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Pest Manag Sci. 2016 Jan;72(1):30-44. doi: 10.1002/ps.4145. Epub 2015 Oct 6.

Plant disease management in organic farming systems.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Agriculture Research Organization, ARO Volcani Center , Bet Dagan, Israel.
Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, Ecological Plant Protection, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany.


Organic farming (OF) has significantly increased in importance in recent decades. Disease management in OF is largely based on the maintenance of biological diversity and soil health by balanced crop rotations, including nitrogen-fixing and cover crops, intercrops, additions of manure and compost and reductions in soil tillage. Most soil-borne diseases are naturally suppressed, while foliar diseases can sometimes be problematic. Only when a severe disease outbreak is expected are pesticides used that are approved for OF. A detailed overview is given of cultural and biological control measures. Attention is also given to regulated pesticides. We conclude that a systems approach to disease management is required, and that interdisciplinary research is needed to solve lingering disease problems, especially for OF in the tropics. Some of the organic regulations are in need of revision in close collaboration with various stakeholders.


biological control; cultural control; organic agriculture; plant diseases; soil health; systems approach

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