Pest Management

Pest management encompasses a broad range of topics related to pests of crops such as weeds, diseases (fungal, bacterial and viral), insects, vertebrates (gophers), and slugs and snails. Pests of livestock include filth flies and various diseases caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses, not to mention predators. The information provided here is focused mostly on ecological approaches to pest management. If you can eliminate or reduce the conditions which favor pest populations, these preventive actions can help avoid more expensive measures needed to control pest outbreaks.

This page offers information on pest management for crops and livestock. Many of the fruit, vegetable, and livestock guides listed in other sections of this website have information specific to pests of those crops or livestock (for example, Grapes: Organic Production has much information on grape pests). If you’re looking for pests of crops, try ATTRA’s Sustainable Pest and Weed Control Database which contains information about materials to help manage a wide range of crop pests, as well as information about prevention of specific pests.

Importantly, this section also has much information about ecologically based approaches to pest management. This type of information is generally broader and focuses on how to better manage your farm’s ecology in order to reduce pest populations.

Use ATTRA’s Sustainable Pest and Weed Control Database Here

Don’t Miss

Featured Topics

ATTRA’s Pest Management Resources

Spider mites covering cover crops
Silverleaf whitefly.
A collage of hedgerow plant species
Aphids feeding on cowpeas in Mount Pleasant, TX
Canva Pro

NCAT Releases Updated Tipsheets on Soil Solarization and Biosolarization

Are you struggling with weeds or pests? Solarization and biosolarization…
high tunnel

Insect Netting for Spray-Free Insect Control on Small Farms

As I walked through the high tunnels in mid-July 2020, a frustration set in that it may not be possible to grow greenhouse cucumbers without spraying them. In my previous role as Farm Director at Hip Peas Farm, a peri-urban microfarm in Hooksett, New Hampshire, we had a demand for greenhouse cucumbers. These pests presented a huge problem for us, as we were attempting to be a completely spray-free operation.
Dan Birnstihl, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist

Farm Visit to JSM Organics with Congressman Panetta and Under Secretary Moffitt

Staff from the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) ATTRA sustainable agriculture program had been planning for months to create a video tour of JSM Organics, one of the Latino-owned farms featured in this year’s Latino Farmer Conference.
By Ann Baier, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist
A combcutting implement removing broadleaf plants from a grass crop.

Combcutting: An Innovative Approach for Reducing Broadleaf Weeds in Small Grains

When a small grain crop like wheat, oat, barley, or rye is in the vegetative growth stage and prior to stem development, the crop’s leaves are very flexible. Broadleaf weeds like Canada Thistle growing within the vegetative cash crop generally have a stem, which continues to get thicker and stiffer as the weed matures. Combcutting technology uses a series of stationary knives that are set at a specific angle and distance from each other.
By Justin Morris, Regenerative Livestock Specialist

Solarization and Biosolarization: Harnessing the Sun and Organic Matter to Control Weeds

Biosolarization is an innovation in the realm of weed control.…

A Spring IPM Toolbox for Controlling Powdery Mildew in Vineyards

Powdery mildew has plagued vineyards since time immemorial. If temperatures reach between 70 and 85 degrees, chances are, powdery mildew has woken up from its slumber and is ready to infect your grapes. When left unchecked, this fungus can reduce vine growth, sabotage yields, and reduce fruit quality. There are all sorts of practices in our integrated pest-management toolbox that we can use to control powdery mildew. Prevention is always number one, but there are plenty of mitigation strategies we can employ as well. Here are some good examples:
By Katherine Favor, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist

Soil Steaming for High Tunnels

Soil steaming on farms is an emerging technology that is being…

Exploring the Garden for Beneficial Insects!

Like many, during these challenging times, I’ve turned to home gardening! I’ve used gardening as an opportunity to reconnect with nature and clear my head, all while staying close to home during the quarantine.
By Jamie Fanous, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist