Crop Rotation
Diverse crop rotations are a critical pest management tool, especially for organic producers. Photo by Deb Heleba, Northeast SARE

The goal of ecological management is to reduce pest abundance to tolerable levels through the use of multiple pest control tactics that integrate with crop and soil management. This is opposed to using silver-bullet solutions to control pests. Think of pest management strategies as individual tools in a tool box, which together create a positive environment for crops and beneficial organisms, and a stressful one for pests. Just as you wouldn’t rely on a single tool to fix every problem, you should avoid relying on a single approach to manage pests.

When you integrate multiple control tactics, your production system benefits in the following ways:

  • The impacts of individual strategies are strengthened when used together.
  • The risk of crop failure is reduced because you are spreading the burden of crop protection across many tactics.
  • Environmental disruptions and threats to human health are minimized.
  • Pests’ ability to develop resistance or adapt to individual tactics is slowed.
  • If properly integrated, operational costs are reduced and profitability is improved by reducing the need for purchased inputs.