maintain your organic status. Attracting hoverflies to your fields can be a simple way to get rid of aphids.
Hoverflies eat aphids, so the more hoverflies are in the area where an aphid infestation is present, the quicker you can resolve your pest problem. Attract hoverflies to your fields by intermingling sweet alyssum plants in with your crop. These flowers are a beacon for aphid-eating hoverflies.
3. Use row covers to eliminate cucumber beetles.
If you grow cucumbers or melons to sell to the public, you know how devastating cucumber beetles can be. These pests not only wreak havoc on your yield counts, but they can transmit deadly bacteria wilt throughout your crop. Eliminating cucumber beetles through chemical measures isn't an option for your organic crop, but you can use row covers to effectively curb beetle populations.
Row covers are simply large structures made from plastic materials that can be placed over rows of plants. Row covers allow sunlight and moisture to get in, but keep pests like the cucumber beetle out.
Taking the time to identify some organic pest control tactics will help you keep your crops in good condition without compromising your harvest's organic status.