Integrated pest management is a pest control approach in which growers use a variety of economically and environmentally acceptable practices, such as tillage systems, traps and beneficial insects, turning to chemical pesticides only as a last resort.

In the first phases of the organic crucifer production  project, Fadamiro and his research collaborators from Auburn—including plant pathology professor Joe Kloepper, organic vegetable production research fellow Jan Garrett, Extension entomologist Ayanava Majumdar and agricultural economics associate professor Deacue Fields—and from Alabama A&M University and the University of Florida will investigate the effectiveness of a number of IPM tactics that are approved under federal organic production standards, including trap crops that lure pests away from the cash crops, attractants, biocontrol techniques, biopesticides and induced disease resistance.

On-farm research trials will be part of the project, Fadamiro said, noting that at least 10 organic vegetable growers across the state have signed on to participate in the study.

Other major components of the project will include analyses of the costs of integrating IPM tools into production systems, identifying possible barriers to on-farm adoption and, finally, transferring the technology to producers through training and education.

Fadamiro’s proposal was one of only 23 projects nationwide selected to receive a portion of a total $19 million in funding awarded through NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and its Organic Transitions Program, both of which aim to help organic producers and processors grow and market high-quality organic agricultural products.