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April 12, 2007

Organic program teaches methods to fight pests and disease

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Organic produce growers have fewer weapons to use when it comes to fighting pests and disease than conventional growers, said a Purdue University expert.

"Organic growers need to focus on prevention," said Dan Egel, Purdue regional pest management specialist. "Part of prevention is knowing and identifying the diseases in your area and for your crop."

Session three of the Tri-State Organic IP-Video Program will focus on insect and disease control in organic vegetables. The program is from 6-8:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday (April 19). Egel and others will cover a variety of topics.

For example, Egel said that successful management of bacterial spot of tomatoes requires having a three-year crop rotation. This means that nothing in the tomato plant family can be planted for two years after the tomato. In contrast, Fusarium wilt of watermelon requires rotations of six or more years during which watermelon and related plants can not be grown.

It is critical for growers to know what diseases are present and how to lessen their impact.

Program registration is $10 per person/farm and is due Tuesday (April 17). The fee includes workshop materials and refreshments. A registration form is available online at http://www.conf.purdue.edu/VIDEO/ or to register by phone, call Lynn Stocksick at (765) 494-2753. There is no charge for students, teachers, Extension educators and USDA staff (indicate COMP on registration form).

Speakers and their presentations include:

* Rick Foster, Purdue entomology specialist, "Preventing Insect Problems in Organic Vegetable Systems."

* Rick Weinzierl, University of Illinois Extension pest management and crop production specialist, "Biological Control and Organic Pesticides in Organic Vegetable Production."

* Egel, "Diagnosis and Prevention of Vegetable Diseases in Organic Systems."

* Sally Miller, Ohio State University plant pathologist, "Specific Approaches to Disease Management in Organic Systems."

A question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.

The IP-videoconference can be viewed at Purdue Extension offices in Aurora, Bloomington, Brazil, Corydon, Danville, Evansville, Frankfort, Greenfield, Greensburg, LaGrange, New Castle, Plymouth, Rockport, Scottsburg and Winamac. Additional viewing sites also include the Orange County Learning Center in Paoli; Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center in Vincennes; Pinney-Purdue Agricultural Center in Wanatah; and Purdue's Pfendler Hall, Room 241, in West Lafayette.

The IP-video series is made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and its Risk Management Agency.

For questions and more information, contact Jerry Nelson at (812) 886-9582, jnelson@purdue.edu.

Writer: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050, douglajk@purdue.edu

Sources: Dan Egel, (812) 886-0198, egel@purdue.edu

Jerry Nelson, (812) 886-9582, jnelson@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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