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Pest and Disease Control

 

Insect pests and plant diseases can destroy vegetables. Without control, pests and diseases would decimate our crops. We understand that it is environmentally and economically irresponsible to allow such a waste of resources. However, we do not support the indiscriminate use of chemicals as an acceptable control practice. We believe that natural methods should be the first line of defence against insect pests and plant diseases. The natural methods we use include:

   Maintenance of a healthy production environment

Prevention is better than cure. By creating and maintaining a healthy production environment, the type and number of pests and diseases attacking crops can be significantly reduced. One thing that we do to maintain a healthy production environment is to separate paddocks with buffer zones. Smaller enclosed paddocks are less attractive to pest and diseases compared to huge open production areas.

We never plant the same crop in the same paddock over and over again. We rotate crops so pests and diseases are not able to feed indefinitely on the crop they prefer. Also, we immediately remove or incorporate into the soil any crop residue left after harvest to reduce the pest and disease pressure on the following crop.

Encourage natural predators

Several small birds such as Willy wag tails, wrens, swallows and others help us control insect pests. The trees we have planted around the farm house many of these birds. These trees also house lots of beneficial insects. Beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings, parasitic wasps, and hoverfly larvae feed on insect pests. When these beneficial insects are allowed to multiply, they can be one of the greatest tools to control insect pests naturally.

Integrated pest management

We are fully committed to the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles. One of the principles of IPM that we follow is to identify potential pests before they become a problem. By systematically monitoring our crops, through regular inspection, we check whether natural predators are keeping insect pests under control. In the few occasions that natural predators are not able to cope with the number of pests, we have a number of biological products that we can apply over the crops to assist in reducing pests to a more manageable number.

 


 
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Peter Schreurs and Sons
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