Photo: Manure storage for solid manure handling system.
|Island Farmers are undertaking a number of activities to minimize the effects of agriculture on water quality. Livestock producers are building new manure storage and treatment facilities and producers and dairy farmers are fencing streams. Measures like integrated pest management, contour farming, terracing, and buffer zones go a long way in keeping soil from our waterways.|
The issue of water quality has two dimensions: ground water quality
from the standpoint of human health and consumption and surface
water quality as it affects aquatic habitat and organisms living in
Island watercourses. The human influences of greatest concern are
sedimentation, irrigation, waste management, nutrient and pesticide
contamination and bacterial contamination. These influences originate in communities, residential areas, transportation corridors and farms.||
Photo: A silt laden river after a heavy rain
Integrated pest management is a systems approach to pest management based on an understanding of pest ecology. It relies on resistant varieties and promoting plant health, crop rotation, disrupting pest reproduction, and the management of biological processes to diversify and build populations of beneficial organisms. Reduced risk pesticides, including bio-pesticides, are used only as a last resort and only in ways that minimize risks.
Integrated pest management requires a thorough understanding of the crop, its pests or threats, and a great deal of forethought, planning, and long range thinking. Farmers may use healthy seed to reduce potential problems from all seed borne diseases. Sanitation and clean-up helps prevent spores, eggs, and larvae from wintering over or transmitting from field to field. Crop rotation of cereals and
forages also reduces pest pressure and avoiding odd shaped fields or fields with low lying areas will keep air circulation at its best. Crop scouting and paying attention to weather reports helps reduce waste and makes spraying more effective. If all attempts to remove the attacker has failed then the farmer must resort to destroying infected hot spots to reduce the spread of predators. Using these techniques will help to minimize the amount of crop protectants and ensure that they are only a part of your integrated crop protection plan.
Photo: A healthy field featuring crop rotation, grassed waterways to encourage runoff, and even shapes and rows|