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Mis à jour : il y a 1 heure 47 min

Managing Squash Bugs in Organic Farming Systems

ven, 2018/08/03 - 15:44

eOrganic author:

William E. Snyder, Department of Entomology, Washington State University - Pullman

This article examines the biology and management of squash bugs in organic farming systems.

Squash Bug Life Cycle and Biology

The squash bug (Anasa tristis; Fig. 1) is a major pest of cucurbit crops in North America (Worthley, 1923). The large, distinctive adults (Fig. 1A) overwinter in residue from the previous year’s cucurbit crops, or in other debris in or near the field. For this reason, crop rotation can contribute to controlling the squash bug. Movement of adult squash bugs begins and the spring and continues throughout the summer (Palumbo et al., 1991). The adults feed on all aboveground plant parts using piercing-sucking mouthparts, sucking sap and disrupting the flow of nutrients and water through the plants tissues. The adults lay clumps of distinctive bronze-colored eggs on the plant foliage (Fig. 1A) which hatch into whitish colored nymphs (Fig. 1B) that feed like the adults (Fig. 1C). Adults lay eggs continuously through the growing season so all stages can occur on plants at the same time. Squash bugs only complete one generation each summer farther north in the U.S., but may sometimes complete two generations farther south (Fargo et al., 1988; Decker and Yeargan, 2008).

Squash bug (A) hatching eggs, (B) nymph and (C) adult.
Figure 1. Squash bug (A) hatching egg mass, (B) older nymph and (C) adult. Photo credit: Bill Snyder, Washington State University.

Squash bugs usually damage cucurbits through their direct feeding on the plant. Eventually, feeding damage by heavy squash-bug infestations can cause vines to wilt, turn black, and die. These symptoms superficially resemble bacterial-wilt disease that is transmitted by cucumber beetles but are caused by insect feeding rather than a pathogen. However, in recent years some parts of the U.S. have reported cucurbit damage due to cucurbit yellow vine disease, which is caused by a bacterium (Serratia marcescens) that is transmitted by the squash bug (Bruton et al., 2003; Pair et al., 2004). Plants infected with the yellow vine pathogen exhibit stunted growth, wilting, and yellowing foliage.

Natural Enemies of Squash Bugs on Organic Farms Predators

Figure 2. Key predators of squash bugs include (A) ground beetles and (B) damsel bugs
Figure 2. Predators attacking squash bugs include (A) ground beetles and (B) damsel bugs. Photo credits: (A) Bill Snyder, Washington State University; (B) Ken Yeargan, University of Kentucky.

Adult squash bugs are relatively large and release an odiferous chemical when disturbed. For these reasons there are few known predators of adult squash bugs. The hard eggs of the squash bug resemble seeds and are heavily preyed upon by ground beetles (Fig. 2A) that otherwise feed mostly on weed seeds (Snyder and Wise, 2001). In test plots in Kentucky, predation by ground beetles reduced squash bugs on yellow crookneck squash and increased squash yields. So, these predators have the potential to exert considerable control. The nymphs are also fed upon by predatory damsel (Fig. 2B) and big-eyed bugs (Snyder and Wise, 2001; Rondon et al., 2003; Decker and Yeargan, 2008). Predation of squash bugs can be increased by employing farmscaping strategies that conserve predators.

Parasitoids

A tachinid fly parasitoid, Trichopoda pennipes, attacks nymphs and adults of the squash bug (Worthley, 1923). The female fly lays an egg on the underside of large squash bug nymphs or adults; the larva feeds and develops inside the bug and eventually kills it. Parasitism rates by the tachinid fly can approach 100% in particular fields in particular years (Pickett et al., 1996). Unfortunately, these high rates of parasitism are usually seen only later in the season, after squash bugs have done most of their damage (Decker and Yeargan, 2008). Worse still, parasitized squash bugs continue to feed normally until their death. Several parasitoid wasps (in the families Encyrtidae and Scelionidae) attack squash bug eggs (Olson et al., 1996). However like the parasitoid fly, high egg parasitism rates generally are only seen very late in the season (Decker and Yeargan, 2008). So, both adult and egg parasitoids may be most important in lessening the year-to-year buildup of squash bugs on a farm, rather than achieving pest control within any single year.

Organic Cultural Controls for Squash Bugs

There is little evidence that organic-approved insecticides are very effective against squash bugs (see below), so cultural controls may be the best option for many organic farmers. Cultural controls include crop rotation, good field sanitation, careful variety selection, the use of transplants rather than direct seeding, row covers, mulching for predator conservation, and perimeter trap cropping.

Rotate cucurbit crops

Squash bugs often overwinter near the previous year's; cucurbit crop, so one way to reduce pest problems the next year is to plant cucurbits as far away from last year's crop as possible. However, the bugs are strong fliers, and crop rotation alone is unlikely to completely control squash bugs.

Good field sanitation

Removing crop residue at the end of each growing season can deny squash bugs overwintering sites. This can be accomplished by tilling debris into the soil, or by gathering and hot-composting the residue.

Variety selection

Squash bugs are able to survive much better on some cucurbit varieties (e.g., pumpkin, crookneck squash, and watermelon) than others (e.g., cucumber) (Bonjour and Fargo, 1989; Bonjour et al. ,1990, 1993), so, where markets will allow, avoiding the most susceptible species/varieties can help reduce squash bug problems. Bauernfeind and Nechols (2005) reported differences in relative resistance of cucurbit varieties to squash bug feeding, with varieties ranking, from least to most damage and yield loss, as follows: Butternut, Royal Acorn, Sweet Cheese, Green Striped Cushaw, Pink Banana, and Black Zucchini.

Transplant rather than direct seed

Seedlings and small plants are most susceptible to squash bug feeding damage. Using transplants avoids exposure to squash bug feeding during the most susceptible plant stages. This also reduces the total time that cucurbit plants are in the field each season, providing less time for squash bug densities to build.

Use floating row covers

Floating row covers provide the most reliable defense against squash bugs, when left in place until flowering begins. Rrow covers must eventually be removed to allow bees and other pollinators to visit the flowers. Disadvantages of row covers include their high cost and the fact that they block access to the crop for weeding. Mulches may be used with floating row covers to reduce weed problems.

Apply straw mulch

Straw mulch can help control squash bugs by providing cover and alternative prey for ground beetles, which are key pests of squash bug eggs (Snyder and Wise, 1999, 2001). However, mulches also provide cover for squash bugs themselves (Cranshaw et al., 2001), so the indirect benefits of mulching due to greater biological control may not always offset direct benefits to the squash bugs themselves. However, straw mulches serve other purposes in the production system as well, such as weed control, water conservation, and soil protection.

Good plant vigor

Generally speaking, vigorous older plants appear able to tolerate squash bug damage at fairly high pest densities, without a reduction in yield (e.g., Edelson and Roberts, 2005).

Perimeter trap cropping

Ringing the main crop with a highly-attractive trap crop appears to be an effective way to control another devastating cucurbit pest: cucumber beetles. One study (Pair, 1997) indicates that this approach may also be effective for squash bug control.

Approved Chemicals for Organic Control of Squash Bugs

Field trials have reported only spotty success using organic-approved insecticides to control squash bugs, and chemical options may be relatively limited. Organic-approved neem and pyrethrum formulations may provide some control.

Region-specific Information on Squash Bug Biology

NOTE: Many of the controls described on these links are NOT APPROVED FOR USE IN CERTIFIED ORGANIC FARMING, although the details of local squash bug biology are relevant to organic farming systems.

IMPORTANT: Before using any pest control product in your organic farming system:

  1. read the label to be sure that the product is labeled for the crop and pest you intend to control, and make sure it is legal to use in the state, county, or other location where it will be applied,
  2. read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and
  3. make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your USDA-approved certifier. If you are trying to deal with an unanticipated pest problem, get approval from your certifier before using a product that is not listed in your plan—doing otherwise may put your certification at risk.

Note that OMRI and WSDA lists are good places to identify potentially useful products, but all products that you use must be approved by your certifier. For more information on how to determine whether a pest control product can be used on your farm, see the article, Can I Use This Input On My Organic Farm?

References Cited
  • Bauernfeind, R. J., and J. R. Nechols, 2005. Squash bugs and squash vine borers. MF-2508. Kansas State University. (Available online at: http://www.thomas.k-state.edu/lawnandgarden/docs/squashbugs.pdf) (verified 26 Jun 2018).
  • Bonjour, E. L., and W. S. Fargo. 1989. Host effects on the survival and development of Anasa tristis (Heteroptera: Coreidae). Environmental Entomology 18: 1083–1085. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ee/18.6.1083) (verified 5 April 2012).
  • Bonjour, E. L., W. S. Fargo, and P. E. Rensner. 1990. Ovipositional preference of squash bugs (Heteroptera: Coreidae) among cucurbits in Oklahoma. Journal of Economic Entomology 83: 943–947. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jee/83.3.943) (verified 5 April 2012).
  • Bonjour, E. L., W. S. Fargo, A. A. Al-Obaidi, and M. E. Payton. 1993. Host effects on reproduction and adult longevity of squash bugs (Heteroptera: Coreidae). Environmental Entomology 22: 1344–1348. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ee/22.6.1344) (verified 5 April 2012).
  • Bruton, B. D., F. Mitchell F, J. Fletcher, S. D. Pair, A. Wayadande, U. Melcher, J. Brady, B. Bextine, and T. W. Popham. 2003. Serratia marcescens, a phloem-colonizing, squash bug-transmitted bacterium: Causal agent of cucurbit yellow vine disease. Plant Disease 87: 937–944. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS.2003.87.8.937) (verified 5 April 2012).
  • Cranshaw, E., M. Bartolo, and F. Schweissing. 2001. Control of squash bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae) injury: Management manipulations at the base of pumpkin. Southwestern Entomologist 26: 147–150. (Available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290316129_Control_of_squash_bug_injury_Management_manipulations_at_the_base_of_pumpkin) (verified 23 Apr 2018).
  • Decker, K. B., and K. V. Yeargan. 2008. Seasonal phenology and natural enemies of the squash bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae) in Kentucky. Environmental Entomology 37: 670–678. (Available online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18559172) (verified 8 March 2012).
  • Edelson, J. V., and W. Roberts. 2005. Watermelon growth and yield reductions caused by squash bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae) feeding. Southwestern Entomologist 30: 17–22.
  • Fargo, W. S., P. E. Rensner, E. L. Bonjour, and T. L. Wagner. 1988. Population dynamics in the squash bug (Heteroptera: Coreidae) – squash plant (Cucurbitales: Cucurbitaceae) system in Oklahoma. Journal of Economic Entomology 81: 1073–1079. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jee/81.4.1073) (verified 21 May 2010).
  • Olson, D. L., J. R. Nechols, and B. W. Schurle. 1996. Comparative evaluation of population effect and economic potential of biological suppression tactics versus chemical control for squash bug (Heteroptera: Coreidae) management on pumpkins. Journal of Economic Entomology 89: 631–639. (Available online at: http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/15409) (verified 5 April 2012).
  • Pair, S. D. 1997. Evaluation of systemically treated squash trap plants and attracticidal baits for early-season control of striped and spotted cucumber beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and squash bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae) in cucurbit crops. Journal of Economic Entomology 90: 1307–1314. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jee/90.5.1307) (verified 5 April 2012).
  • Pair, S. D., B. D. Bruton, F. Mitchell, J. Fletcher, A. Wayadande, and U. Melcher. 2004. Overwintering squash bugs harbor and transmit the causal agent of cucurbit yellow vine disease. Journal of Economic Entomology 97: 74–78. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-97.1.74) (verified 5 April 2012).
  • Palumbo J. C., W. S. Fargo, and E. L. Bonjour. 1991. Colonization and seasonal abundance of squash bugs (Heteroptera, Coreidae) on summer squash with varied planting dates in Oklahoma. Journal of Economic Entomology 84: 224–229. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jee/84.1.224) (verified 21 May 2010).
  • Pickett, C. H., S. E. Schoenig, and M. P. Hoffmann. 1996. Establishment of the squash bug parasitoid, Trichopoda pennipes Fabr. (Diptera: Tachinidae), in northern California. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 72: 220–226.
  • Rondon, S. I., D. J. Cantliffe, and J. F. Price. 2003. Anasa tristis (Heteroptera: Coreidae) development, survival and egg distribution on beit alpha cucumber and as prey for Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and Geocoris punctipes (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae). Florida Entomologist 86: 488–490. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1653/0015-4040(2003)086%5B0488:ATHCDS%5D2.0.CO;2) (verified 21 May 2010).
  • Snyder, W. E., and D. H. Wise. 1999. Predator interference and the establishment of generalist predator populations for biocontrol. Biological Control 15: 283–292. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/bcon.1999.0723) (verified 6 April 2012).
  • Snyder, W. E., and D. H. Wise. 2001. Contrasting trophic cascades generated by a community of generalist predators. Ecology 82: 1571–1583. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2001)082[1571:CTCGBA]2.0.CO;2) (verified 6 April 2012).
  • Worthley, H. N. 1923. The squash bug in Massachusetts. Journal of Economic Entomology 16: 73–79. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jee/16.1.73) (verified 5 April 2012).

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series

lun, 2018/07/09 - 14:13

Please join the Organic Farming Research Foundation and eOrganic for a series of 9 webinars focused on the topics covered in their new Soil Health and Organic Farming educational guides: building organic matter, weed management, conservation tillage, cover crops, plant breeding and variety selection, water management and quality, nutrient management, and more! This series is recommended for farmers, extension agents, educators, agricultural professionals, and others interested in building soil health.

Mark Schonbeck and Diana Jerkins of the Organic Farming Research Foundation will review the most recent research on soil health practices and explore how organic growers can build healthy soils on their operations. The webinars will provide practical guidelines for growers, in-depth analysis of research outcomes, and an opportunity to get your questions answered.

Register now at https://oregonstate.webex.com/oregonstate/onstage/g.php?PRID=8c89e175509c9d5e881644245dd5c9d2

May 9, 2018: Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils: An Overview

We will discuss the attributes of healthy soil, the central role of organic matter, and how to monitor and enhance soil health in organic production. The presentation will outline key organic practices for building soil organic matter and optimizing soil functions in relation to fertility, crop yield, and resource conservation. Slide handout

June 13, 2018: Weed Management: An Ecological Approach

This webinar will focus on integrated organic weed management tools and practices that give crops the edge over weeds, build soil health, and reduce the need for soil disturbance. Slide handout

September 19, 2018: Practical Conservation Tillage

This webinar includes the impacts of tillage on soil health, including practical, soil-friendly tillage practices for organic systems. We will discuss several newer tillage tools and approaches that reduce adverse impacts on soil life and soil structure.

October 17, 2018: Cover Crops: Selection and Management

This webinar will focus on selecting the best cover crops, mixes, and management methods for soil health, including crop rotations and cropping system biodiversity.

November 14, 2018: Plant Genetics: Plant Breeding and Variety Selection

This webinar will cover plant breeding and variety selection for performance in sustainable organic systems, including nutrient and moisture use efficiency, competitiveness toward weeds, and enhanced interactions with beneficial soil biota. We will also discuss heritable traits that could directly benefit soil biology and soil health.

January 9, 2019: Water Management and Water Quality

This webinar will focus on the role of soil health and organic soil management in water conservation and water quality.

February 20, 2019: Nutrient Management for Crops, Soil and the Environment

This webinar includes a discussion of the role of soil health and the soil food web, including practical guidelines for optimizing crop nutrition, minimizing adverse environmental impacts of organic fertility inputs, and adapting soil test-based nutrient recommendations (especially N) for organic systems.

March 20, 2019: Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration

In this webinar, we will discuss the capacity of sustainable organic systems and practices to sequester soil carbon, minimize nitrous oxide and methane emissions during crop and livestock production, and enhance agricultural resilience to weather extremes. The presentation will include practical guidelines for optimizing the organic farm’s “carbon footprint” and adaptability to climate disruptions already underway.

May 22, 2019: Understanding and Managing Soil Biology for Soil Health and Crop Production

This webinar will examine the functions of the soil food web and key components thereof in promoting soil health and fertility and sustainable organic crop production. Research-based guidance on organic practices and NOP-approved inputs for improved soil food web function will be discussed.

About the Presenters

Mark Schonbeck is a Research Associate at the Organic Farming Research Foundation. He has worked for 31 years as a researcher, consultant, and educator in sustainable and organic agriculture. He has participated in on-farm research into mulching, cover crops, minimum tillage, and nutrient management for organic vegetables. For many years, he has written for the Virginia Association for Biological Farming newsletter and served as their policy liason to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. He has also participated in different research projects to analyze, evaluate and improve federally funded organic and sustainable agriculture programs. In addition, Mark offers individual consulting in soil test interpretation, soil quality and nutrient management, crop rotation, cover cropping, and weed management.

Diana Jerkins is the Research Program Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation. She has decades of experience in agricultural research, federal program management, university administration and hands-on farming. She was a National Program Leader with the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) between 2002 and 2014, and she helped implement the agency’s first sustainable and organic agriculture programs. 

Thank you to the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation for supporting this project.

System Requirements

Here is our new webinar connection and troubleshooting guide.

Detailed system requirements are listed here https://collaborationhelp.cisco.com/article/en-us/DOC-18120

You can run a test session here:https://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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Growing Vegetables and Fruit without Irrigation in Northern California and the Maritime Pacific Northwest

lun, 2018/06/25 - 18:24

This eOrganic webinar, by Amy Garrett, Steve Peters, Jacques Neukom and Bill Reynolds was presented on March 1, 2016.

About the Webinar

Interested in learning more about how to grow fruits and vegetables with little or no water in the Pacific Northwest? This session will cover site selection, dry farming tools and techniques for orchard and row crops, soil hydrological principals, and the power of seed-saving in dry farmed systems. Learn about the OSU Small Farms Dry Farming Demonstration and Participatory Research Project led by Amy Garrett (OSU Small Farms Instructor). Jacques Neukom (Neukom Family Farm), known for his dry farmed peaches and melons in Northern California, will share his experience producing a variety of crops using dry farming techniques all season long in a climate with long dry hot summers. Steve Peters (Seed Revolution Now & Organic Seed Alliance) will tell the story of the ‘Dark Star’ Zucchini developed with Dr. John Navazio and Bill Reynolds for dry farmed systems and how seed-saving can be a powerful tool for dry farmers.

Find all upcoming and archived eOrganic webinars here.


This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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June 2018

mer, 2018/06/13 - 11:10
Reminder: Weed Management Webinar Today June 13th

There are still a few spots left in our webinar today at 11 Pacific, 12 Mountain, 1 Central, 2 Eastern: Weed Management: An Ecological Approach by Mark Schonbeck and Diana Jerkins of the Organic Farming Research Foundation. This is part of our Soil Health and Organic Farming webinar series that started last month. This webinar will focus on integrated organic weed management tools and practices that give crops the edge over weeds, build soil health, and reduce the need for soil disturbance. You can register here. The archive of last month's presentation, on Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils is available on the eOrganic YouTube channel here. We are recording all the webinars in the series! 

New eOrganic article: Identifying Bird Nests on Farm Structures

This new article by Olivia Smith and William Snyder of Washington State University provides guidance on identifying nests of bird species commonly found nesting in barns, sheds, or other farm buildings. Most bird species included in the article are known to carry bacteria that cause food safety problems, such as pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella. However, some of these birds are also known to eat pest insects or rodents, so promoting nesting in appropriate areas can provide valuable natural pest control. The authors are members of the NIFA OREI funded project: Avian Biodiversity: Impacts, Risks and Descriptive Survey (A-BIRDS). Read the article here

Management Recommendations for Spotted Wing Drosophila in Organic Berry Crops

University of Georgia Extension has published a new extension bulletin on organic management of spotted wing drosophila in organic berry crops that is the result of research by a multiinstitutional NIFA OREI project. Organic management of SWD requires a rigorous, persistent, and diverse management plan. Using as many control techniques as possible on your farm will help to reduce SWD infestation. Download the free bulletin at https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extension/publications/files/pdf/B%201497_3.PDF

NEEOGRAIN webinar recordings and listserve

The NEEOGRAIN Virtual Crop Hour is a new series of webinars which is being done in collaboration with ACORN, Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, and the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program. The NEEOGRAIN Network is an organic grain initiative established to increase networking and collaboration among farmers throughout the northeastern US and eastern Canada. NEEOGRAIN stands for Northeast (U.S.) and Eastern (Canada) Organic Grain Network. View the links to their recorded webinars and additional information here. To add your name to their database, send an email to susan.brouillette@uvm.edu and pick what subject/crop area you are interested in: Grains, Oilseeds, Organic Dairy, Hops, Brewer, Dairy, Milkweed, Hemp, or Vegetable (yes you can choose more than one). Send your first and last name, email, mailing address and phone number please. Archived NEEOGRAIN webinars include:

Call for Preproposals from Northeast SARE

Northeast SARE is currently accepting preproposals for three grant programs--Research and Education, Professional Development, and Research for Novel Approaches—due online by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 10, 2018. Invited full proposals are due on October 30 with projects awards made in late February 2019. For more information, visit www.northeastsare.org/GetGrant.

Growing Organic: A Review of State-Level Support for Organic Agriculture

This report was published in 2017 by Laura Driscoll and Nina Ichikawa of the Berkeley Food Institute, It details the roles that state agencies play in supporting and promoting organic farming, and how this support varies in different regions of the US. Twenty-one states across four distinct regions were chosen as a representative sample for analysis, and the availability of services as well as unique characteristics from each state were compiled through personal interviews, literature reviews, state government documents, and other sources. The report also makes recommendations on how to improve services for existing and prospective organic farmers. Find the report and the executive summary at https://food.berkeley.edu/organicstatebystate/

Organic Management of Vegetable Diseases Photo Galleries and Resources

If you're wondering how to identify or manage a particular vegetable disease this season, the Cornell University Long Island Research and Extension Center has a website with photo galleries, information on efficacy of organic fungicides, information on resistant varieties, disease management guidelines how to find a diagnostic lab, and more!. Find it at http://blogs.cornell.edu/livegpath/organic/organic-management-of-vegetable-diseases/

Upcoming Organic Events and Field Days

This is just a small sampling of some of the many organic field days and events happening this summer and early fall. Check with your land grant university, extension service or small farm program to find out if there are any organic field days in your area. 

  • University of Illinois aMAIZEing Organic Field Day: On July 19, in Champaign Illinois, members of a NIFA OREI project on participatory corn breeding invites you to  our the organic corn breeding plots near the U of I campus, learn more about why we need organic seed, and learn how new cultivars are tested. Questions or want to know more about our education network? Read the flyer for the event, and contact Carmen Ugarte at cugarte@illinois.edu if you have questions or are interested in participating in the educational network for this project.
  • University of Minnesota Organic Field Day: The Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) will host its annual Organic Field Day on Wednesday, July 11, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The event will start with a tradeshow and field tour of organic research projects at the SWROC including intermediate wheatgrass, oat fungicide and plant population trials, high tunnels, and cover crops. After lunch, presentations will discuss cropping system diversity and weed management. The afternoon speaker session will feature two sustainable agriculture experts. Matt Liebman, Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University, will present Cropping System Diversity – Effects on Production, Soil Health, and Profitability. Joel Gruver, Associate Professor of Soil Science and Sustainable Ag at Western Illinois University, will give a presentation on weed management. Cost is $30.00 and includes refreshments, lunch, and handouts. Find out more and register at https://swroc.cfans.umn.edu/ofd2018
  • Summer Organic Dairy Series Summer Organic Dairy Series – collaborated events by NOFA-VT, Organic Valley and UVM Extension NWCS. Register online at www.nofavt.org/ows. Cost for each event is $20 for farmers, $30 others and includes lunch from NOFA-VT pizza oven. Register for these and other UVM events here. 
    • Improving Milk Quality and Pasture Systems. Tue, July 24, 10:30-2:30, JASA Family Farm. Join CROPP/Organic Valley staff veterinarian and grazing specialist Dr. Greg Brickner at this workshop focused on milk quality and ways to optimize milk value. We will tour farmer Andy (John) Andrews farm, taking a look at his pastures, discussing grazing systems and how to increase utilization of pasture to reduce feed costs as well as winter outdoor access.
    • Robot Grazing Systems & Forage Harvesting, Wed, July 25, 10:30-2:30, Lambert Farm. Join CROPP/Organic Valley staff veterinarian and grazing specialist Dr. Greg Brickner and farmers Jesse and Jen, on a tour of the Lambert’s farm, taking a look at their robotic milking system and pastures. The Lamberts’ will share how they have changed their pasture management system with the installation of robots.. We will also discuss forage harvesting- looking at management strategies for producing high quality forage and organic corn silage.
    • Pasture Management and Youngstock, Mon, August 6, 10:30-2:30, Ottercrest Dairy. Join farmer and veterinarian Brian Howlett and grazing consultant Sarah Flack on a tour of Brian’s farm, Ottercrest Dairy. We will take a look at his pasture systems and rotational grazing management. Brian will share strategies for parasite prevention in youngstock on pasture and his experience with milking one time a day.
  • MOSES On-Farm Workshop Series. Many factors impact crop success, such as field conditions and seed variety. What might grow really well at one farm might fail miserably a few miles away. To help farmers learn how to find the best varieties for their particular growing conditions, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has partnered with the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for four on-farm workshops this summer.Workshop participants can tour ongoing trials and hear why the farmers chose the crops they did and how they designed the trials. OSA and University of Wisconsin educators will talk about the benefits of conducting on-farm trials and how to design them to meet a farm’s goals without adding unnecessary work.offered free of charge and pre-registration is requested.Find out more and register here
  • Culinary Breeding Network Variety Showcase NYC. This year, the Culinary Breeding Network is Partnering with GrowNYC to bring their variety showcase to Project Farmshouse in New York City. This event is an interactive mixer designed to build community between plant breeders, organic farms and eaters, where attendees have the unique experience to taste new and in-development vegetable, fruit and grain cultivars with the breeders that created them, shareopinions, talk about needs and preferences and learn about the importance of organic plant breeding. This ticketed, indoor event takes place at two times on September 24, 2018. Find more information here.
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Find all eOrganic articles, videos and webinars at http://extension.org/organic_production

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Have a question about organic farming? Use the eXtension Ask an Expert service to connect with the eOrganic community to get an answer!

 

 

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25743

June 2018

mar, 2018/06/12 - 19:02
Weed Management Webinar on June 13th

There are still a few spots left in our upcoming webinar this Wednesday: Weed Management: An Ecological Approach by Mark Schonbeck and Diana Jerkins of the Organic Farming Research Foundation. This is part of our Soil Health and Organic Farming webinar series that started last month. This webinar will focus on integrated organic weed management tools and practices that give crops the edge over weeds, build soil health, and reduce the need for soil disturbance. You can register here. The archive of last month's presentation, on Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils is available on the eOrganic YouTube channel here. We are recording all the webinars in the series! 

New eOrganic article: Identifying Bird Nests on Farm Structures

This new article by Olivia Smith and William Snyder of Washington State University provides guidance on identifying nests of bird species commonly found nesting in barns, sheds, or other farm buildings. Most bird species included in the article are known to carry bacteria that cause food safety problems, such as pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella. However, some of these birds are also known to eat pest insects or rodents, so promoting nesting in appropriate areas can provide valuable natural pest control. The authors are members of the NIFA OREI funded project: Avian Biodiversity: Impacts, Risks and Descriptive Survey (A-BIRDS). Read the article here

Management Recommendations for Spotted Wing Drosophila in Organic Berry Crops

University of Georgia Extension has published a new extension bulletin on organic management of spotted wing drosophila in organic berry crops that is the result of research by a multiinstitutional NIFA OREI project. Organic management of SWD requires a rigorous, persistent, and diverse management plan. Using as many control techniques as possible on your farm will help to reduce SWD infestation. Download the free bulletin at https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extension/publications/files/pdf/B%201497_3.PDF

NEEOGRAIN webinar recordings and listserve

The NEEOGRAIN Virtual Crop Hour is a new series of webinars which is being done in collaboration with ACORN, Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, and the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program. The NEEOGRAIN Network is an organic grain initiative established to increase networking and collaboration among farmers throughout the northeastern US and eastern Canada. NEEOGRAIN stands for Northeast (U.S.) and Eastern (Canada) Organic Grain Network. View the links to their recorded webinars and additional information here. To add your name to their database, send an email to susan.brouillette@uvm.edu and pick what subject/crop area you are interested in: Grains, Oilseeds, Organic Dairy, Hops, Brewer, Dairy, Milkweed, Hemp, or Vegetable (yes you can choose more than one). Send your first and last name, email, mailing address and phone number please. Archived NEEOGRAIN webinars include:

Call for Preproposals from Northeast SARE

Northeast SARE is currently accepting preproposals for three grant programs--Research and Education, Professional Development, and Research for Novel Approaches—due online by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 10, 2018. Invited full proposals are due on October 30 with projects awards made in late February 2019. For more information, visit www.northeastsare.org/GetGrant.

Growing Organic: A Review of State-Level Support for Organic Agriculture

This report was published in 2017 by Laura Driscoll and Nina Ichikawa of the Berkeley Food Institute, It details the roles that state agencies play in supporting and promoting organic farming, and how this support varies in different regions of the US. Twenty-one states across four distinct regions were chosen as a representative sample for analysis, and the availability of services as well as unique characteristics from each state were compiled through personal interviews, literature reviews, state government documents, and other sources. The report also makes recommendations on how to improve services for existing and prospective organic farmers. Find the report and the executive summary at https://food.berkeley.edu/organicstatebystate/

Organic Management of Vegetable Diseases Photo Galleries and Resources

If you're wondering how to identify or manage a particular vegetable disease this season, the Cornell University Long Island Research and Extension Center has a website with photo galleries, information on efficacy of organic fungicides, information on resistant varieties, disease management guidelines how to find a diagnostic lab, and more!. Find it at http://blogs.cornell.edu/livegpath/organic/organic-management-of-vegetable-diseases/

Upcoming Organic Events and Field Days

This is just a small sampling of some of the many organic field days and events happening this summer and early fall. Check with your land grant university, extension service or small farm program to find out if there are any organic field days in your area. 

  • University of Illinois aMAIZEing Organic Field Day: On July 19, in Champaign Illinois, members of a NIFA OREI project on participatory corn breeding invites you to  our the organic corn breeding plots near the U of I campus, learn more about why we need organic seed, and learn how new cultivars are tested. Questions or want to know more about our education network? Read the flyer for the event, and contact Carmen Ugarte at cugarte@illinois.edu if you have questions or are interested in participating in the educational network for this project.
  • University of Minnesota Organic Field Day: The Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) will host its annual Organic Field Day on Wednesday, July 11, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The event will start with a tradeshow and field tour of organic research projects at the SWROC including intermediate wheatgrass, oat fungicide and plant population trials, high tunnels, and cover crops. After lunch, presentations will discuss cropping system diversity and weed management. The afternoon speaker session will feature two sustainable agriculture experts. Matt Liebman, Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University, will present Cropping System Diversity – Effects on Production, Soil Health, and Profitability. Joel Gruver, Associate Professor of Soil Science and Sustainable Ag at Western Illinois University, will give a presentation on weed management. Cost is $30.00 and includes refreshments, lunch, and handouts. Find out more and register at https://swroc.cfans.umn.edu/ofd2018
  • Summer Organic Dairy Series Summer Organic Dairy Series – collaborated events by NOFA-VT, Organic Valley and UVM Extension NWCS. Register online at www.nofavt.org/ows. Cost for each event is $20 for farmers, $30 others and includes lunch from NOFA-VT pizza oven. Register for these and other UVM events here. 
    • Improving Milk Quality and Pasture Systems. Tue, July 24, 10:30-2:30, JASA Family Farm. Join CROPP/Organic Valley staff veterinarian and grazing specialist Dr. Greg Brickner at this workshop focused on milk quality and ways to optimize milk value. We will tour farmer Andy (John) Andrews farm, taking a look at his pastures, discussing grazing systems and how to increase utilization of pasture to reduce feed costs as well as winter outdoor access.
    • Robot Grazing Systems & Forage Harvesting, Wed, July 25, 10:30-2:30, Lambert Farm. Join CROPP/Organic Valley staff veterinarian and grazing specialist Dr. Greg Brickner and farmers Jesse and Jen, on a tour of the Lambert’s farm, taking a look at their robotic milking system and pastures. The Lamberts’ will share how they have changed their pasture management system with the installation of robots.. We will also discuss forage harvesting- looking at management strategies for producing high quality forage and organic corn silage.
    • Pasture Management and Youngstock, Mon, August 6, 10:30-2:30, Ottercrest Dairy. Join farmer and veterinarian Brian Howlett and grazing consultant Sarah Flack on a tour of Brian’s farm, Ottercrest Dairy. We will take a look at his pasture systems and rotational grazing management. Brian will share strategies for parasite prevention in youngstock on pasture and his experience with milking one time a day.
  • MOSES On-Farm Workshop Series. Many factors impact crop success, such as field conditions and seed variety. What might grow really well at one farm might fail miserably a few miles away. To help farmers learn how to find the best varieties for their particular growing conditions, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has partnered with the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for four on-farm workshops this summer.Workshop participants can tour ongoing trials and hear why the farmers chose the crops they did and how they designed the trials. OSA and University of Wisconsin educators will talk about the benefits of conducting on-farm trials and how to design them to meet a farm’s goals without adding unnecessary work.offered free of charge and pre-registration is requested.Find out more and register here
  • Culinary Breeding Network Variety Showcase NYC. This year, the Culinary Breeding Network is Partnering with GrowNYC to bring their variety showcase to Project Farmshouse in New York City. This event is an interactive mixer designed to build community between plant breeders, organic farms and eaters, where attendees have the unique experience to taste new and in-development vegetable, fruit and grain cultivars with the breeders that created them, shareopinions, talk about needs and preferences and learn about the importance of organic plant breeding. This ticketed, indoor event takes place at two times on September 24, 2018. Find more information here.
eOrganic Mission and Resources

eOrganic is a web community where organic agriculture farmers, researchers, and educators network; exchange objective, research- and experience-based information; learn together; and communicate regionally, nationally, and internationally. If you have expertise in organic agriculture and would like to develop U.S. certified organic agriculture information, join us at http://eorganic.info

eOrganic Resources

Find all eOrganic articles, videos and webinars at http://extension.org/organic_production

Connect with eOrganic on;Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Have a question about organic farming? Use the eXtension Ask an Expert service to connect with the eOrganic community to get an answer!

 

 

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25743

Webinars by eOrganic

lun, 2018/06/11 - 18:07
imageLive and archived webinars on organic farming and research

Learn the latest in organic farming practices and research by attending or watching an eOrganic Webinar. Sign up for upcoming webinars to watch slides, listen to the presenter, and type in questions during the live events. To receive notices about upcoming webinars, and find out when we post the archived sessions, sign up for the eOrganic newsletter.

Register for upcoming webinars or browse our extensive archive of past webinars in chronological order below, or view them by topic

You can also find the webinar recordings on the eOrganic YouTube channel. We have switched to using Webex, and here is our webinar connection and troubleshooting guide. Detailed system requirements can be found here.

Registration is now open for upcoming 2018 webinars at the links below. 

Date Webinar Presenters May 9 Building Organic Matter for Healthy Soils: An Overview. Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation June 13 Weed Management: An Ecological Approach, Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation Sept 19 Practical Conservation Tillage, Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation Oct 17 Cover Crops: Selection and Management, Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation Nov 14 Plant Genetics: Plant Breeding and Variety Selection, Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation Jan 9, 2019 Water Management and Water Quality, Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation January 16, 2019 Lower Financial Risk by Increasing Soil Health Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming February 6, 2019 Hail Can Happen! Insurance Options for Organic Farms Michael Stein, Organic Farming Research Foundation Feb 20, 2019 Nutrient Management for Crops, Soil and the Envivronment, Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation March 20, 2019 Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation and Carbon Sequestration. Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation May 22, 2019 Understanding and Managing Soil Biology for Soil Health and Crop Production. Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation

 

Archived Webinars Presenters Date Conducting On-Farm Variety Trials to Manage Risk for Organic and Specialty Crop Producers Part 2 Jared Zystro, Kitt Healy, Organic Seed Alliance; Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin April 11, 2017 Abrasive Weeding: Efficiency, Multifunctionality and Profitability Sam Wortman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Daniel Humburg, South Dakota State University March 29, 2018 Organic Tomato Foliar Pathogen IPM Webinar Dan Egel, Lori Hoagland, and Amit-Kum Jaiswal, Purdue University March 21, 2018 Conducting On-Farm Variety Trials to Manage Risk for Organic and Specialty Crop Producers Part 1 Micaela Colley, Jared Zystro, Kitt Healy, Organic Seed Alliance; Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin March 20, 2018 Management of spotted wing drosophila using organically approved strategies: An update Ash Sial and Craig Roubos, UGA, Matt Grieshop, MSU, Andrew Petran, UMN February 27, 2018 Tools for Farm Biodiversity Olivia Smith, Washington State University; Miyoko Chu, Rhiannon Crain, Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Lynn Dicks, University of East Anglia. February 27, 2018 Seed Economics Intensive and more Live Broadcasts from the 2018 Organic Seed Growers Conference Organic Seed Alliance and collaborators February 14-17, 2018 Melon Medley: Organic Production Practices, Microbial Safety and Consumer Preferences of various Melon Varieties Shirley Micallef, Kathryne Everts, University of Maryland January 31, 2018 Organic Tomato Seed Production Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dan Egel, Purdue University; Laurie McKenzie, Organic Seed Alliance. January 30, 2018 Live Broadcast: Special Session on Organic Soil Health Research at the Tri-Societies Conference  Various, organized by the Organic Farming Research Foundation. October 25, 2017 Getting Started with Barcode Based Digital Data Collection for Vegetable Breeding Programs Webinar Series Michael Mazourek, Cornell 3 webinars in August and September 2017 Hybrid, Double Cross and Open-pollinated Corn: What does it all mean? Margaret Smith, Cornell University; Richard Pratt, New Mexico State University Sept 27, 2017 Organic Seed Production Six Webinar Series 2017 Organic Seed Alliance, Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture and collaborators May-October, 2017 Use of High Glucosinolate Mustard as an Organic Biofumigant in Vegetable Crops Heather Darby and Abha Gupta, University of Vermont Extension; and Katie Campbell-Nelson, University of Massachusetts April 11, 2017 Taking Stock of Organic Research Investments 2002-2014 Diana Jerkins and Joanna Ory, Organic Farming Research Foundation; Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming April 6, 2017 Using Biofungicides, Biostimulants and Biofertilizers to Boost Crop Productivity and help Manage Vegetable Diseases Giuseppe Colla, Tuscia University, Mariateresa Cardarelli, Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Dan Egel, Laurie Hoagland, Purdue University March 30, 2017 Tomato Varietal Improvement Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin; Lori Hoagland and Dan Egel, Purdue; James Myers and Kara Young, Oregon State, Laurie McKenzie, Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance March 7, 2017 Integrated Clubroot Management for Brassica Crops Aaron Heinrich and Alex Stone, Oregon State University February 15, 2017 Providing Habitat for Wild Bees on Organic Farms Elias Bloom and Rachel Olsson, Washington State University; Bridget McNassar, Oxbow Farm February 7, 2017 Management of Spotted Wing Drosophila Using Organic Strategies Ash Sial, UGA; Mary Rogers, UMN; Christelle Guedot, UWisc; Kelly Hamby, UMD;Rufus Isaacs, MSU; Tracy Leskey, USDA; Vaughn Walton, OSU February 1, 2017 Management Options for Striped Cucumber Beetle in Organic Cucurbits Abby Seaman, Jeffrey Gardner, Cornell University January 11, 2017 Managing Cucurbit Downy Mildew in Organic Systems in the Northeast Christine Smart, Cornell University Dec 6, 2016

Organic Seed Production Six Webinar Series:

  1. Introduction, Field Planning, Recordkeeping. Recording
  2. Trials and Selection.
  3. Diseases and Pests 
  4. Seed Quality, Harvesting, Equipment
  5. Cleaning and Recordkeeping Redux, Case Study
  6. Seed Contracting, Economics and Policy
Organic Seed Alliance and Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture June-November 2016 Viral Diseases in Cucurbits: Identification and Management Strategies John Murphy, Auburn University October 19, 2016 Targeted Sheep Grazing in Organic Dryland Systems Fabian Menalled, Devon Ragen, Perry Miller, Montana State University October 11, 2016 How to Implement and Verify Biodiversity Conservation Activities in Organic Agricultural Systems Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance; John Quinn, Furman University October 5, 2016 Selecting "Modern" Heirloom Dry Beans Thomas Michaels, University of Minnesota July 13, 2016 Supplementing the Organic Dairy Herd Diet with Flaxseed Andre Brito, University of New Hampshire and Heather Darby, University of Vermont May 12, 2016 Evaluating Sprouted Grains on Grazing Dairy Farms Kathy Soder, USDA ARS April 7, 2016 Impacts of the Food Safety Modernization Act on Diversified Organic Vegetable Farms Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin; Dan Stoeckel, Cornell University March 29, 2016 Unique Fly Control Methods for Organic Dairy Production Roger Moon and Brad Heins, University of Minnesota March 24, 2016 Good Sense Food Safety Practices on Organic Vegetable Farms Chris Blanchard, Purple Pitchfork March 16, 2016 Working With Local Organic Grains Stefan Senders, Wide Awake Bakery; Peter Endriss, Runner & Stone Bakery and Restaurant; Dan Avery, Dakota Earth Bakery; Steve Gonzalez, Sfoglini Pasta Shop  March 8, 2016 Design and Management of Organic Strawberry/Vegetable Rotations Carol Shennan, Joji Muramoto, University of California Santa Cruz  March 2, 2016 New Times: New Tools: Cultivating Resilience on Your Organic Farm Laura Lengnick, Cultivating Resilience LLC February 23, 2016 Growing Vegetables and Fruit without Irrigation in Northern California and the Maritime Pacific Northwest Amy Garrett, Oregon State University; Jacques Neukom, Neukom Farm; Steve Peters, Seed Revolution Now and Organic Seed Alliance February 19, 2016 A Novel Nutritional Approach to Rearing Organic Pastured Broiler Chickens (Part 2) Michael Liburn, Larry Phelan, The Ohio State University/OARDC February 16, 2016 Grazing Systems and Forage Quality of Grasses for Organic Dairy Production Brad Heins, University of Minnesota February 11, 2016 Wild Bee Monitoring, Education, and Outreach in Organic Farming Systems Elias Bloom, Rachel Olssen, Washington State University; Rosy Smit, Camp Korey February 10, 2016 Organic Seed Growers Conference Live Broadcast of Selected Presentations various: Recordings coming soon! February 5-6, 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium various: Recordings coming soon! January 20, 2016 Connections between Biodiversity and Livestock Well-Being Juan Alvez, University of Vermont January 14, 2016 Bovine Fatty Acids: From Forage to Milk Melissa Bainbridge and Caleb Goossen, University of Vermont December 17, 2015 Nitrogen Management in Organic Strawberries: Challenges and Approaches Joji Muramoto and Carol Shennan, University of California Santa Cruz; Mark Gaskell, UC Cooperative Extension December 16, 2015 An Integrated Approach to Managing Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle in Crucifer Crops Rammohan Balusu and Ayanava Majumdar, Auburn University; Elena Rhodes, University of Florida Gainesville December 9, 2015 Biological Control of Cole Crop Pests on the California Central Coast Diego Nieto, University of California Santa Cruz December 2, 2015 Extreme Weather: Challenges and Opportunities for Organic Farming Systems in the Midwest Region Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University November 17, 2015 Compost Carryover Effects on Soil Quality and Productivity in Organic Dryland Wheat Earl Creech and Jennifer Reeve, Utah State University  November 10, 2015 Making and Using Compost Teas Lynne Carpenter-Boggs and CeCe Crosby, Washington State University November 4, 2015 Innovative Approaches to Extension in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Bruna Irene Grimberg, Fabian Menalled and Mary Burrows, Montana State University April 7, 2015 Baking evaluation, sensory analysis, and nutritional characteristics of modern, heritage, and ancient wheat varieties Lisa Kissing Kucek, Cornell; Abdullah Jaradat, USDA ARS; Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin March 25, 2015 Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture Phillip Simon, USDA ARS and University of Wisconsin; Lori Hoagland, Purdue; Philip Roberts, UC Riverside; Micaela Colley, Jared Zystro and Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance March 24, 2015 Non-Antibiotic Control of Fire Blight: What Works As We Head Into a New Era Ken Johnson, Oregon State University; Rachel Elkins, University of California Extension, Tim Smith, University of Washington Extension March 17, 2015 Promoting Native Bee Pollinators in Organic Farming Systems David Crowder and Elias Bloom, Washington State University March 10, 2013 Using Participatory Variety Trials to Assess Response to Environment in Organic Vegetable Crops Alexandra Lyon, University of Wisconsin March 3, 2015 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Selected Live Broadcasts various February 25 and 26, 2015 Blasting the Competition Away: Air-propelled Abrasive Grits for Weed Management in Organic Grain and Vegetable Crops Sam Wortman, University of Illinois; Sharon Clay and Daniel Humburg, University of South Dakota February 17, 2015 Building Pest-Suppressive Organic Farms: Tools and Strategies Used by Five Long-Term Organic Farms Helen Atthowe and Carl Rosato, Woodleaf Farm February 10, 2015 Organicology 2015: Selected Live Broadcasts various February 6, 2015 Heritage and Ancient Wheat: Varietal Performance and Managment Michael Davis, Cornell University; Steve Zwinger, NDSU January 27, 2015 Managing Bad Stink Bugs Using Good Stink Bugs Yong-Lak Park, West Virginia University January 22, 2015 Rotational No-till and Mulching Systems for Organic Vegetable Farms Jan-Hendrik Cropp, Under_Cover Consulting January 20, 2015 Systems Organic Management Suppresses Cabbageworm Outbreaks: Evidence from 4 Long-term Organic Farms Jake Asplund, Washington State University; Doug O'Brien, Doug O'Brien Agricultural Consulting January 13, 2015 Learning from Our Observations of Pastures & Livestock: Preventing Pasture Problems on the Organic Dairy Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting December 18, 2014 A Certified Organic Winter Nursery for Corn Breeding Bryan Brunner, University of Puerto Rico, Kevin Montgomery, Paul Scott, USDA ARS December 16, 2014 Permaculture on Organic Farms: The State of Play Rafter Ferguson, Kevin Wolz, Ron Revord, University of Illinois December 9, 2014 Introducing Brassicas into the Organic Dairy Pasture (original title was Introducing Radishes into the Organic Dairy Pasture) Fay Benson, Cornell Cooperative Extension December 4, 2014 IPM in Crucifer Crops: Focus on the Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle Rammohan Balusu and Ayanava Majumdar, Auburn University; Ron Cave, University of Florida December 2, 2014 Considerations for Out-Wintering the Organic Dairy Herd Brad Heins, University of Minnesota November 20, 2014 Dehulling Ancient Grains Frank Kutka, NPSAS; Brian Baker; Nigel Tudor, Weatherbury Farm; Elizabeth Dyck, OGRIN November 18, 2014 Diversity by Design: Using Trap Crops to Control the Cruciferous Flea Beetle Joyce Parker, EPA November 11, 2014 Using Cover Crop Mixtures to Achieve Multiple Goals on the Farm Charlie White, Mitch Hunter, Jermaine Hinds, Jim LaChance, Penn State University October 14, 2014 Understanding the National Organic Program Seed Rule and Sourcing Organic Seed Kristina Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance; Emily Brown Rosen, USDA NOP, Zea Sonnabend, CCOF and NOSB, Cullen Carns-Hilliker, MOSA June 6, 2014 Birdsfoot Trefoil as a Forage on Organic Dairy Farms Jennifer MacAdam, Utah State University May 15, 2014 Putting the Pieces Together: Lessons Learned from a Reduced-Tillage Organic Cropping Systems Project William Curran, Ron Hoover, John Wallace April 8, 2014 Breeding efforts and cover
crop choices for improved organic dry bean production systems in Michigan
Erin Hill, Jim Heilig, Michigan State University March 25, 2014 Organic Blackberry Production Webinar Bernadine Strik, Luis Valenzuela, Oregon State; David Bryla, USDA-ARS Corvallis, OR March 13, 2014 Using Contans (Coniothyrium minitans) for White Mold Management on Organic Farms Webinar Alex Stone, Oregon State University March 4, 2014 2 Part Webinar Series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems Ann-Marie Fortuna, NDSU, Craig Cogger and Doug Collins, WSU Puyallup Feb 25, 2014 and Feb 27, 2014 Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation to Control Soil Borne Pathogens: Current Research Findings and On-farm Implementation Carol Shennan, Joji Muramoto, University of California Santa Cruz Feb 18, 2014 Biologically Based Organic Management Strategies for Spotted Wing Drosophila Vaughn Walton, Oregon State University; Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University; Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University Feb 11, 2014 Food Safety in Organic Leafy Greens Sadhana Ravishankar, University of Arizona Feb 10, 2014 Food Safety in Organic Poultry Sandra Diaz Lopez, Irene Hanning-Jarquin Feb 4, 2014 Selected live presentations from the Organic Seed Grower's Conference Various Jan 31-Feb 1, 2014 NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative and Organic Dairy Farms Sarah Brown, Oregon Tilth; Kevin Kaija, USDA NRCS, Vermont January 16, 2014 Late Blight of Tomato and Potato: Recent Occurrences and Management Experiences Margaret T. McGrath, Chris Smart, Beth Gugino, Amanda Gevens, Pamela Roberts January 14, 2014 Economics of Organic Dairy Farming Bob Parsons, University of Vermont Dec 12, 2013 Trap Cropping in Organic Strawberries to Manage Lygus Bugs in California Diego Nieto, University of California Santa Cruz Dec 3, 2013 Behavior Based Grazing Management: A Plant-Herbivore Interaction Webinar Darrell Emmick, USDA NRCS (emeritus) Nov 14, 2013 Organic Dry Bean Production Systems and Cultivar Choices Thomas Michaels, University of Minnesota Nov 12, 2013 A novel nutritional approach to rearing organic pastured broiler chickens Michael Lilburn, The Ohio State University Nov 5, 2013 Excellence in Organic Extension Webinar Series Various Fall 2013 How am I doing: Improving your program by evaluating your extension program with feedback and follow-up Seth Wilner, University of New Hampshire; Anu Rangarajan, Cornell University Nov 4, 2013 Integrating Livestock into Dryland Organic Crop Rotations Lynne Carpenter-Boggs and Jonathan Wachter, Washington State University Oct 22, 2013 Out in the sun: How to plan and put on an engaging, informative and successful field day Charlie White, Penn State University; Molly Hamilton, North Carolina State University Oct 21, 2013 Be my friend: Utilizing social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to engage and interact with your audience Debbie Roos, North Carolina State Extension, Chatham County; Debra Heleba, University of Vermont Extension Oct 7, 2013 Mastitis Management on Your Organic Dairy Dr. Guy Jodarski, DVM, Organic Valley CROPP Cooperative Sep 10, 2013 Effective Presentations: How to develop and deliver a farmer-friendly talk Seth Wilner, University of New Hampshire Sept 9 2013 International Quinoa Research Symposium Broadcast  Various  Aug 12-14, 2013 Amending Soils in the Organic Dairy Pasture Cindy Daley, California State University Chico Jun 27, 2013 Organic Dairy Forages: Focus on Summer Annuals Heather Darby, University of Vermont; Rick Kersbergen, University of Maine May 23, 2013 Scouting for Vegetable and Fruit Pests on Organic Farms Helen Atthowe and Doug O'Brien Apr 25, 2013 Researcher and Farmer Innovation to Increase Nitrogen Cycling on Organic Farms Louise Jackson and Tim Bowles, UC Davis Apr 23, 2013 Supplementing the Organic Dairy Cow Diet: Results of Molasses and Flaxseed Feeding Trials Kathy Soder, USDA-ARS Apr 18, 2013 Organic Farming Systems Research at the University of Nebraska Elizabeth Sarno, Charles Shapiro, Richard Little, Vicki Schlegel, James Brandle, University of Nebraska Mar 26, 2013 CSA Farmer's Guide to Accepting SNAP/EBT Payments Webinar Bryan Allan, Friends of Zenger Farm Mar 21, 2013 Research Update on Non-antibiotic control of Fire Blight Ken Johnson, Oregon State; Rachel Elkins, U of CA Cooperative Extension; Tim Smith, WSU Cooperative Extension Mar 19, 2013 National Organic Program Update Miles, McEvoy, NOP Mar 13, 2013 NRCS Conservation Practices, Organic Management and Soil Health Michelle Wander and Carmen Ugarte, University of Illinois, Susan Andrews, NRCS Mar 11, 2013 Performance of Organic Treatments in Long-Term Systems Trials: Organic Benefits and Challenges in the Face of Climate Change Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin Mar 5, 2013 Organic Quinoa Production in the Pacific Northwest Kevin Murphy, WSU Feb 26, 2013 Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs Anne Nielsen, Rutgers University Feb 19, 2013 Management for High-Quality Organic Wheat and Ancient Grain Production in the Northeast David Benscher, Cornell, Greg Roth, Penn State, Elizabeth Dyck, OGRIN Feb 12, 2013 Effects of Climate Change on Insect Communities in Organic Farming Systems David Crowder, Washington State University Feb 4, 2013 Organic Methods for Control of Insect Pests and Diseases of Pecan and Peach David Shapiro-Ilan, Clive Bock, USDA-ARS, Byron, GA Jan 29, 2013 Linking Cover Crops, Plant Pathogens, and Disease Control in Organic Tomatoes Brian McSpadden Gardener, The Ohio State University Jan 21, 2013 How can Organic, non-GMO and GMO Crops Coexist? Live Broadcast Lynn Clarkson, Clarkson Grain. Broadcast live from the 2013 Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism and Organic Conference Jan 10, 2013 The "Ancient" Grains Emmer, Einkorn and Spelt: What We Know and What We Need to Find Out Frank Kutka, NPSAS, Steve Zwinger, NDSU, Julie Dawson, Cornell, June Russell, Greenmarket/GrowNYC Jan 8, 2013 Developing an Organic System Plan for Row Crops Beth Rota Jan 7, 2013 Bovine Milk Fats: A Look at Organic Milk Gillian Butler, Newcastle University, UK Dec 18, 2012 Barley Fodder Feeding for Organic Dairies John Stoltzfus, Be-A-Blessing Organic Dairy, Fay Benson, Cornell University Nov 27, 2012 Using the eOrganic Organic Seed Production Tutorials Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance Nov 16, 2012 Can we talk? Improving Weed Management Communication between Organic Farmers and Extension Sarah Zwickle, The Ohio State University; Marleen Riemens, Wageningen University and Research Center, Netherlands Nov 13, 2012 Sourcing Organic Seed Just Got Easier: An Introduction to Organic Seed Finder Chet Boruff, AOSCA, Kristina Hubbard, Organic Seed Alliance Aug 21, 2012 Your Organic Dairy Herd Health Toolbox Dr. Hubert Karreman, Penn Dutch Cow Care Jul 16, 2012 International Organic Fruit Symposium various Jun 19 and 21, 2012 Breeding and Genetics: Considerations for Organic Dairy Farms Brad Heins, University of Minnesota Jun 19, 2012 Organic Weed Management on Livestock Pastures Sid Bosworth, University of Vermont 5/15/12 Live Broadcast from Fly Management on Your Organic Dairy Workshop Roger Moon, University of Minnesota; J Keith Waldron, Cornell; Wes Watson, North Carolina State University 4/19/12 NRCS EQIP Technical and Financial Support for Conservation on Organic Farms Webinar Sarah Brown, Oregon Tilth 3/29/12 Organic Seed Breeding for Nutrition Philipp Simon, Walter Goldstein, Jim Myers, Micaela Colley 3/23/12 Cover Crops for Disease Suppression Alex Stone, Oregon State University 3/20/12 Fire Blight Control in Organic Pome Fruit Systems Under the Proposed Non-antibiotic Standard Ken Johnson, Oregon State University, Rachel Elkins, UC Cooperative Extension 3/13/12 The Role of Cover Crops in Organic Transition Strategies Brian McSpadden Gardener, The Ohio State University 3/6/12 Optimizing the Benefits of Hairy Vetch in Organic Production John Teasdale, USDA-ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Lab, Beltsville, MD 2/28/12 Stink Bug Management with Trap Crops Russell Mizell, University of Florida 2/21/12 Veggie Compass: Whole Farm Profit Management
Erin Silva and Rebecca Claypool, University of Wisconsin-Madison 2/14/12 Cultivation and Seedbank Management for Improved Weed Control Eric Gallandt, University of Maine 2/7/12 Participatory On-farm Research: Beyond the Randomized Complete Block Design Sieglinde Snapp, Michigan State University 1/31/12 The OrganicA Project: Current Research on Organic Production of Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Zestar!, Macoun, and Liberty Apples Lorraine Berkett, University of Vermont 1/24/12 The Organic Seed Grower's Conference, Port Townsend Washington: Selected Live Broadcasts various 1/20/12 and 1/21/12 Ecological Farm Design for Pest Management In Organic Vegetable Production: Successes and Challenges on Two Farms Helen Atthowe, Doug O'Brien 1/18/12 Carolina Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference: Selected Live Broadcasts various 1/12/12 and 1/13/12 Why Eat Organic: Live Broadcast from the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism and Organic Conference Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota 1/12/12 Reduced Tillage in Organic Vegetable Production: Successes, Challenges, and New Directions Helen Atthowe, Biodesign Farm, Consultant 12/13/11 Microbial Food Safety Issues of Organic Foods Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, University of Minnesota 12/6/11 Starting Up Small-Scale Organic Hops Production Rob Sirrine, Michigan State University, Brian Tennis, Michigan Hop Alliance 11/15/11 Dryland Organic Agriculture Symposium from the Washington Tilth Conference 2011 Various speakers, morning and afternoon sessions. 11/11/11 Tracking Your Produce--For Your Business and Health Collen Collier Bess, Michigan Dept of Agriculture 11/8/11 Healthy Soils for a Healthy Organic Dairy Farm -- Broadcast from 2011 NOFA-NY Organic Dairy Conference Heather Darby, University of Vermont, Cindy Daley, University of California, Chico 11/4/11 Root Media and Fertility Management for Organic Transplants John Biernbaum, Michigan State University 11/1/11 Plan for Marketing Your Organic Products Susan Smalley, Michigan State University 10/25/11 How to Breed for Organic Production Systems Jim Myers, Oregon State University 10/18/11 Flooding and Organic Certification Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota 10/13/11 Stockpiling Forages to Extend the Grazing Season on Your Organic Dairy Laura Paine, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection 7/28/11 Fly Management in the Organic Dairy Pasture Donald Rutz, Keith Waldron, New York State IPM Program 7/6/11 Using Small Grains as Forages on Your Organic Dairy Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension 4/14/11 Third Party Audits for Small and Medium Sized Meat Processors Jim Riddle, Joe McCommons, and the Quality Control Manager of Lorentz Meats 4/5/11 A Novel Strategy for Soil-borne Disease Management: Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) Joji Muramoto, Carol Shennan, David Butler, Maren Mochizuki, Erin Rosskopf 3/30/11 Integrated Pest Management in Organic Field Crops Eileen Cullen. Robin Mittenthal, University of Wisconsin, Christine Mason, Standard Process Farm 3/29/11 The Evolution, Status, and Future of Organic No-Till in the Northeast US Bill Curran, Penn State, Steven Mirsky, USDA, Bill Mason, Mason's Heritage Farms 3/22/11 USDA ERS 2011 Organic Farming Systems Conference Webinars various 3/16/11 Local Dirt: Beyond Marketing. Find Buyers, Sell Online, Source & Buy Product…Yourself Heather Hilleren, Kassie Rizzo, Local Dirt 3/15/11 GMO Contamination: What's an Organic Farmer to Do? Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota 3/9/11 North Carolina's Statewide Initiative for Building a Local Food Economy Nancy Creamer, Teisha Wymore, North Carolina State University 3/1/11 Grafting for Disease Management in Organic Tomato Production Frank Louws North Carolina State University Cary Rivard, Kansas State University 2/22/11 Shades of Green Dairy Farm Calculator Charles Benbrook, The Organic Center 2/1/11 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Dairy Farming Systems Tom Richard, Gustavo Camargo, Penn State 1/25/11 Assessing Nitrogen Contribution and Rhizobia Diversity Associated with Winter Legume Cover Crops in Organic Systems Julie Grossman, North Carolina State University 12/14/10 Using Winter Killed Cover Crops to Facilitate Organic No-till Planting of Early Spring Vegetables Mike Snow, Farm Manager, Accokeek Ecosystem Farm; Charlie White, Penn State 12/7/10 Using Cover Crops to Suppress Weeds in Northeast US Farming systems William Curran, Matthew Ryan, Penn State 12/2/10 Transitioning Organic Dairy Cows off and on Pasture Rick Kersbergen, University of Maine 11/23/10 Greenhouse Gases and Agriculture: Where does Organic Farming fit? David Granatstein, Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, Washington State University, Dave Huggins 11/15/10 Impact of Grain Farming Methods on Climate Change Michel Cavigelli, USDA, Beltsville MD 11/12/10 Setting up a Grazing System on Your Organic Dairy Farm Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting, Cindy Daley, California State University, Chico 10/1/10 Maximizing Dry Matter Intake on Your Organic Dairy Farm Karen Hoffman, USDA-NRCS 9/16/10 How to Calculate Pasture Dry Matter Intake on Your Organic Dairy Farm Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting 8/20/10 Late Blight Control in Your Organic Garden Meg McGrath, Cornell 7/21/10 Late Blight Control on Organic Farms Meg McGrath, Cornell, Sally Miller, Ohio State 7/1/10 Increasing Plant and Soil Biodiversity on Organic Farmscapes Louise Jackson, University of California-Davis 5/4/10 Cover Crop Selection Jude Maul, USDA ARS 4/27/10 The Economics of Organic Dairy Farming in New England Bob Parsons, University of Vermont 4/13/10 Estimating Plant-Available Nitrogen Contribution from Cover Crops Nick Andrews, Dan Sullivan, Oregon State 4/13/10 Planning for Flexibility in Effective Crop Rotations Chuck Mohler, Cornell 4/6/10 Using NRCS Conservation Practices and Programs to Transition to Organic David Lamm, USDA NRCS 3/30/10 Planning Your Organic Farm for Profit Richard Wiswall, Cate Farm 3/22/10 A Look at the Newly Released Organic Pasture Rule Kerry Smith, USDA, AMS, National Organic Program 3/17/10 Organic Blueberry Production Bernadine Strik, Handell Larco, Oregon State University, David Bryla, USDA 3/9/10 High Tunnel Production and Low Cost Tunnel Construction Tim Coolong, University of Kentucky 3/2/10 Getting EQIPed: USDA Conservation Programs for Organic and Transistioning Farmers Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota 2/23/10 Organic Certification of Research Sites and Facilities Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota 2/9/10 Grafting Tomatoes for Organic Open Field and High Tunnel Production David Francis, Ohio State 2/2/10 Undercover Nutrient Investigation: The Effects of Mulch on Nutrients for Blueberry Dan Sullivan, Ryan Costello, Luis Valenzuela, Oregon State 1/26/10 ABCs of Organic Certification Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota 1/19/10 Organic Farming Financial Benchmarks Dale Nordquist, University of Minnesota 1/12/10 Organic Late Blight 2009 Webinar Sally Miller, Ohio State: Meg McGrath, Cornell; Alex Stone, Oregon State University 12/14/09

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 4942

Economic Risk Management for Organic Seed Growers

lun, 2018/06/04 - 15:25

eOrganic authors:

Tessa Peters, Organic Seed Alliance

Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance

The lack of adequate quantities of organic seed is recognized as a weak link in organic production and has resulted in ongoing exemptions to the National Organic Program’s (NOP) organic seed requirement. While organic seed production is a developing industry and a viable economic opportunity for organic growers, there is uncertainty and risk. In particular, seed growers may desire mentorship in enterprise budgeting, record keeping, and marketing strategy. This training aims to help the industry to scale up organic seed production, increase the profits for growers, and build the supply of organic seed nationally through increasing growers' knowledge by making tools and examples available for enterprise budgeting, inventory management, foundation and stock seed planning, and contracting. Scroll down for links to many of the tools and watch the presentations from the 2018 Seed Economics Intensive at the Organic Seed Growers Conference. 

Download the Tools:   Enterprise Budget Tool (Organic Seed Alliance)

This seed enterprise budget tool was developed  to guide farmers who are interested in knowing the costs associated with producing individual seed crops on their farms. Enterprise budgets provide a snapshot of costs associated with a single crop for a single year and do not make predictions or forecasts for future years. However, they can be used to provide guidance for farmers who are considering investments in new equipment, training, or scale. Sensitivity analyses can be done by entering different values for any variable in the production flow. Each value in the tool can be customized, though common default values are provided for some calculations in the current version.

Download the Organic Seed Alliance Enterprise Budget Tool

 Enterprise Budgeting Tool (Farm Folk City Folk and the Bauta Family Initiative)

Based on the work of Daniel Brisebois and Richard Wiswall, the BC Seed Security Program at FarmFolk CityFolk and the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security have developed a website to help you help you determine the cost of your labour and material inputs as well as potential sales revenue for seed crops.The website contains a spreadsheet which you can use, and which is being tested by seed growers in British Columbia. Download the tool at http://www.bcseeds.org/business-resources/seed-enterprise-budgets/

Sebastian Aguilar's presentation in Farmer Enterprise Budget Case Studies webinar recording below uses this type of tool. 

Seed Contracting Website and Case Studies

This website, also developed by FarmFolk CityFolk and the Bauta Familia Initiative, provides three case studies of Canadian farmers who grow seed on contract, provides sample contracts, and best practices: http://www.bcseeds.org/business-resources/contract-growing/

*For more seed contract examples, scroll to the bottom of this page to download contracts from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and High Mowing Organic Seeds. 

 

Climactic Considerations for Seed Crops: Guidelines and Field Trainings for Organic and Specialty Vegetable Seed Producers

This guide provides detailed climatic considerations for organic and specialty seed production in the Pacific Northwest. Topics include environmental influences on pollination and fertilization, and the influence of temperature, day length, frost-free days, precipitation, and wind. The guide also includes sections on environmental management, crop selection for seed production, and the history and geography of seed production in the region.

Download the Climactic Considerations for Seed Crops Guide 

 

Labor Tracking Tool for Seed Producers

Tracking on-farm labor can be confusing or overwhelming, but it is also extremely important for growers trying to get a handle on what their operator costs are, or produce enterprise budgets. The forms in this tool are designed as a guide that offers different method for tracking. Three different forms are included in the Labor Tracking Tool for Seed Producers. Each operation (or operator) might prefer a different type of form or a modified version of one of the forms. The first form is designed for operations where a person might track a different operation each day. One form would be used for each operation with a tick mark placed on the type of operation being tracked. The second form is designed for activities that will be performed many times over many dates (such as watering in a greenhouse or screening a large seed lot. The third form is designed to be used by a single operator who will track a number of different activities. Any of these (or all of these) may be useful for tracking labor in a seed production operation. Download the Labor Tracking Tool for Seed Producers

Production, Stock, and Foundation Seed Planning Tool for Seed Producers

Common questions around foundation, stock, and production seed are: How much foundation seed do I need to ensure I have enough stock seed? How much stock seed should I produce every third year for my production seed? The Production Planning Tool for Seed Producers is a simple excel sheet that helps guide decision making around how much and how often to produce foundation, stock, and production seed based on your operation, desired inventory, longevity of the seed, and estimated yield. A blank template and a real-world example are included as separate worksheets.

Download the Production Planning Tool for Seed Producers 

Watch the Webinars: Seed Economics Intensive Recorded at the Organic Seed Growers Conference: 14 Feb, 2018

Navigating the financial challenge of growing seed commercially can be challenging and managing the risks are essential to success. Beginning and experienced seed growers joined the Organic Seed Alliance for this one-day intensive to explore tools for managing financial risk in commercial seed production through budgeting tools to evaluate capital investments, expand enterprises, and assess market opportunities. We examined real-world examples from seed growers with different marketing strategies to build knowledge of wholesale, retail, contract growing, breeding, and variety maintenance. Presenters had the opportunity to provide their own production examples and work with an agricultural economist to develop enterprise budgets. We also heard from organic seed industry representatives about gaps in the seed supply, best practices for quality control, and essentials for contracting with their organizations. 

Click here for the recordings as a YouTube playlist

Presenters: Sebastian Aguilar, Chickadee Farm; Travis Greenwalt, Highland Economics; Sam McCullough, Nash's Organic Produce; Tanya Murray, Oregon Tilth; Sarah Kleeger, Adaptive Seed; Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seed; Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Pete Zuck, Johnny's Selected Seeds

Inventory Management: Tessa Peters, Organic Seed Alliance

Seed companies largest risk is embodied in their inventory. A failure to manage inventory is the number one risk for seed businesses. In this presentation, Tessa Peters of the Organic Seed Alliance discusses inventory management strategies including variety lifecycles, marketing as a retail business or a wholesale business, considerations for stewarded varieties, managing foundation, stock, and production seed, and forecasting. 


Choosing a Scale and Marketing – Retail case study: Sarah Kleeger, Adaptive Seeds

Sarah Kleeger of Adaptive Seeds gives a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of her seed company. She shares the business structure and the percent shares of each of the business costs. She gives insight into managing inventory at her scale including choosing varieties through trails and tastings, providing breeder liberties and intellectual property. 

Working with Seed Companies – Wholesale case study: Sebastian Aguilar, Chickadee Farm

Sebastian Aguilar runs a wholesale contracting seed business in California. He gives an inside look at growing crops on contract. Including establishing relationships with seed companies, quality expectations, dealing with cash flow challenges, and investments in equipment. 

Enterprise Budgets: Travis Greenwalt, Highland Economics

Travis Greewalt presents an introduction to using the Organic Seed Alliance's Enterprise Budgeting Tool (linked below.) He discusses what enterprise budgets are designed to do and what they are not designed to do. Then he provides a case study of chard seed. Finally, he presents a sensitivity analysis for the chard example in which he provides different price points for and yield estimates for the example to show how an enterprise budget might be used in decision making for your farm. 

Tracking Labor: Tanya Murray, Oregon Tilth

Tanya Murray leads a cost study cohort program with Oregon State University and Oregon Tilth. She presents ideas for tracking labor costs on-farm using time studies. 

Farmer Enterprise Budget Case Studies: Sarah Kleeger, Adaptive Seeds; Sebastian Aguilar, Chickadee Farm; Sam McCullough, Nash's Organic Produce

Three farmers give real-life examples of how to use enterprise budgets to track costs for specific seed crops. Sarah discusses two squashes (Oregon Homestead Sweet Meat winter squash, Lower Salmon River Squash) and two peppers (Bacskai Feher and Korean hot peppers) using OSA's tool (linked below.) Sebastian presents a Wiswall-based method for lettuce and tomatoes. Sam McCullough presents on two varieties of chard, delivered at different seed cleaning specifications. 

A portion of this material is funded in partnership by USDA, Risk Management Agency, under award number RM17RMEPP522C044/4500075419

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25243

Identifying Bird Nests on Farm Structures

ven, 2018/06/01 - 01:10

eOrganic authors:

Olivia Smith, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University

William Snyder, Department of Entomology, Washington State University

Introduction

Growers often find bird nests around structures where food is washed, packaged, stored, and shipped. However, identification of these nests can be challenging. This article provides guidance on identifying nests of bird species commonly found nesting in barns, sheds, or other farm buildings. Most bird species included in this article are known to carry bacteria that cause food safety problems, such as pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella. However, some of these birds are also known to eat pest insects or rodents, so promoting nesting in appropriate areas can provide valuable natural pest control. Our article also makes recommendations for discouraging nesting in undesirable locations, such as food processing areas, and for promoting it elsewhere where birds can be primarily beneficial. We have organized the article by bird species that have invaded North America from Europe and Asia, and by species that are native to North America. Native species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and cannot be harassed or have their nests tampered with. 

Invasive Species European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

 

Figure 1. Group of European Starlings perched on a farm structure. Note the yellow bill and pinkish-orange legs that distinguish starlings from similar-looking native blackbirds. More identification information can be found online here. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The European Starling (hereinafter starling; Fig. 1) was introduced to Central Park in 1890 and 1891 by Shakespeare enthusiasts who wanted all of the birds in Shakespeare's plays to be found in the park. If only they had never gone to the theater! After several unsuccessful releases, populations took off, and the starling has arguably become the most successful (and loathed) invasive bird species in North America. Though starlings are most numerous in human-dominated landscapes, they can be detrimental to native bird species due to competition for cavity nesting sites (Cabe, 1993). Although starlings do compete with more desirable native species for natural tree cavities, they have amazing flexibility in nest site selection and will also use cavities in structures (Fig. 2). Starlings construct nests inside of cavities with materials that can fall and dirty equipment or contaminate food with associated feces. Nests are easiest to locate by watching adults fly in and out of cavities. Starlings are known to vector pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 (Williams et al., 2011) and Salmonella enterica (Carlson et al., 2011; Kirk et al., 2002) and should be discouraged from nesting near food operations. Specific recommendations on starling nest management can be found here.

Figure 2. Lean-to style food wash station with open rafters that allow starling nesting. Circled is the cavity where starlings were observed nesting. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Starlings will begin choosing nest sites as early as February (Cabe, 1993) and can begin laying eggs between mid-March and mid-June, depending on latitude (Kessel, 1957). Birds typically lay around 4-5 eggs per clutch (a group of eggs) and have 1-2 broods (a group of nestlings hatched at the same time). Eggs are bluish or greenish white and approximately 2.7–3.2 cm long by 1.9–2.3 cm wide. Incubation generally takes 12 days (Ricklefs and Smeraski, 1983). Nestlings fledge (depart from the nest) on day 21–23 after hatching and typically continue to rely on the parents to supplement their food for 10–12 days (Cabe, 1993). Starlings are omnivorous (Wilman et al., 2014) and eat pest insects, predatory arthropods, and crops (Cabe, 1993; Somers, 2002). As with most bird species, the number of insects in the diet increases during the breeding season while chicks are growing and insect abundance is high (Cabe, 1993). 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Figure 3. Invasive House Sparrow occupying native Cliff Swallow nest. Note the black bib on the throat, brown eye stripe, gray gap, and solid light gray belly that distinguish the male House Sparrow from native species. More identification information can be found online here. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Similar to the story of the European Starling, the House Sparrow (Fig. 3) was introduced to North America in the 1850s and has now invaded all of North America. This species is highly associated with human-dominated landscapes. The House Sparrow has amazing nest site selection flexibility and can nest in nest boxes, inside and on buildings (Fig. 4), in stolen nests of other species (Fig. 3), or nest in and on trees. Intense competition for nesting cavities with native species can occur. Nests are constructed from a variety of materials such as dried plant material, feathers, or string. Like the European Starling, nests are most easily identified by watching birds fly to them (Lowther and Cink, 2006). Nest debris often accumulates under the nest location, causing food safety concerns when House Sparrows nest in food processing areas. This species is known to carry E. coli and Salmonella spp. (Morishita et al., 1999; Kirk et al., 2002) so should be discouraged from nesting near areas where food is present. Specific recommendations on House Sparrow nest management can be found here.

Figure 4. House Sparrow nests in barn rafters. Chicken wire was used to discourage nesting, but the sparrows were able to get under the netting. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Nest building begins in February and March, and egg laying begins in March. House Sparrows have amazing fecundity, can have 4–8 broods per season, and can lay between 1–8 eggs per clutch (average about 5 eggs). Eggs are oval; about 2.1 cm long by 1.6 cm wide; and white, greenish-white, or blueish-white with gray or brown spots. Birds begin incubation after laying the final egg of a clutch. Incubation generally lasts 10–14 days. Chicks generally fledge after 14 days. Fledglings independently feed themselves after 7–10 days (Lowther and Cink, 2006). Insects, including alfalfa weevils and other pests, comprise about 68% of the diet of young birds (Lowther and Cink, 2006), while adults are primarily granivorous, often consuming livestock feed (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

 

Figure 5. Rock Pigeons have beautiful iridescent green and purple napes. Their overall plumage is a dark blue-grey, setting them apart from invasive Eurasian Collared-Doves and native Mourning Doves. Rock Pigeons are most common in landscapes dominated by humans. Photo credit: Robin Horn, Tall Rock Pigeon, License.

Domesticated Rock Pigeons were introduced into North America by Europeans in the 1600s and readily went feral. Like the common name Rock Pigeon implies, this species historically nested on cliffs and in caves, so ledges of modern human structures are quite suitable as long as flat surfaces occur (Fig. 5; Lowther and Johnston, 2014). Nests are typically flimsy constructions made of straw, stems, sticks, or human objects. Rock Pigeons are known to carry pathogenic E. coli (Kobayashi et al., 2009) and Salmonella enterica (Kirk et al., 2002) and should be discouraged from nesting near food processing areas.

Figure 6. Rock Pigeon sitting on nest. Nests are typically simple with some sticks, stems, or straw placed on a flat ledge. Photo credit: Benny MazurRooftop pigeon, License.

Nesting begins mid-February. Birds lay two eggs, and incubation begins after laying the second. Eggs are white and average 3.8 cm in length by 2.9 cm in width. Eggs typically hatch after 18 days, and chicks fledge on day 25–32. In some areas, Rock Pigeons can nest year- round due to chicks feeding on seeds and crop milk (a secretion from the crop of pigeons regurgitated to feed chicks). Mean number of nesting attempts per year is 6.5 (Lowther and Johnston, 2014). Adults are primarily granivorous (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Native Species

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one cannot tamper with native bird nests or eggs. Therefore, with native species, prevention of nesting in undesirable areas and encouraging nesting in desirable areas is key (more details below).

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Figure 7. Adult Barn Swallow in flight. Note the long tail streamers which set it apart from other adult swallows. Photo credit: Denise Coyle, Barn Swallow

The Barn Swallow is a species most growers love to see gliding effortlessly through the air eating pest insects (more information can be found here) but often causes disgruntlement due to its nesting habits. Historically a species that nested in caves, the Barn Swallow now primarily nests under the eaves of buildings or inside artificial structures (Fig. 7). Barn Swallows build open-cup nests from mud on the walls of structures. They often nest colonially (Brown and Brown, 1999). Pathogenic E. coli has been found in Barn Swallows (Nielsen et al., 2004), so nesting above food processing areas should be discouraged.

Figure 8. Barn Swallow nest. Unlike the similar Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow nests are open cup. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Barn Swallows have a vast global distribution, so there is considerable variation in life history attributes within the species. Birds typically begin nest-building within two weeks after returning to the breeding grounds (Brown and Brown, 1999). Females typically lay between 4–8 eggs (Shields and Crook, 1987). Eggs have an ovate to elliptical ovate shape and are creamy or pinkish white with brown, lavender, and gray spots. Egg size averages 1.9 cm long by 1.4 cm wide. Barn Swallows often have 2 broods per year but can have as many as 4. Incubation lasts about 12–17 days. Chicks fledge around day 18–27. For up to 2 weeks, fledglings rely on parents for feeding (Brown and Brown, 1999). Barn Swallows eat almost exclusively insects (Wilman et al., 2014; more information can be found here). 

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

Figure 9. Cliff Swallow adults in nest. Cliff Swallow nests are enclosed structures with the entrance hole at the top, unlike the open-cup Barn Swallow nest. Apparent is the telltale white forehead that distinguishes them from the Barn Swallow. Note the old Barn Swallow nest under the newer mud of the Cliff Swallow nest. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Historically, the Cliff Swallow nested colonially under ledges of canyons in the West (Fig. 8). Human land usage allowed a range expansion because modern highway culverts, bridges, and buildings became manmade "cliffs" for Cliff Swallows to build nests on (Brown et al., 2017). Like the Barn Swallow, the Cliff Swallow builds nests from mud, but unlike the Barn Swallow, the Cliff Swallow's nest is enclosed and looks like a gourd (Fig. 8). Cliff Swallow colonies have been associated with increased environmental E. coli concentrations (Sejkora et al., 2011), so nesting should be discouraged above food packing areas.

Nest building typically begins within a few weeks of arrival to the breeding grounds. Arrival date and subsequent nest building varies by latitude and can start as early as March. The outside of nests are built entirely from mud, unlike Barn Swallow nests (Fig. 8), though birds do line the inside with grass. Clutch size varies from 1–6 eggs and averages about 3. Cliff Swallows usually have one brood but can have two if the first fails (Brown et al., 2017). Eggs are white, creamy, or pinkish with brown speckles or blotches. Cliff Swallow eggs average 2.0 cm in length by 1.4 cm in width. Incubation ranges from 11–16 days and averages around 13.6 (Grant and Quay, 1977). Chicks normally fledge between days 20–26, depending on the region. Fledglings rely on parents for food for the first 3–5 days (Brown et al., 2017). Like the Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallows eat almost exclusively insects (Wilman et al., 2014; more information can be found here).

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Figure 10. Black Phoebe perched on deer fence. Note the white belly contrasting against the otherwise black feathers and the slightly crested head feathers. Black Phoebes often bob their tails while perched, a characteristic of the phoebes. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The Black Phoebe (Fig. 10) has a small distribution within the continental United States but is frequently found on California organic farms foraging for insects. Natural nest sites include sheltered rock faces, streamside boulders, and hollow tree cavities. Like many other species in this article, human-built structures have increased densities of Black Phoebes by providing artificial nest sites. Black Phoebe nests (Fig. 11) appear quite similar to Barn Swallow nests. Nests are open cup, plastered to vertical surfaces, and composed of mud and plant material such as stems and small roots (Wolf, 1997). No current evidence has demonstrated Black Phoebes carry human enteric pathogens. However, Black Phoebes are known to frequent cattle troughs (Wolf, 1997), which is a known transmission point of human enteric pathogens between livestock and wild birds (Carlson et al., 2010). Therefore, growers should use caution due to little data existing on Black Phoebe pathogen rates. 

Figure 11. Black Phoebe adult feeding chicks in open cup mud nest. Photo credit: Glorietta13, Black phoebes, CC BY-NC 2.0

Nest building typically begins in early March. Black Phoebes generally raise 1–2 broods per season with a clutch size of 1–6 eggs. Eggs are ovate to short ovate and white, sometimes with light spots around the large end. Eggs are typically 1.9 cm in length by 1.5 cm in width. Incubation averages 16–17 days. Chicks fledge between days 18–21. Fledglings are dependent on adults for the first 7–11 days (Wolf, 1997). Adults and chicks are almost exclusively insectivorous (Wilman et al., 2014).

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Figure 12. American Robin perched on fence post holding invertebrate prey. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The American Robin (Fig. 12) is, perhaps surprisingly, a thrush. To the disdain of many growers, its diet is largely comprised of beneficial invertebrates such as earthworms in the early breeding season, and switches to primarily fruits in fall and winter. It is adapted to live in many habitats and is common on farms and urban settings, as well as more forested settings like other thrushes (Vanderhoff et al., 2016). Like its habitat usage, its nest placement also has flexibility. Robins often place nests in shrubs, trees, or on structures, as long as the nest is on a firm support (Fig. 13). The nest is an open cup, constructed from mud, dead grass, and twigs on the outside, with a lining of fine dead grass pieces. One study found high prevalence of E. coli in American Robins (44.8%), though it did not distinguish pathogenic from non-pathogenic strains (Parker et al., 2016), so risk of American Robins carrying pathogenic E. coli is unclear. The USGS database Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership (WHISPers) reports several suspected cases of Salmonellosis in American Robins, suggesting they may vector Salmonella enterica to produce if allowed to nest near produce wash stations.



Figure 13. American Robin nest with three chicks about to fledge. Photo credit: alsteele, Young American Robins, CC BY-SA 2.0

The American Robin is one of the most widely distributed species in North America, so onset of breeding varies by location, and occurs between April and June (Vanderhoff et al., 2016). Robins typically lay 3–4 eggs per clutch and have 2 broods per year. Eggs are a beautiful sky blue or green-blue color and average 2.8–3.0 cm in length by 2.1 cm in width (Fig. 14). The incubation period is generally 11–14 days (Howell, 1942). Nestlings typically fledge around day 13 after hatching (range 9–16 days; Howell, 1942). Parents typically begin a second brood within days of the first fledging. For the second clutch, once incubation begins, males feed fledglings while females incubate (Weatherhead and Mcrae, 1990). 

Figure 14. American Robin egg. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)

Figure 15. House Finch female (left) and male (right) eating seeds. Males have a bright red throat, belly, cap, and nape. Intensity of red color indicates male health. Females are drab but can be distinguished from other species by the sturdy, seed cracking bill. House Finches also have streaking on the breast that distinguishes them from similar looking House Sparrows. Photo credit: John Flannery, The House Finches, CC BY-ND 2.0

The House Finch (Fig. 15) is native to the deserts and dry, open habitats of the southwestern United States. In 1939, several birds were released from a pet store in New York City, allowing a range expansion into the eastern United States. The western population has also expanded its range so that now the House Finch occurs across most of the United States and Mexico. Nests can be placed in a large variety of sites: pine, palm trees, cacti, rock ledges, ivy on buildings, street lamps, hanging planters, parking structures, lean-tos, window sills, in the cavities of various farm equipment, etc. Nests are open cup and built from grass, leaves, rootlets, small twigs, string, wool, and feathers (Fig. 16). In urban areas, birds will incorporate human items such twine, string, dog hair, cellophane, and even cigarette filters (Badyaev et al., 2012). House Finches are known to carry E. coli (Morishita et al., 1999) and Salmonella enterica (Kirk et al., 2002), so nesting near food processing areas should be discouraged.



Figure 16. House Finch female sitting on open cup nest placed on gutter. Photo credit: Robert Hruzek, House Finch – Detail, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nest building begins in February in the southwest portion of the range and March in the northern portion. Birds can nest up to 6 times per year but have only been observed to have 3 successful broods a season. Eggs are pale blue to white with black and pale purple speckles. Egg shape is sub-elliptical to long sub-elliptical and ranges from 1.6–2.1 cm in length by 1.2–1.8 cm in width. Incubation can take between 12–17 days and averages 13–14. Fledglings typically take 2.5–3 weeks to feed themselves completely independently from parents (Badyaev et al., 2012). Young are thought to eat mostly weed seeds with very little insect matter in the diet (<2%; Beal, 1907). House Finch adults are granivorous (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Figure 17. Barn Owl in flight. Photo credit: Robert Shea, Barn Owl, CC BY-NC 2.0

Like the Barn Swallow, the Barn Owl (Fig. 17) has a nearly global distribution. It is typically found in open habitats such as pastures and farm fields rather than closed, forested habitats. Barn Owls are nocturnal and most likely to be seen around dawn and dusk. The Barn Owl has a piercing shriek (example recording here) that can also give away its occupancy. Barn Owls nest in cavities including tree cavities, cliffs, church steeples, barn lofts, haystacks, and nest boxes (Fig. 18). Suitable nesting locations is a limiting factor for this beneficial raptor, so providing nest boxes is important (Marti et al., 2005; click here for more information on construction and placement). Barn owls are known to carry Salmonella spp. (Kirkpatrick and Colvin, 1986), antibiotic resistant E. coli (Alcalá et al., 2016), and Campylobacter spp. (Molina-Lopez et al., 2011), perhaps from feeding on mice carrying these bacteria.

Figure 18. Barn Owl nest box. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The Barn Owl does not usually build nests, though some dig burrows in arroyo walls in Colorado and New Mexico. Because of its wide distribution, egg laying initiation date varies and can occur year-round. One brood is common for birds in temperate regions, but some pairs have 3 broods per year. Average clutch size ranges from 3.1 to 7.2, depending on location. Eggs are short sub-elliptical, are about 3.2–3.4 cm in length by 4.0–4.4 cm in width, and dull white. The female incubates eggs for 29–34 days. Fledging date varies based on location. In England, first flight is usually day 50–55, whereas in Utah, mean fledging date is day 64. Fledglings are dependent on adults for 3–5 weeks. Fledglings are clumsy until they gain enough strength and agility to fly (Fig. 18). Chicks and adults eat the same diet, which is mostly small mammals, including common rodent pests (Moore et al., 1998; Marti et al., 2005; Wilman et al., 2014). However, evidence that Barn Owls increase yield through pest control services is still sparse (Moore et al., 1998), though Motro (2011) did find an estimated alfalfa yield increase of 3.2% due to Barn Owls, equating to $30/ha per year.

Figure 19. Barn Owl day of fledging. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Nest Location Management

It is illegal to tamper with nests or eggs of native species, so deterrence of nesting in unwanted locations before it begins is important. Avoid using poisons or methods that can harm or kill native species. Below are a few commonly recommended methods for deterring bird nesting on structures. More research is needed to test the efficacy of listed methods. Most methods are best initiated and maintained prior to the onset of the breeding season. 

  • Block cavity entrances using mesh, wood, or other barriers (see nest in Fig. 2 above for an example this method could help with). Place netting carefully to avoid birds getting trapped inside (but see Fig. 4).
  • Create slopes on ledges by placing boards at a 45 degree angle so that species like Rock Pigeon cannot build nests. If a board doesn't work, try a loose spring that creates an unstable surface for birds to build on. Spikes are also an option, but be aware spikes can kill birds. A quick internet search shows many examples of nests built on top of spikes, suggesting they are ineffective, and will also show photos of impaled birds.
  • Create a visual disturbance near nest sites by using flashing lights, placing mirrors on ledges, or hanging mylar tape. However, species like the European Starling are extremely smart and aren't fooled for long with these methods (Belant et al., 1998).
  • Place plastic predators near nests. These need to be moved frequently to continue to deter birds (Belant et al., 1998).
  • Use noise machines that project bird distress or predator calls. However, there is no current evidence to suggest this method works. 
  • Plant shrubs that provide good nesting habitat away from structures. Try planting near crops where birds will eat pest insects (like apples; Mols and Visser, 2002), but avoid placing next to crops birds will damage (cherries, blueberries, grapes; Somers et al., 2002). Prior research has demonstrated pest control services increase near natural habitat like hedges (Boesing et al., 2017).

Find ways to encourage nesting at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project NestWatch website, which has excellent information on how to promote nesting for many species, including many farmland birds not listed in this article.

Additional Resources

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology supports a great citizen scientist network with detailed information on nest box construction and placement (nestwatch.org), recommendations for attracting species of interest (content.yardmap.org), and range information (ebird.org). Project NestWatch also has great information on identifying many nests beyond the scope of this article (https://nestwatch.org/learn/focal-species/). The lab offers many opportunities for the public to get involved with scientific data collection through HabitatNetwork, Project FeederWatch, eBird, and NestWatch. Basic species information can be found at All About Birds, and the Merlin Bird ID app can aid in field identification.

References and Citations
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  • Kirkpatrick, C. E., and B. A. Colvin. 1986. Salmonella spp. in nestling common barn-owls (Tyto alba) from Southwestern New Jersey. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 22: 340–343. Available online at: https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/3525874 (verified 14 May 2018).
  • Kobayashi, H., M. Kanazaki, E. Hata, and M. Kubo. 2009. Prevalence and characteristics of eae- and stx- positive strains of Escherichia coli from wild birds in the immediate environment of Tokyo Bay. Applied Environmental Microbiology 75:292–295. Available online at: http://aem.asm.org/content/75/1/292.full (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Lowther, P. E., and C. L. Cink. 2006. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/houspa (verified 19 March 2018).
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This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25296

Identifying Bird Nests on Farm Structures

ven, 2018/06/01 - 01:10

eOrganic authors:

Olivia Smith, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University

William Snyder, Department of Entomology, Washington State University

Introduction

Growers often find bird nests around structures where food is washed, packaged, stored, and shipped. However, identification of these nests can be challenging. This article provides guidance on identifying nests of bird species commonly found nesting in barns, sheds, or other farm buildings. Most bird species included in this article are known to carry bacteria that cause food safety problems, such as pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella. However, some of these birds are also known to eat pest insects or rodents, so promoting nesting in appropriate areas can provide valuable natural pest control. Our article also makes recommendations for discouraging nesting in undesirable locations, such as food processing areas, and for promoting it elsewhere where birds can be primarily beneficial. We have organized the article by bird species that have invaded North America from Europe and Asia, and by species that are native to North America. Native species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and cannot be harassed or have their nests tampered with. 

Invasive Species European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

 

Figure 1. Group of European Starlings perched on a farm structure. Note the yellow bill and pinkish-orange legs that distinguish starlings from similar-looking native blackbirds. More identification information can be found online here. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The European Starling (hereinafter starling; Fig. 1) was introduced to Central Park in 1890 and 1891 by Shakespeare enthusiasts who wanted all of the birds in Shakespeare's plays to be found in the park. If only they had never gone to the theater! After several unsuccessful releases, populations took off, and the starling has arguably become the most successful (and loathed) invasive bird species in North America. Though starlings are most numerous in human-dominated landscapes, they can be detrimental to native bird species due to competition for cavity nesting sites (Cabe, 1993). Although starlings do compete with more desirable native species for natural tree cavities, they have amazing flexibility in nest site selection and will also use cavities in structures (Fig. 2). Starlings construct nests inside of cavities with materials that can fall and dirty equipment or contaminate food with associated feces. Nests are easiest to locate by watching adults fly in and out of cavities. Starlings are known to vector pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 (Williams et al., 2011) and Salmonella enterica (Carlson et al., 2011; Kirk et al., 2002) and should be discouraged from nesting near food operations. Specific recommendations on starling nest management can be found here.

Figure 2. Lean-to style food wash station with open rafters that allow starling nesting. Circled is the cavity where starlings were observed nesting. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Starlings will begin choosing nest sites as early as February (Cabe, 1993) and can begin laying eggs between mid-March and mid-June, depending on latitude (Kessel, 1957). Birds typically lay around 4-5 eggs per clutch (a group of eggs) and have 1-2 broods (a group of nestlings hatched at the same time). Eggs are bluish or greenish white and approximately 2.7–3.2 cm long by 1.9–2.3 cm wide. Incubation generally takes 12 days (Ricklefs and Smeraski, 1983). Nestlings fledge (depart from the nest) on day 21–23 after hatching and typically continue to rely on the parents to supplement their food for 10–12 days (Cabe, 1993). Starlings are omnivorous (Wilman et al., 2014) and eat pest insects, predatory arthropods, and crops (Cabe, 1993; Somers, 2002). As with most bird species, the number of insects in the diet increases during the breeding season while chicks are growing and insect abundance is high (Cabe, 1993). 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Figure 3. Invasive House Sparrow occupying native Cliff Swallow nest. Note the black bib on the throat, brown eye stripe, gray gap, and solid light gray belly that distinguish the male House Sparrow from native species. More identification information can be found online here. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Similar to the story of the European Starling, the House Sparrow (Fig. 3) was introduced to North America in the 1850s and has now invaded all of North America. This species is highly associated with human-dominated landscapes. The House Sparrow has amazing nest site selection flexibility and can nest in nest boxes, inside and on buildings (Fig. 4), in stolen nests of other species (Fig. 3), or nest in and on trees. Intense competition for nesting cavities with native species can occur. Nests are constructed from a variety of materials such as dried plant material, feathers, or string. Like the European Starling, nests are most easily identified by watching birds fly to them (Lowther and Cink, 2006). Nest debris often accumulates under the nest location, causing food safety concerns when House Sparrows nest in food processing areas. This species is known to carry E. coli and Salmonella spp. (Morishita et al., 1999; Kirk et al., 2002) so should be discouraged from nesting near areas where food is present. Specific recommendations on House Sparrow nest management can be found here.

Figure 4. House Sparrow nests in barn rafters. Chicken wire was used to discourage nesting, but the sparrows were able to get under the netting. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Nest building begins in February and March, and egg laying begins in March. House Sparrows have amazing fecundity, can have 4–8 broods per season, and can lay between 1–8 eggs per clutch (average about 5 eggs). Eggs are oval; about 2.1 cm long by 1.6 cm wide; and white, greenish-white, or blueish-white with gray or brown spots. Birds begin incubation after laying the final egg of a clutch. Incubation generally lasts 10–14 days. Chicks generally fledge after 14 days. Fledglings independently feed themselves after 7–10 days (Lowther and Cink, 2006). Insects, including alfalfa weevils and other pests, comprise about 68% of the diet of young birds (Lowther and Cink, 2006), while adults are primarily granivorous, often consuming livestock feed (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

 

Figure 5. Rock Pigeons have beautiful iridescent green and purple napes. Their overall plumage is a dark blue-grey, setting them apart from invasive Eurasian Collared-Doves and native Mourning Doves. Rock Pigeons are most common in landscapes dominated by humans. Photo credit: Robin Horn, Tall Rock Pigeon, License.

Domesticated Rock Pigeons were introduced into North America by Europeans in the 1600s and readily went feral. Like the common name Rock Pigeon implies, this species historically nested on cliffs and in caves, so ledges of modern human structures are quite suitable as long as flat surfaces occur (Fig. 5; Lowther and Johnston, 2014). Nests are typically flimsy constructions made of straw, stems, sticks, or human objects. Rock Pigeons are known to carry pathogenic E. coli (Kobayashi et al., 2009) and Salmonella enterica (Kirk et al., 2002) and should be discouraged from nesting near food processing areas.

Figure 6. Rock Pigeon sitting on nest. Nests are typically simple with some sticks, stems, or straw placed on a flat ledge. Photo credit: Benny MazurRooftop pigeon, License.

Nesting begins mid-February. Birds lay two eggs, and incubation begins after laying the second. Eggs are white and average 3.8 cm in length by 2.9 cm in width. Eggs typically hatch after 18 days, and chicks fledge on day 25–32. In some areas, Rock Pigeons can nest year- round due to chicks feeding on seeds and crop milk (a secretion from the crop of pigeons regurgitated to feed chicks). Mean number of nesting attempts per year is 6.5 (Lowther and Johnston, 2014). Adults are primarily granivorous (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Native Species

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one cannot tamper with native bird nests or eggs. Therefore, with native species, prevention of nesting in undesirable areas and encouraging nesting in desirable areas is key (more details below).

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Figure 7. Adult Barn Swallow in flight. Note the long tail streamers which set it apart from other adult swallows. Photo credit: Denise Coyle, Barn Swallow

The Barn Swallow is a species most growers love to see gliding effortlessly through the air eating pest insects (more information can be found here) but often causes disgruntlement due to its nesting habits. Historically a species that nested in caves, the Barn Swallow now primarily nests under the eaves of buildings or inside artificial structures (Fig. 7). Barn Swallows build open-cup nests from mud on the walls of structures. They often nest colonially (Brown and Brown, 1999). Pathogenic E. coli has been found in Barn Swallows (Nielsen et al., 2004), so nesting above food processing areas should be discouraged.

Figure 8. Barn Swallow nest. Unlike the similar Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow nests are open cup. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Barn Swallows have a vast global distribution, so there is considerable variation in life history attributes within the species. Birds typically begin nest-building within two weeks after returning to the breeding grounds (Brown and Brown, 1999). Females typically lay between 4–8 eggs (Shields and Crook, 1987). Eggs have an ovate to elliptical ovate shape and are creamy or pinkish white with brown, lavender, and gray spots. Egg size averages 1.9 cm long by 1.4 cm wide. Barn Swallows often have 2 broods per year but can have as many as 4. Incubation lasts about 12–17 days. Chicks fledge around day 18–27. For up to 2 weeks, fledglings rely on parents for feeding (Brown and Brown, 1999). Barn Swallows eat almost exclusively insects (Wilman et al., 2014; more information can be found here). 

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

Figure 9. Cliff Swallow adults in nest. Cliff Swallow nests are enclosed structures with the entrance hole at the top, unlike the open-cup Barn Swallow nest. Apparent is the telltale white forehead that distinguishes them from the Barn Swallow. Note the old Barn Swallow nest under the newer mud of the Cliff Swallow nest. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Historically, the Cliff Swallow nested colonially under ledges of canyons in the West (Fig. 8). Human land usage allowed a range expansion because modern highway culverts, bridges, and buildings became manmade "cliffs" for Cliff Swallows to build nests on (Brown et al., 2017). Like the Barn Swallow, the Cliff Swallow builds nests from mud, but unlike the Barn Swallow, the Cliff Swallow's nest is enclosed and looks like a gourd (Fig. 8). Cliff Swallow colonies have been associated with increased environmental E. coli concentrations (Sejkora et al., 2011), so nesting should be discouraged above food packing areas.

Nest building typically begins within a few weeks of arrival to the breeding grounds. Arrival date and subsequent nest building varies by latitude and can start as early as March. The outside of nests are built entirely from mud, unlike Barn Swallow nests (Fig. 8), though birds do line the inside with grass. Clutch size varies from 1–6 eggs and averages about 3. Cliff Swallows usually have one brood but can have two if the first fails (Brown et al., 2017). Eggs are white, creamy, or pinkish with brown speckles or blotches. Cliff Swallow eggs average 2.0 cm in length by 1.4 cm in width. Incubation ranges from 11–16 days and averages around 13.6 (Grant and Quay, 1977). Chicks normally fledge between days 20–26, depending on the region. Fledglings rely on parents for food for the first 3–5 days (Brown et al., 2017). Like the Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallows eat almost exclusively insects (Wilman et al., 2014; more information can be found here).

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Figure 10. Black Phoebe perched on deer fence. Note the white belly contrasting against the otherwise black feathers and the slightly crested head feathers. Black Phoebes often bob their tails while perched, a characteristic of the phoebes. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The Black Phoebe (Fig. 10) has a small distribution within the continental United States but is frequently found on California organic farms foraging for insects. Natural nest sites include sheltered rock faces, streamside boulders, and hollow tree cavities. Like many other species in this article, human-built structures have increased densities of Black Phoebes by providing artificial nest sites. Black Phoebe nests (Fig. 11) appear quite similar to Barn Swallow nests. Nests are open cup, plastered to vertical surfaces, and composed of mud and plant material such as stems and small roots (Wolf, 1997). No current evidence has demonstrated Black Phoebes carry human enteric pathogens. However, Black Phoebes are known to frequent cattle troughs (Wolf, 1997), which is a known transmission point of human enteric pathogens between livestock and wild birds (Carlson et al., 2010). Therefore, growers should use caution due to little data existing on Black Phoebe pathogen rates. 

Figure 11. Black Phoebe adult feeding chicks in open cup mud nest. Photo credit: Glorietta13, Black phoebes, CC BY-NC 2.0

Nest building typically begins in early March. Black Phoebes generally raise 1–2 broods per season with a clutch size of 1–6 eggs. Eggs are ovate to short ovate and white, sometimes with light spots around the large end. Eggs are typically 1.9 cm in length by 1.5 cm in width. Incubation averages 16–17 days. Chicks fledge between days 18–21. Fledglings are dependent on adults for the first 7–11 days (Wolf, 1997). Adults and chicks are almost exclusively insectivorous (Wilman et al., 2014).

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Figure 12. American Robin perched on fence post holding invertebrate prey. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The American Robin (Fig. 12) is, perhaps surprisingly, a thrush. To the disdain of many growers, its diet is largely comprised of beneficial invertebrates such as earthworms in the early breeding season, and switches to primarily fruits in fall and winter. It is adapted to live in many habitats and is common on farms and urban settings, as well as more forested settings like other thrushes (Vanderhoff et al., 2016). Like its habitat usage, its nest placement also has flexibility. Robins often place nests in shrubs, trees, or on structures, as long as the nest is on a firm support (Fig. 13). The nest is an open cup, constructed from mud, dead grass, and twigs on the outside, with a lining of fine dead grass pieces. One study found high prevalence of E. coli in American Robins (44.8%), though it did not distinguish pathogenic from non-pathogenic strains (Parker et al., 2016), so risk of American Robins carrying pathogenic E. coli is unclear. The USGS database Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership (WHISPers) reports several suspected cases of Salmonellosis in American Robins, suggesting they may vector Salmonella enterica to produce if allowed to nest near produce wash stations.



Figure 13. American Robin nest with three chicks about to fledge. Photo credit: alsteele, Young American Robins, CC BY-SA 2.0

The American Robin is one of the most widely distributed species in North America, so onset of breeding varies by location, and occurs between April and June (Vanderhoff et al., 2016). Robins typically lay 3–4 eggs per clutch and have 2 broods per year. Eggs are a beautiful sky blue or green-blue color and average 2.8–3.0 cm in length by 2.1 cm in width (Fig. 14). The incubation period is generally 11–14 days (Howell, 1942). Nestlings typically fledge around day 13 after hatching (range 9–16 days; Howell, 1942). Parents typically begin a second brood within days of the first fledging. For the second clutch, once incubation begins, males feed fledglings while females incubate (Weatherhead and Mcrae, 1990). 

Figure 14. American Robin egg. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)

Figure 15. House Finch female (left) and male (right) eating seeds. Males have a bright red throat, belly, cap, and nape. Intensity of red color indicates male health. Females are drab but can be distinguished from other species by the sturdy, seed cracking bill. House Finches also have streaking on the breast that distinguishes them from similar looking House Sparrows. Photo credit: John Flannery, The House Finches, CC BY-ND 2.0

The House Finch (Fig. 15) is native to the deserts and dry, open habitats of the southwestern United States. In 1939, several birds were released from a pet store in New York City, allowing a range expansion into the eastern United States. The western population has also expanded its range so that now the House Finch occurs across most of the United States and Mexico. Nests can be placed in a large variety of sites: pine, palm trees, cacti, rock ledges, ivy on buildings, street lamps, hanging planters, parking structures, lean-tos, window sills, in the cavities of various farm equipment, etc. Nests are open cup and built from grass, leaves, rootlets, small twigs, string, wool, and feathers (Fig. 16). In urban areas, birds will incorporate human items such twine, string, dog hair, cellophane, and even cigarette filters (Badyaev et al., 2012). House Finches are known to carry E. coli (Morishita et al., 1999) and Salmonella enterica (Kirk et al., 2002), so nesting near food processing areas should be discouraged.



Figure 16. House Finch female sitting on open cup nest placed on gutter. Photo credit: Robert Hruzek, House Finch – Detail, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nest building begins in February in the southwest portion of the range and March in the northern portion. Birds can nest up to 6 times per year but have only been observed to have 3 successful broods a season. Eggs are pale blue to white with black and pale purple speckles. Egg shape is sub-elliptical to long sub-elliptical and ranges from 1.6–2.1 cm in length by 1.2–1.8 cm in width. Incubation can take between 12–17 days and averages 13–14. Fledglings typically take 2.5–3 weeks to feed themselves completely independently from parents (Badyaev et al., 2012). Young are thought to eat mostly weed seeds with very little insect matter in the diet (<2%; Beal, 1907). House Finch adults are granivorous (Wilman et al., 2014). 

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Figure 17. Barn Owl in flight. Photo credit: Robert Shea, Barn Owl, CC BY-NC 2.0

Like the Barn Swallow, the Barn Owl (Fig. 17) has a nearly global distribution. It is typically found in open habitats such as pastures and farm fields rather than closed, forested habitats. Barn Owls are nocturnal and most likely to be seen around dawn and dusk. The Barn Owl has a piercing shriek (example recording here) that can also give away its occupancy. Barn Owls nest in cavities including tree cavities, cliffs, church steeples, barn lofts, haystacks, and nest boxes (Fig. 18). Suitable nesting locations is a limiting factor for this beneficial raptor, so providing nest boxes is important (Marti et al., 2005; click here for more information on construction and placement). Barn owls are known to carry Salmonella spp. (Kirkpatrick and Colvin, 1986), antibiotic resistant E. coli (Alcalá et al., 2016), and Campylobacter spp. (Molina-Lopez et al., 2011), perhaps from feeding on mice carrying these bacteria.

Figure 18. Barn Owl nest box. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

The Barn Owl does not usually build nests, though some dig burrows in arroyo walls in Colorado and New Mexico. Because of its wide distribution, egg laying initiation date varies and can occur year-round. One brood is common for birds in temperate regions, but some pairs have 3 broods per year. Average clutch size ranges from 3.1 to 7.2, depending on location. Eggs are short sub-elliptical, are about 3.2–3.4 cm in length by 4.0–4.4 cm in width, and dull white. The female incubates eggs for 29–34 days. Fledging date varies based on location. In England, first flight is usually day 50–55, whereas in Utah, mean fledging date is day 64. Fledglings are dependent on adults for 3–5 weeks. Fledglings are clumsy until they gain enough strength and agility to fly (Fig. 18). Chicks and adults eat the same diet, which is mostly small mammals, including common rodent pests (Moore et al., 1998; Marti et al., 2005; Wilman et al., 2014). However, evidence that Barn Owls increase yield through pest control services is still sparse (Moore et al., 1998), though Motro (2011) did find an estimated alfalfa yield increase of 3.2% due to Barn Owls, equating to $30/ha per year.

Figure 19. Barn Owl day of fledging. Photo credit: Olivia Smith.

Nest Location Management

It is illegal to tamper with nests or eggs of native species, so deterrence of nesting in unwanted locations before it begins is important. Avoid using poisons or methods that can harm or kill native species. Below are a few commonly recommended methods for deterring bird nesting on structures. More research is needed to test the efficacy of listed methods. Most methods are best initiated and maintained prior to the onset of the breeding season. 

  • Block cavity entrances using mesh, wood, or other barriers (see nest in Fig. 2 above for an example this method could help with). Place netting carefully to avoid birds getting trapped inside (but see Fig. 4).
  • Create slopes on ledges by placing boards at a 45 degree angle so that species like Rock Pigeon cannot build nests. If a board doesn't work, try a loose spring that creates an unstable surface for birds to build on. Spikes are also an option, but be aware spikes can kill birds. A quick internet search shows many examples of nests built on top of spikes, suggesting they are ineffective, and will also show photos of impaled birds.
  • Create a visual disturbance near nest sites by using flashing lights, placing mirrors on ledges, or hanging mylar tape. However, species like the European Starling are extremely smart and aren't fooled for long with these methods (Belant et al., 1998).
  • Place plastic predators near nests. These need to be moved frequently to continue to deter birds (Belant et al., 1998).
  • Use noise machines that project bird distress or predator calls. However, there is no current evidence to suggest this method works. 
  • Plant shrubs that provide good nesting habitat away from structures. Try planting near crops where birds will eat pest insects (like apples; Mols and Visser, 2002), but avoid placing next to crops birds will damage (cherries, blueberries, grapes; Somers et al., 2002). Prior research has demonstrated pest control services increase near natural habitat like hedges (Boesing et al., 2017).

Find ways to encourage nesting at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project NestWatch website, which has excellent information on how to promote nesting for many species, including many farmland birds not listed in this article.

Additional Resources

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology supports a great citizen scientist network with detailed information on nest box construction and placement (nestwatch.org), recommendations for attracting species of interest (content.yardmap.org), and range information (ebird.org). Project NestWatch also has great information on identifying many nests beyond the scope of this article (https://nestwatch.org/learn/focal-species/). The lab offers many opportunities for the public to get involved with scientific data collection through HabitatNetwork, Project FeederWatch, eBird, and NestWatch. Basic species information can be found at All About Birds, and the Merlin Bird ID app can aid in field identification.

References and Citations
  • Alcalá, L., C. A. Alonso, C. Simón, C. González-Esteban, J. Orós, A. Rezusta, C. Ortega, and C. Torres. 2016. Wild birds, frequent carriers of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing Escherichia coli of CTX-M and SHV-12 types. Microbial Ecology 72:861–869. Available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00248-015-0718-0 (verified 13 May 2018).
  • Badyaev, A. V., V. Belloni, and G. E. Hill. 2012. House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-account/bna/species/houfin/introduction (verified 31 May 2018).
  • Beal, E.E.L. 1907. Birds of California in relation to the fruit industry, Part 1. Biological Survey Bulletin no. 30. USDA Biological Survey, Washington, D.C.
  • Belant, J. L., P. P. Woronecki, R. A. Dolbeer, and T. W. Seamans. 1998. Ineffectiveness of five commercial deterrents for nesting starlings. Wildlife Society Bulletin 26:264–268. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3784047 (verified 13 May 2018).
  • Boesing, A. L., E. Nichols, and J. P. Metzger. 2017. Effects of landscape structure on avian-mediated insect pest control services: A review. Landscape Ecology 32:931-944. Available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-017-0503-1 (verified 17 April 2018).
  • Brown, C. R., and M. B. Brown. 1999. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/barswa (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Brown, C. R., M. B. Brown, P. Pyle, and M. A. Patten. 2017. Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/cliswa (verified 21 March 2018).
  • Cabe, P. R. 1993. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/eursta (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Carlson, J. C., A. B. Franklin, D. R. Hyatt, S. E. Pettit, and G. M. Linz. 2011. The role of starlings in the spread of Salmonella within concentrated animal feeding operations. Journal of Applied Ecology 48:479–486. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01935.x (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Grant, G. S., and T. L. Quay. 2017. Breeding biology of Cliff Swallows in Virginia. The Wilson Bulletin 89:286–890. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4160910 (verified 21 March 2018).
  • Howell, J. C. 1942. Notes on the nesting habits of the American Robin (Turdus migratorius L.). The American Midland Naturalist 28:529–603. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2420891 (verified 17 April 2018).
  • Kessel, B. 1957. A study of the breeding biology of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris L.) in North America. The American Midland Naturalist 58:257–331. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2422615 (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Kirk, J. H., C. A. Holmberg, and J. S. Jeffrey. 2002. Prevalence of Salmonella spp in selected birds captured on California dairies. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 220:359–362. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.2002.220.359 (verified 17 April 2018).
  • Kirkpatrick, C. E., and B. A. Colvin. 1986. Salmonella spp. in nestling common barn-owls (Tyto alba) from Southwestern New Jersey. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 22: 340–343. Available online at: https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/3525874 (verified 14 May 2018).
  • Kobayashi, H., M. Kanazaki, E. Hata, and M. Kubo. 2009. Prevalence and characteristics of eae- and stx- positive strains of Escherichia coli from wild birds in the immediate environment of Tokyo Bay. Applied Environmental Microbiology 75:292–295. Available online at: http://aem.asm.org/content/75/1/292.full (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Lowther, P. E., and C. L. Cink. 2006. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/houspa (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Lowther, P. E., and R. F. Johnston. 2014. Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/rocpig (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Marti, C. D., A. F. Poole, and L. R. Bevier. 2005. Barn Owl (Tyto alba). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/brnowl (verified 14 May 2018).
  • Molina-Lopez, N. Valverdú, M. Martin, E. Mateu, E. Obon, M. Cerdà-Cuéllar, and L. Darwich. 2011. Wild raptors as carriers of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella and Campylobacter strains. Veterinary Record 168:565. Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.c7123 (verified 13 May 2018).
  • Mols, C.M.M., and M. E. Visser. 2002. Great tits can reduce caterpillar damage in apple orchards. Journal of Applied Ecology 39:888–899. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00761.x (verified 24 April 2018).
  • Moore, T., D. V. Vuren, and C. Ingels. 1998. Are Barn Owls a biological control for gophers? Evaluating effectiveness in vineyards and orchards. Proceedings of the Eighteenth Vertebrate Pest Conference 61:394–396. Available online at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0447/40f70698eb13d3e90cd5d2486551f2b5d75a.pdf (verified 14 May 2018).
  • Morishita, T. Y., P. P. Aye, E. C. Ley, and B. S. Harr. 1999. Survey of pathogens and blood parasites in free-living passerines. Avian Diseases 43:549–552. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1592655 (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Motro, Y. 2011. Economic evaluation of biological rodent control using barn owls Tyto alba in alfalfa. European Vertebrate Pest Management Conference 8:79–80. Available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304922042_Economic_evaluation_of_biological_rodent_control_using_barn_owls_Tyto_alba_in_alfalfa (verified 31 May 2018).
  • Nielsen, E. M., M. N. Skov, J. J. Madsen, J. Lodal, J. B. Jespersen, and D. L. Baggesen. 2004. Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli in wild birds and rodents in close proximity to farms. Applied Environmental Microbiology 70:6944–6947. Available online at: http://aem.asm.org/content/70/11/6944.full (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Ricklefs, R. E., and C. A. Smeraski. 1983. Variation in incubation period within a population of the European Starling. The Auk 100:926–931. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4086421 (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Sejkora, P., M. J. Kirisits, and M. Barrett. 2011. Colonies of Cliff Swallows on highway bridges: A source of Escherichia coli in surface waters. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 47:1275–1284. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00566.x (verified 21 March 2018).
  • Shields, W. M., and J. R. Crook. 1987. Barn Swallow coloniality: A net cost for group breeding in the Adirondacks? Ecology 68:1373–1386. Available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1939221 (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Somers, C. M., and R. D. Morris. 2002. Birds and wine grapes: Foraging activity causes small-scale damage patterns in single vineyards. Journal of Applied Ecology 39:511–523. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00725.x (verified 13 May 2018).
  • Vanderhoff, N. P. Pyle, M. A. Patten, R. Sallabanks, and F. C. James. 2016. American Robin (Turdus migratorious). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/amerob (verified 17 April 2018).
  • Weatherhead, P. J., and S. B. Mcrae. 1990. Brood care in American Robins: Implications for mixed reproductive strategies by females. Animal Behaviour 39:1179–1188. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0003-3472(05)80790-0 (verified 17 April 2018).
  • Williams, M. L., D. L. Pearl, and J. T. LeJeune. 2011. Multiple‐locus variable‐nucleotide tandem repeat subtype analysis implicates European starlings as biological vectors for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ohio, USA. Journal of Applied Microbiology 111:982–988. Available online at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2011.05102.x (verified 19 March 2018).
  • Wilman, H., J. Belmaker, J. Simpson, C. de la Rosa, M. M. Rivadeneira, and W. Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027–2027. Available online at: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1917.1 (verified 13 May 2018). 
  • Wolf, B. O. 1997. Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans). In P. Rodewald (ed.) The Birds of North America. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. Available online at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/blkpho (verified 13 May 2018).

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 25296

Assessing Nitrogen Contribution and Rhizobia Diversity Associated with Winter Legume Cover Crops in Organic Systems Webinar

mar, 2018/05/22 - 21:07

Resources and notes from the webinar:

Clovers were planted at a density of 22.4 kg ha-1, vetches at 28 kg ha-1, winter peas at 67.2 kg ha-1, lupin at 134 kg ha-1. Bicultures MXE and MXM consisted of 28 and 56 kg ha-1 hairy vetch and rye respectively, and 50.4 and 56 kg ha-1 Austrian winter pea and rye respectively for MXP.

About the Webinar:
This webinar is designed to deepen your understanding of how legume cover crops, through a symbiotic relationship with beneficial soil rhizobia bacteria, can be used to provide new nitrogen to your organic crops through the process of nitrogen fixation. We will review the process of nitrogen fixation, and provide recent data from our lab describing the amount of nitrogen fixed by common and some novel cover crop legumes used in organic agriculture. We will also briefly discuss how the diversity of rhizobia present in the soil may impact this process.

Find all eOrganic upcoming and archived webinars »

About the Presenter:
Julie Grossman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University specializing in organic cropping systems. Most recently, Julie began leading a new project integrating community gardens in low-income Raleigh neighborhoods with undergraduate soil science and nutrition courses. She also serves on the Steering Council of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association,  a new professional association championing innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture.

About eOrganic

eOrganic is the Organic Agriculture Community of Practice at eXtension.org. Our website  at http:www.extension.org/organic_production contains articles, videos, and webinars for farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, certifiers, researchers and educators seeking reliable information on organic agriculture, published research results, farmer experiences, and certification. The content is collaboratively authored and reviewed by our community of University researchers and Extension personnel, agricultural professionals, farmers, and certifiers with experience and expertise in organic agriculture.

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 5668

Assessing Nitrogen Contribution and Rhizobia Diversity Associated with Winter Legume Cover Crops in Organic Systems Webinar

mar, 2018/05/22 - 21:07

Resources and notes from the webinar:

Clovers were planted at a density of 22.4 kg ha-1, vetches at 28 kg ha-1, winter peas at 67.2 kg ha-1, lupin at 134 kg ha-1. Bicultures MXE and MXM consisted of 28 and 56 kg ha-1 hairy vetch and rye respectively, and 50.4 and 56 kg ha-1 Austrian winter pea and rye respectively for MXP.

About the Webinar:
This webinar is designed to deepen your understanding of how legume cover crops, through a symbiotic relationship with beneficial soil rhizobia bacteria, can be used to provide new nitrogen to your organic crops through the process of nitrogen fixation. We will review the process of nitrogen fixation, and provide recent data from our lab describing the amount of nitrogen fixed by common and some novel cover crop legumes used in organic agriculture. We will also briefly discuss how the diversity of rhizobia present in the soil may impact this process.

Find all eOrganic upcoming and archived webinars »

About the Presenter:
Julie Grossman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University specializing in organic cropping systems. Most recently, Julie began leading a new project integrating community gardens in low-income Raleigh neighborhoods with undergraduate soil science and nutrition courses. She also serves on the Steering Council of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association,  a new professional association championing innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture.

About eOrganic

eOrganic is the Organic Agriculture Community of Practice at eXtension.org. Our website  at http:www.extension.org/organic_production contains articles, videos, and webinars for farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, certifiers, researchers and educators seeking reliable information on organic agriculture, published research results, farmer experiences, and certification. The content is collaboratively authored and reviewed by our community of University researchers and Extension personnel, agricultural professionals, farmers, and certifiers with experience and expertise in organic agriculture.

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 5668

Organic Poultry Production Systems

mar, 2018/05/15 - 18:00

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic T1206

Rodent Control on Organic Poultry Farms

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:49

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before applying ANY pest control product, be sure to 1) read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and 2) make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

Introduction

Rodent control is important on organic poultry farms. Those with outdoor access are exposed to closer contact with rodents and pose increased veterinary risks. With a high reproduction rate and an omnivorous diet, a rat and/or mouse infestation can have significant economic impacts from consumption or fouling of feed, acting as disease vectors, or destroying infrastructure. A single rat can consume 20-40 pounds of feed a year (Watkins and Donald, 2002). Rodents can also carry and spread diseases both biologically and mechanically, and can cause serious damage to insulation and house wiring. Disease-carrying rodents can spread a disease from one to another even if the facilities are cleaned and disinfected. Controlling rodents is an essential part of any biosecurity plan.

A three-pronged approach should be taken in controlling rodents, including mice and rats.

  • Prevention
  • Monitoring
  • Control
Prevention

Habitat reduction is critical for preventing rodent populations on any poultry farm. Blocking access routes with physical barriers is one strategy to exclude rodents from a poultry house. It is important to be aware that mice are able to squeeze through a hole the size of a dime and rats through an opening the size of a quarter (Watkins and Donald, 2002).  Mice are able to enter buildings through unprotected ends of corrugated metal siding. Make sure to close openings around augers, pipes and wires, but also remember to look for and repair holes monthly. Any burrows with indications of recent digging should be dealt with immediately.

It is important to block access to stored feed and minimize feed spillage.

Clear the area around the poultry house of brush, trash, and weeds, maintaining a minimum of three-feet clear space around the house.

Monitoring

A monitoring program provides early warning of a possible rodent problem and improves the decision-making process in the prevention of rodent infestations. A variety of different monitoring methods can be used including trapping, ink pads, and tracking plates. The effectiveness of a monitoring system is strengthened if the farmer is able to identify which rodent species is/are causing the greatest impact. Each species has a distinct behavioral profile and habitat preference.

Control

Some organic farmers use cats for predator control. There is no sound evidence that cats regulate rodent populations, and cats present a health risk to the flock (Rimler and Glisson, 1997; Maier et al., 2000).

Though not recommended for poultry farms, another possible control method is the use of ultrasound or low-frequency devices. There is very little published evidence supporting their efficacy in open environments, and there is some evidence that ultrasound devices disturb livestock (OEFFA, 2010).

A number of commercial alternative products for rodent control are available. The effectiveness of these products has not been proven in a commercial setting.

  • Shake-Away (OMRI-listed) granules contain the scent of both fox and bobcat urine, which are thought to scare mice and rats. The granules should be placed strategically where the rodents are living or traveling through.
  • Weiser's Nature's Defense contains seven certified organic ingredients and is said to repel several different animals, including rats and mice. It is safe to use around people, plants and pets.
  • Animal-repelling scented stones also contain a predator scent that will keep rodents away. They need to be placed strategically throughout the poultry house.
  • Peppermint oil is thought to be a natural deterrent. Rodents don't like the intense smell and avoid it. Place peppermint oil in areas where rodents are likely to enter. Another alternative is to grow peppermint plants near the entryways.
  • There are a few traps (mechanical or electrical) and glue boards that can also be used to effectively control rodents. Make sure to place traps and/or glue boards along walls and corridors where rodents travel.

Return to Pest control page

References and Citations
  • Maier, R. M., I. L. Pepper, and C. P. Gerba. 2000. Environmental Microbiology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
  • OEFFA. 2010. OEFFA Organic Certification Factsheet—Rodent control [Online]. Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Columbus, OH. Available at: http://www.oeffa.org/certfiles/facts/Rodent%20Control%20-%20Fact%20Sheet%208.pdf (verified 19 Nov 2013)
  • Rimler, R. B., and J. R. Glisson. 1997. Fowl cholera. Pages 143–159 In: B. W. Calnek, H. J. Barnes, C. W. Beard, L. R. McDougald, and Y. M. Saif (ed.) Diseases of Poultry, 10th edition. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA.
  • Watkins, S. E., and J. Donald. 2002. How to control rats, mice and darkling beetles [Online]. Auburn University Poultry Engineering, Economics and Management Newsletter. Issue 20, November 2002. Available at: http://www.aces.edu/poultryventilation/documents/Nwsltr-20-PestsSS.pdf (verified 21 Nov 2013)

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7957

Rodent Control on Organic Poultry Farms

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:49

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before applying ANY pest control product, be sure to 1) read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and 2) make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

Introduction

Rodent control is important on organic poultry farms. Those with outdoor access are exposed to closer contact with rodents and pose increased veterinary risks. With a high reproduction rate and an omnivorous diet, a rat and/or mouse infestation can have significant economic impacts from consumption or fouling of feed, acting as disease vectors, or destroying infrastructure. A single rat can consume 20-40 pounds of feed a year (Watkins and Donald, 2002). Rodents can also carry and spread diseases both biologically and mechanically, and can cause serious damage to insulation and house wiring. Disease-carrying rodents can spread a disease from one to another even if the facilities are cleaned and disinfected. Controlling rodents is an essential part of any biosecurity plan.

A three-pronged approach should be taken in controlling rodents, including mice and rats.

  • Prevention
  • Monitoring
  • Control
Prevention

Habitat reduction is critical for preventing rodent populations on any poultry farm. Blocking access routes with physical barriers is one strategy to exclude rodents from a poultry house. It is important to be aware that mice are able to squeeze through a hole the size of a dime and rats through an opening the size of a quarter (Watkins and Donald, 2002).  Mice are able to enter buildings through unprotected ends of corrugated metal siding. Make sure to close openings around augers, pipes and wires, but also remember to look for and repair holes monthly. Any burrows with indications of recent digging should be dealt with immediately.

It is important to block access to stored feed and minimize feed spillage.

Clear the area around the poultry house of brush, trash, and weeds, maintaining a minimum of three-feet clear space around the house.

Monitoring

A monitoring program provides early warning of a possible rodent problem and improves the decision-making process in the prevention of rodent infestations. A variety of different monitoring methods can be used including trapping, ink pads, and tracking plates. The effectiveness of a monitoring system is strengthened if the farmer is able to identify which rodent species is/are causing the greatest impact. Each species has a distinct behavioral profile and habitat preference.

Control

Some organic farmers use cats for predator control. There is no sound evidence that cats regulate rodent populations, and cats present a health risk to the flock (Rimler and Glisson, 1997; Maier et al., 2000).

Though not recommended for poultry farms, another possible control method is the use of ultrasound or low-frequency devices. There is very little published evidence supporting their efficacy in open environments, and there is some evidence that ultrasound devices disturb livestock (OEFFA, 2010).

A number of commercial alternative products for rodent control are available. The effectiveness of these products has not been proven in a commercial setting.

  • Shake-Away (OMRI-listed) granules contain the scent of both fox and bobcat urine, which are thought to scare mice and rats. The granules should be placed strategically where the rodents are living or traveling through.
  • Weiser's Nature's Defense contains seven certified organic ingredients and is said to repel several different animals, including rats and mice. It is safe to use around people, plants and pets.
  • Animal-repelling scented stones also contain a predator scent that will keep rodents away. They need to be placed strategically throughout the poultry house.
  • Peppermint oil is thought to be a natural deterrent. Rodents don't like the intense smell and avoid it. Place peppermint oil in areas where rodents are likely to enter. Another alternative is to grow peppermint plants near the entryways.
  • There are a few traps (mechanical or electrical) and glue boards that can also be used to effectively control rodents. Make sure to place traps and/or glue boards along walls and corridors where rodents travel.

Return to Pest control page

References and Citations
  • Maier, R. M., I. L. Pepper, and C. P. Gerba. 2000. Environmental Microbiology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
  • OEFFA. 2010. OEFFA Organic Certification Factsheet—Rodent control [Online]. Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Columbus, OH. Available at: http://www.oeffa.org/certfiles/facts/Rodent%20Control%20-%20Fact%20Sheet%208.pdf (verified 19 Nov 2013)
  • Rimler, R. B., and J. R. Glisson. 1997. Fowl cholera. Pages 143–159 In: B. W. Calnek, H. J. Barnes, C. W. Beard, L. R. McDougald, and Y. M. Saif (ed.) Diseases of Poultry, 10th edition. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA.
  • Watkins, S. E., and J. Donald. 2002. How to control rats, mice and darkling beetles [Online]. Auburn University Poultry Engineering, Economics and Management Newsletter. Issue 20, November 2002. Available at: http://www.aces.edu/poultryventilation/documents/Nwsltr-20-PestsSS.pdf (verified 21 Nov 2013)

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7957

Pest Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Introduction

A variety of pest problems can occur on poultry farms. There are external parasites that can infest the birds, insects that develop in manure and harbor disease-causing organisms, and rodents that carry disease-causing organisms and cause damage to poultry facilities. Disease control on any poultry operation requires strict control of these pathogen-carrying pests. Organic poultry producers are not allowed to use the synthetic pesticides routinely used in conventional poultry production operations, thus making prevention critical in the management of these pests. This article summarizes prevention and control standards for pest control in organic poultry production provided in the USDA's National Organic Program Final Rule (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2000).

§ 205.238 Livestock health care practice standard.

(a) The producer must establish and maintain preventive livestock health care practices, including:

(3) Establishment of appropriate housing, pasture conditions, and sanitation practices to minimize the occurrence and spread of diseases and parasites;

(c) The producer of an organic livestock operation must NOT:

(4) Administer synthetic parasiticides on a routine basis;
(5) Administer synthetic parasiticides to slaughter stock;

Prevention

The best method for controlling pests is to prevent their entry in the first place. The NOP regulations identify some control measures:

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(a) The producer or handler of an organic facility must use management practices to prevent pests, including but not limited to:

(1) Removal of pest habitat, food sources, and breeding areas;
(2) Prevention of access to handling facilities; and
(3) Management of environmental factors, such as temperature, light, humidity, atmosphere, and air circulation, to prevent pest reproduction.

(b) Pests may be controlled through:

(1) Mechanical or physical controls including but not limited to traps, light, or sound; or
(2) Lures and repellents using non-synthetic or synthetic substances consistent with the National List.

Examples of preventive measures related specifically to poultry include:

  • Proper manure management to prevent the development of manure-breeding flies and beetles
  • Proper storage of feed to reduce rodent problems
  • Frequent rotation of pastures to prevent intestinal parasites
Control

The outdoor access requirement for organic poultry production (§ 205.239 Livestock living conditions) makes prevention of pests difficult. As a result, control programs must be in place. In addition to harboring pest flies, beetles, and mites, manure also provides habitat to several beneficial insects and mites. Predaceous mites, hister beetles, and parasitoids are all important biological control agents for suppressing fly populations. Historically, pest control measures on many conventional farms relied primarily on pesticides. Extensive use of pesticides results in the destruction of biological control agents and can result in the development of pesticide resistance. On organic farms, an integrated pest management (IPM) system is used. To ensure the effectiveness of any management system, producers must first correctly identify the pest and understand the its basic life cycle and potential damage.

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(c) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are not effective to prevent or control pests, a non-synthetic or synthetic substance consistent with the National List may be applied.

(d) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section are not effective to prevent or control facility pests, a synthetic substance not on the National List may be applied: Provided, That, the handler and certifying agent agree on the substance, method of application, and measures to be taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(e) The handler of an organic handling operation who applies a non-synthetic or synthetic substance to prevent or control pests must update the operation's organic handling plan to reflect the use of such substances and methods of application. The updated organic plan must include a list of all measures taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(f) Notwithstanding the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section, a handler may otherwise use substances to prevent or control pests as required by Federal, State, or local laws and regulations: Provided, That, measures are taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

For specific organic pest management information, visit:

Control of internal parasites

Control of external parasites

Darkling beetle control

Rodent control

References and Citations

United States Department of Agriculture. 2000. National organic program: Final rule. Codified at 7 C.F.R., part 205. (Available online at: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=3f34f4c22f9aa8e6d9864cc2683cea02&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title07/7cfr205_main_02.tpl) (verified 28 July 2013)

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7840

Pest Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Introduction

A variety of pest problems can occur on poultry farms. There are external parasites that can infest the birds, insects that develop in manure and harbor disease-causing organisms, and rodents that carry disease-causing organisms and cause damage to poultry facilities. Disease control on any poultry operation requires strict control of these pathogen-carrying pests. Organic poultry producers are not allowed to use the synthetic pesticides routinely used in conventional poultry production operations, thus making prevention critical in the management of these pests. This article summarizes prevention and control standards for pest control in organic poultry production provided in the USDA's National Organic Program Final Rule (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2000).

§ 205.238 Livestock health care practice standard.

(a) The producer must establish and maintain preventive livestock health care practices, including:

(3) Establishment of appropriate housing, pasture conditions, and sanitation practices to minimize the occurrence and spread of diseases and parasites;

(c) The producer of an organic livestock operation must NOT:

(4) Administer synthetic parasiticides on a routine basis;
(5) Administer synthetic parasiticides to slaughter stock;

Prevention

The best method for controlling pests is to prevent their entry in the first place. The NOP regulations identify some control measures:

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(a) The producer or handler of an organic facility must use management practices to prevent pests, including but not limited to:

(1) Removal of pest habitat, food sources, and breeding areas;
(2) Prevention of access to handling facilities; and
(3) Management of environmental factors, such as temperature, light, humidity, atmosphere, and air circulation, to prevent pest reproduction.

(b) Pests may be controlled through:

(1) Mechanical or physical controls including but not limited to traps, light, or sound; or
(2) Lures and repellents using non-synthetic or synthetic substances consistent with the National List.

Examples of preventive measures related specifically to poultry include:

  • Proper manure management to prevent the development of manure-breeding flies and beetles
  • Proper storage of feed to reduce rodent problems
  • Frequent rotation of pastures to prevent intestinal parasites
Control

The outdoor access requirement for organic poultry production (§ 205.239 Livestock living conditions) makes prevention of pests difficult. As a result, control programs must be in place. In addition to harboring pest flies, beetles, and mites, manure also provides habitat to several beneficial insects and mites. Predaceous mites, hister beetles, and parasitoids are all important biological control agents for suppressing fly populations. Historically, pest control measures on many conventional farms relied primarily on pesticides. Extensive use of pesticides results in the destruction of biological control agents and can result in the development of pesticide resistance. On organic farms, an integrated pest management (IPM) system is used. To ensure the effectiveness of any management system, producers must first correctly identify the pest and understand the its basic life cycle and potential damage.

§ 205.271 Facility pest management practice standard.

(c) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are not effective to prevent or control pests, a non-synthetic or synthetic substance consistent with the National List may be applied.

(d) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section are not effective to prevent or control facility pests, a synthetic substance not on the National List may be applied: Provided, That, the handler and certifying agent agree on the substance, method of application, and measures to be taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(e) The handler of an organic handling operation who applies a non-synthetic or synthetic substance to prevent or control pests must update the operation's organic handling plan to reflect the use of such substances and methods of application. The updated organic plan must include a list of all measures taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(f) Notwithstanding the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section, a handler may otherwise use substances to prevent or control pests as required by Federal, State, or local laws and regulations: Provided, That, measures are taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

For specific organic pest management information, visit:

Control of internal parasites

Control of external parasites

Darkling beetle control

Rodent control

References and Citations

United States Department of Agriculture. 2000. National organic program: Final rule. Codified at 7 C.F.R., part 205. (Available online at: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=3f34f4c22f9aa8e6d9864cc2683cea02&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title07/7cfr205_main_02.tpl) (verified 28 July 2013)

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7840

Intestinal Worm Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

NOTE: Before applying any pest control product, be sure to read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

Introduction

There are a number of intestinal worms that can infest poultry, including roundworms and tapeworms. A small number of worms do not usually cause health problems, but large numbers can affect growth, egg production, and health. Young birds are more commonly affected. Birds ingest the parasite eggs present in contaminated feed or water, or in intermediate hosts (e.g., insects, snails, earthworms or other small animals) that can naturally carry the eggs.

Some worms interfere with feed absorption, some transmit disease, and some can migrate into the blood and other organs.

Nematodes are roundworms that commonly affect chickens; examples include Ascaridia gali, Heterakis gallinarum, and Capillaria obsignata. Infective eggs are resistant to the environment and remain viable for years. Poultry with outdoor access are more vulnerable to parasites than conventional poultry raised indoors due to the intermediate hosts (e.g., grasshoppers, beetles, slugs, earthworms, and snails) that birds eat on range or pasture.

Monitoring

Routine monitoring programs are essential to worm control on the farm. There are two direct monitoring methods. One is to sacrifice a few birds in the flock and inspect their intestines for worms. Adult roundworms are usually found in the upper small intestine. Adult tapeworms can also be found in the upper small intestine just after the duodenal loop. Cecal worms can be found by snipping the end of the ceca and watching for small worms to wiggle out. Capillaria worms are harder to identify and require more effort. If a microscope is available, the surface contents from the first 10 inches of duodenum just past the duodenal loop may be examined. Scrape the mucosal surface with a knife and place portions of it onto a glass slide with a cover slip. The thin worms can be seen with the microscope.

An alternative method, which does not require sacrificing any birds, involves collecting 20-25 fresh fecal droppings from different areas in the house and pasture and placing them into a plastic bag. Fecal flotation is used to detect, identify, and count the different worm eggs. This is typically done at a veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Collected samples should be stored in the refrigerator when there is a delay in submitting the sample.

Control

Some helpful strategies to decrease parasites in the environment include moving the birds often to fresh pasture or paddocks, keeping the birds in dry areas, and keeping the litter in the house as dry as possible. Try to limit contact with wild birds as they may be infected. Ingestion of worms and insects from freshly plowed ground may result in infection.

There are a few products that can be added to conventional poultry feed to control internal parasites. These drugs can NOT be used in organic poultry production. There are no materials that can be used to treat a worm infestation, especially in egg layers, but food-grade diatomaceous earth can be added to the feed to control minor infestations of Capillaria and Heterakis worms (Bennett et al., 2011). Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms which are a type of hard-shelled algae. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is different from the pool-grade used for swimming pool filters. Only food-grade diatomaceous earth should be used for worm control.

Examples of diatomaceous earth products:

  • Barn Fresh® (OMRI-listed)
  • Perma-Guard (OMRI-listed)
  • Red Lake Earth® (OMRI-listed)

There is interest in garlic as a treatment against roundworms, but research using the active ingredient in garlic (allicin) failed to demonstrate any effect on intestinal worm populations (Velkers et al., 2011).

If worm loads are found to be high, there are some things that can be done to reduce their levels (Small, 1996). For inside the poultry house, 60 lb of salt for each 1,000 square feet of floor can be used and left for two days. For outside pastures, rotate pastures and leave vacant for at least eight months. Once a year the birds should be removed from the run, and the ground covered with quicklime at a rate of 100 lb per 1,000 square feet. After three weeks, the whole run should be dug over to ensure that the worm eggs are killed. Keep pastures cut close so that sunlight can kill parasite eggs on the surface. Keep pastures well-drained, as moist soil promotes the infectiveness of the worm eggs.

Current research programs include biological control measures (De and Sanyal, 2009). Worms have a portion of their life-cycle outside of the host. The free-living or pre-parasitic stages exist on pasture and are thus potential targets. Biological controls in the future could include fungi, bacteria, viruses and predacious nematodes.

References and Citations
  • Bennett, D. C., A. Yee, Y.-J. Rhee, and K. M. Cheng. 2011. Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Poultry Science 90:1416–1426. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01256) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • De., S., and P. K. Sanyal. 2009. Biological control of helminth parasites by predatory fungi [Online]. Vet Scan 4(1): article 31. Available at: http://www.vetscan.co.in/v4n1/biological_control_of_helminth_parasites_by_predatory_fungi.htm (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Permin, A., M. Bisgaard, F. Frandsen, M. Pearman, J. Kold, and P. Nansen. 1999. Prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths in different poultry production systems. British Poultry Science 40:439–443. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071669987179) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Small, L. 1996. Internal parasites (worms) of poultry [Online]. Publication of Northern Territory Government, Australia. Available at: http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Anim_Dis/669.pdf (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Thamsborg, S. M., A. Roepstorff, and M. Larsen. 1999. Integrated and biological control of parasites in organic and conventional production systems. Veterinary Parasitology 84:169–186. (Available for purchase at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(99)00035-7) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Velkers, F. C., K. Dieho, F.W.M. Pecher, J.C.M. Vernooij, J.H.H. van Eck, and W.J.M. Landman. 2011. Efficacy of allicin from garlic against Ascaridia galli infection in chickens. Poultry Science 90:364–368. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01090) (verified 18 Nov 2013)

Return to Pest control page

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7834

Intestinal Worm Control in Organic Poultry Production

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:48

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

NOTE: Before applying any pest control product, be sure to read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

Introduction

There are a number of intestinal worms that can infest poultry, including roundworms and tapeworms. A small number of worms do not usually cause health problems, but large numbers can affect growth, egg production, and health. Young birds are more commonly affected. Birds ingest the parasite eggs present in contaminated feed or water, or in intermediate hosts (e.g., insects, snails, earthworms or other small animals) that can naturally carry the eggs.

Some worms interfere with feed absorption, some transmit disease, and some can migrate into the blood and other organs.

Nematodes are roundworms that commonly affect chickens; examples include Ascaridia gali, Heterakis gallinarum, and Capillaria obsignata. Infective eggs are resistant to the environment and remain viable for years. Poultry with outdoor access are more vulnerable to parasites than conventional poultry raised indoors due to the intermediate hosts (e.g., grasshoppers, beetles, slugs, earthworms, and snails) that birds eat on range or pasture.

Monitoring

Routine monitoring programs are essential to worm control on the farm. There are two direct monitoring methods. One is to sacrifice a few birds in the flock and inspect their intestines for worms. Adult roundworms are usually found in the upper small intestine. Adult tapeworms can also be found in the upper small intestine just after the duodenal loop. Cecal worms can be found by snipping the end of the ceca and watching for small worms to wiggle out. Capillaria worms are harder to identify and require more effort. If a microscope is available, the surface contents from the first 10 inches of duodenum just past the duodenal loop may be examined. Scrape the mucosal surface with a knife and place portions of it onto a glass slide with a cover slip. The thin worms can be seen with the microscope.

An alternative method, which does not require sacrificing any birds, involves collecting 20-25 fresh fecal droppings from different areas in the house and pasture and placing them into a plastic bag. Fecal flotation is used to detect, identify, and count the different worm eggs. This is typically done at a veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Collected samples should be stored in the refrigerator when there is a delay in submitting the sample.

Control

Some helpful strategies to decrease parasites in the environment include moving the birds often to fresh pasture or paddocks, keeping the birds in dry areas, and keeping the litter in the house as dry as possible. Try to limit contact with wild birds as they may be infected. Ingestion of worms and insects from freshly plowed ground may result in infection.

There are a few products that can be added to conventional poultry feed to control internal parasites. These drugs can NOT be used in organic poultry production. There are no materials that can be used to treat a worm infestation, especially in egg layers, but food-grade diatomaceous earth can be added to the feed to control minor infestations of Capillaria and Heterakis worms (Bennett et al., 2011). Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms which are a type of hard-shelled algae. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is different from the pool-grade used for swimming pool filters. Only food-grade diatomaceous earth should be used for worm control.

Examples of diatomaceous earth products:

  • Barn Fresh® (OMRI-listed)
  • Perma-Guard (OMRI-listed)
  • Red Lake Earth® (OMRI-listed)

There is interest in garlic as a treatment against roundworms, but research using the active ingredient in garlic (allicin) failed to demonstrate any effect on intestinal worm populations (Velkers et al., 2011).

If worm loads are found to be high, there are some things that can be done to reduce their levels (Small, 1996). For inside the poultry house, 60 lb of salt for each 1,000 square feet of floor can be used and left for two days. For outside pastures, rotate pastures and leave vacant for at least eight months. Once a year the birds should be removed from the run, and the ground covered with quicklime at a rate of 100 lb per 1,000 square feet. After three weeks, the whole run should be dug over to ensure that the worm eggs are killed. Keep pastures cut close so that sunlight can kill parasite eggs on the surface. Keep pastures well-drained, as moist soil promotes the infectiveness of the worm eggs.

Current research programs include biological control measures (De and Sanyal, 2009). Worms have a portion of their life-cycle outside of the host. The free-living or pre-parasitic stages exist on pasture and are thus potential targets. Biological controls in the future could include fungi, bacteria, viruses and predacious nematodes.

References and Citations
  • Bennett, D. C., A. Yee, Y.-J. Rhee, and K. M. Cheng. 2011. Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Poultry Science 90:1416–1426. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01256) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • De., S., and P. K. Sanyal. 2009. Biological control of helminth parasites by predatory fungi [Online]. Vet Scan 4(1): article 31. Available at: http://www.vetscan.co.in/v4n1/biological_control_of_helminth_parasites_by_predatory_fungi.htm (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Permin, A., M. Bisgaard, F. Frandsen, M. Pearman, J. Kold, and P. Nansen. 1999. Prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths in different poultry production systems. British Poultry Science 40:439–443. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071669987179) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Small, L. 1996. Internal parasites (worms) of poultry [Online]. Publication of Northern Territory Government, Australia. Available at: http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Anim_Dis/669.pdf (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Thamsborg, S. M., A. Roepstorff, and M. Larsen. 1999. Integrated and biological control of parasites in organic and conventional production systems. Veterinary Parasitology 84:169–186. (Available for purchase at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(99)00035-7) (verified 18 Nov 2013)
  • Velkers, F. C., K. Dieho, F.W.M. Pecher, J.C.M. Vernooij, J.H.H. van Eck, and W.J.M. Landman. 2011. Efficacy of allicin from garlic against Ascaridia galli infection in chickens. Poultry Science 90:364–368. (Available online at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01090) (verified 18 Nov 2013)

Return to Pest control page

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 7834

Including Rye in Organic Poultry Diets

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:44

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before using any feed ingredient make sure that the ingredient is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier.

Introduction

Rye is a very versatile crop. It can be grown as a forage for cattle and other ruminant livestock or as a green manure in crop rotations in organic farming. It can also be grown for grain which can be used as a feed ingredient, feedstock for alcohol distilling and for human consumption. Fermentation of rye has ethanol yields comparable to those of wheat, which is a common feedstock used in ethanol production in Canada (Wang, 1997).

The number of rye cultivars is relatively low, especially when compared with wheat and barley. There has been considerably less effort put into the development and improvement of rye, partially because rye cross-pollinates while wheat and barley are self-pollinators. With cross-pollination it is difficult to maintain pure lines of breeding stock (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye cultivars are typically differentiated on the basis of growth habit, as either winter rye or spring rye. Rye has an amazing tolerance of cold weather and is still able to germinate at air temperatures in the 30s°F as long as the soil is warmed by the sun to slightly higher than the air temperature. Once established, rye will continue to grow in the fall until the temperature drops below 40°F. Growth resumes when the temperature rises above 40°F in the spring.  Spring rye is grown in areas where the winters are too severe for even the hardy winter rye. Typically the yields of spring rye are lower than of winter rye (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye is able to produce economical yields on poor, sandy soils not suitable for other crops. Rye has a deep and fibrous root system which makes it good at competing with weeds. This is another reason rye is often used in crop rotation in organic farming. Rye can be planted as pasture in both the fall and spring or can be grown as pasture in the fall and then raised as a grain crop in the spring (Bushuk, 2001).

There has been reluctance to use rye as a feedstuff. The primary concern is the presence of ergot alkaloids. Ergot is the most common disease of rye. The ergot fungus can be very toxic if present in sufficient concentration. Ergot is less of a problem these days as newer cultivars of rye are being developed that are resistant to ergot (Sosulski and Bernier, 1975). Controlling wild grasses around field borders will also reduce the chances of getting an ergot problem.

Composition

Rye (Secale cereale) has been studied as an alternative feed ingredient for poultry. The nutrient content of rye is very similar to wheat and corn but the nutritive value for poultry is very poor. The energy content in somewhere between that of wheat and barley. The protein content is similar to barley and oats. Unfortunately, rye contains the anti-nutritional factors of beta-glucans (ß-glucans) and arabinoxylans which limit their use in poultry diets. Both ß-glucans and arabinoxylans adversely affect nutrient availability by increasing the viscous nature of the intestinal contents. The gel-like material interferes with the activity of the digestive enzymes as well as the absorption of nutrients.

Canada's breeding program developed a low viscosity variety of rye (He et al., 2003).  They found, however, that genetic selection to reduce viscosity had only a minor increase in the nutritive value of rye for broilers. Regardless of the viscosity of the rye varieties used, enzyme supplementation improved performance through improved nutrient availability. The increase in nutrient availability, however, was greater for the broilers on the low-viscosity rye.

Feeding rye to poultry

When rye is included in poultry diets there is depressed growth performance and/or reduced egg production. The use of rye in turkey and broiler diets results in sticky droppings which add moisture to the litter and can cause problems with ammonia. The fecal material can also gather around the vent giving the birds 'pasty vents'. Rye may be fed to laying hens but should be introduced only after the hens have reached peak egg production (about 40 weeks of age). Rye should not be more than 40% of the diet. Birds may have sticky droppings which can increase the incidence of stained eggs.

Rye is not recommended for growing chickens (i.e., broilers and pullets) and turkeys. Including high levels of rye in poultry diets typically causes problems for growing chicks. The problem is the water-soluble, highly viscous non-starch polysaccharides referred to as pentosans or arabinoxylans. They are present in low amounts in rye (about 3.5%) and interfere with digestion of all nutrients in the diet, but especially the fats, fat-soluble vitamins, starch and protein. Chicks fed diets with rye produce wet and sticky excreta. There is also a higher moisture level in litter, increasing the problem of ammonia production. In addition, inclusion of rye in broiler diets has been shown to increase colonization by Salmonella Enteritidis, a common cause of foodborne disease in humans (Teirlynch et al., 2009) and Clostridium perfringens, a pathogenic organism that causes necrotic enteritis in poultry (Cravens, 2000).

There are commercial enzymes available that can counteract the negative effects of the rye. Part of the improved performance is due to an increase in nutrient availability (Silva et al., 2002) 

References

Bushuk, W. 2001. Rye Production and uses worldwide. Cereal Foods World 46:1-73.

Craven, S.E. 2000. Colonization of the intestinal tract by Clostridium perfringens and fecal shedding in diet-stressed and unstressed broiler chickens. Poultry Science 79:843-849.

He, T., P.A. Thacker, J.G. McLeod and G.L. Campbell. 2003. Performance of broiler chicks fed normal and low viscosity rye or barley with or without enzyme supplementation. Asian-Australian Journal of Animal Science 16:234-238.

Silva, S.S.P. and R.R. Smithard. 2002. Effect of enzyme supplementation of a rye-based diet on xylanase activity in the small intestine of broilers, on intestinal crypt cell proliferation and on nutrient digestibility and growth performance of the birds. British Poultry Science 43:274-282.

Sosulski, F. and C.C. Bernier. 1975. Ergot tolerance in spring rye. Canadian Plant Disease Survey 55:155-157.

Teirlynch, E., F. Haesebrouck, F. Pasmans, J. Dewulf, R. Ducatelle and F. Van Immerseel. 2009. The cereal type in feed influences Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in broilers. Poultry Science 88:2108-2112.

Wang, S., K.C. Thomas, W.M. Ingledew, K. Sosulski and F.W. Sosulski. 1997. Rye and triticale as feedstock for fuel ethanol production. Cereal Chemistry 74:621-625.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 8108

Including Rye in Organic Poultry Diets

mar, 2018/05/15 - 17:44

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before using any feed ingredient make sure that the ingredient is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier.

Introduction

Rye is a very versatile crop. It can be grown as a forage for cattle and other ruminant livestock or as a green manure in crop rotations in organic farming. It can also be grown for grain which can be used as a feed ingredient, feedstock for alcohol distilling and for human consumption. Fermentation of rye has ethanol yields comparable to those of wheat, which is a common feedstock used in ethanol production in Canada (Wang, 1997).

The number of rye cultivars is relatively low, especially when compared with wheat and barley. There has been considerably less effort put into the development and improvement of rye, partially because rye cross-pollinates while wheat and barley are self-pollinators. With cross-pollination it is difficult to maintain pure lines of breeding stock (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye cultivars are typically differentiated on the basis of growth habit, as either winter rye or spring rye. Rye has an amazing tolerance of cold weather and is still able to germinate at air temperatures in the 30s°F as long as the soil is warmed by the sun to slightly higher than the air temperature. Once established, rye will continue to grow in the fall until the temperature drops below 40°F. Growth resumes when the temperature rises above 40°F in the spring.  Spring rye is grown in areas where the winters are too severe for even the hardy winter rye. Typically the yields of spring rye are lower than of winter rye (Bushuk, 2001).

Rye is able to produce economical yields on poor, sandy soils not suitable for other crops. Rye has a deep and fibrous root system which makes it good at competing with weeds. This is another reason rye is often used in crop rotation in organic farming. Rye can be planted as pasture in both the fall and spring or can be grown as pasture in the fall and then raised as a grain crop in the spring (Bushuk, 2001).

There has been reluctance to use rye as a feedstuff. The primary concern is the presence of ergot alkaloids. Ergot is the most common disease of rye. The ergot fungus can be very toxic if present in sufficient concentration. Ergot is less of a problem these days as newer cultivars of rye are being developed that are resistant to ergot (Sosulski and Bernier, 1975). Controlling wild grasses around field borders will also reduce the chances of getting an ergot problem.

Composition

Rye (Secale cereale) has been studied as an alternative feed ingredient for poultry. The nutrient content of rye is very similar to wheat and corn but the nutritive value for poultry is very poor. The energy content in somewhere between that of wheat and barley. The protein content is similar to barley and oats. Unfortunately, rye contains the anti-nutritional factors of beta-glucans (ß-glucans) and arabinoxylans which limit their use in poultry diets. Both ß-glucans and arabinoxylans adversely affect nutrient availability by increasing the viscous nature of the intestinal contents. The gel-like material interferes with the activity of the digestive enzymes as well as the absorption of nutrients.

Canada's breeding program developed a low viscosity variety of rye (He et al., 2003).  They found, however, that genetic selection to reduce viscosity had only a minor increase in the nutritive value of rye for broilers. Regardless of the viscosity of the rye varieties used, enzyme supplementation improved performance through improved nutrient availability. The increase in nutrient availability, however, was greater for the broilers on the low-viscosity rye.

Feeding rye to poultry

When rye is included in poultry diets there is depressed growth performance and/or reduced egg production. The use of rye in turkey and broiler diets results in sticky droppings which add moisture to the litter and can cause problems with ammonia. The fecal material can also gather around the vent giving the birds 'pasty vents'. Rye may be fed to laying hens but should be introduced only after the hens have reached peak egg production (about 40 weeks of age). Rye should not be more than 40% of the diet. Birds may have sticky droppings which can increase the incidence of stained eggs.

Rye is not recommended for growing chickens (i.e., broilers and pullets) and turkeys. Including high levels of rye in poultry diets typically causes problems for growing chicks. The problem is the water-soluble, highly viscous non-starch polysaccharides referred to as pentosans or arabinoxylans. They are present in low amounts in rye (about 3.5%) and interfere with digestion of all nutrients in the diet, but especially the fats, fat-soluble vitamins, starch and protein. Chicks fed diets with rye produce wet and sticky excreta. There is also a higher moisture level in litter, increasing the problem of ammonia production. In addition, inclusion of rye in broiler diets has been shown to increase colonization by Salmonella Enteritidis, a common cause of foodborne disease in humans (Teirlynch et al., 2009) and Clostridium perfringens, a pathogenic organism that causes necrotic enteritis in poultry (Cravens, 2000).

There are commercial enzymes available that can counteract the negative effects of the rye. Part of the improved performance is due to an increase in nutrient availability (Silva et al., 2002) 

References

Bushuk, W. 2001. Rye Production and uses worldwide. Cereal Foods World 46:1-73.

Craven, S.E. 2000. Colonization of the intestinal tract by Clostridium perfringens and fecal shedding in diet-stressed and unstressed broiler chickens. Poultry Science 79:843-849.

He, T., P.A. Thacker, J.G. McLeod and G.L. Campbell. 2003. Performance of broiler chicks fed normal and low viscosity rye or barley with or without enzyme supplementation. Asian-Australian Journal of Animal Science 16:234-238.

Silva, S.S.P. and R.R. Smithard. 2002. Effect of enzyme supplementation of a rye-based diet on xylanase activity in the small intestine of broilers, on intestinal crypt cell proliferation and on nutrient digestibility and growth performance of the birds. British Poultry Science 43:274-282.

Sosulski, F. and C.C. Bernier. 1975. Ergot tolerance in spring rye. Canadian Plant Disease Survey 55:155-157.

Teirlynch, E., F. Haesebrouck, F. Pasmans, J. Dewulf, R. Ducatelle and F. Van Immerseel. 2009. The cereal type in feed influences Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in broilers. Poultry Science 88:2108-2112.

Wang, S., K.C. Thomas, W.M. Ingledew, K. Sosulski and F.W. Sosulski. 1997. Rye and triticale as feedstock for fuel ethanol production. Cereal Chemistry 74:621-625.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

eOrganic 8108

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