Organic Production Systems

A few studies have evaluated the impact of substantial changes in production practices, such as organic farming, on the level of biological control or on densities of antagonists. Organic farming replaces synthetic fertilizers and pesticides with organic fertilizers (plant material and animal manure), crop rotation, and resistant cultivars. Persmark (1997) sampled 11 pairs of organically and conventionally managed farms and found no difference between the two management systems in either the densities of nematode-trapping fungi, numbers of nematodes in the rhizosphere of pea, or organic matter. In a field plot experiment, organically managed plots had more species of nematophagous fungi and two species, Arthrobotrys dactyloides and Nematoctonus leiosporus, were more abundant than in conventionally managed plots (Jaffee et al. 1998). However, soils from organic and conventionally managed plots did not differ in level of suppression of M. javanica. In another similar study, the number of species of nematophagous fungi was not different in organically and conventionally managed plots (Timm et al. 2001). The only two fungi, N. leiospo-rus and Meristacrum sp. that were found more frequently in the organic plots were present at very low densities.

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