Vetiver as Part of a Pest Management System

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pest management is the science of preventing, suppressing, or eradicating biological organisms that are causing a problem. The term "Integrated Pest Management" (IPM), implies integration of approaches and methods into a pest management system, which takes into consideration the ecology of the environment and all relevant interactions that pest management practices may have upon the environment in which one or more pest problems may exist. When IPM principles are applied to a given pest problem, it is generally assumed that environmental impact and economic risks have been minimized. Since IPM considers all applicable methods, it is also assumed that emphasis on chemical methods may be reduced when effective non-chemical alternative methods are available.

The use of Vetiver as part of a management system falls into the realm of "Cultural and Mechanical" practices that that can be quick, safe, and economical to implement for the protection of many agricultural crops. Trials in Ethiopia and South Africa with the control of stem borers and nematodes have been very successful.

Depending of the environment, Vetiver can act both as a trap crop around the perimeter of a produce field, and as an underground physical barrier against nematodes and termites. In some areas the plants are allowed to grow tall and serve as wind barriers protecting more delicate crops. For many farmers, the introduction of Vetiver into their practices also provides the solution to soil erosion problems that threaten to severely reduce the productivity of many soils.

Vetiver alone is not enough to control pests. A complete management plan must be devised depending on the objectives that may include chemical controls - but hopefully in a much lesser scale.

For additional information and pictures, see this PowerPoint presentation by Johnnie van den Berg from the School of Environmental Sciences and Development of Northwest University in South Africa: Vetiver as a Component of a Pest Management System.


Matha Wright said...

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