Fungal Control in Organic Farming
Organic Farming in South Africa

© Louise Brodie
In organic farming, copper-based sprays or beneficial fungi can be sprayed to control fungal infections.

Fungi can be difficult to control in an organic farming system; the fungicides on the market are not suitable for organic farming. Commercial fungicides are often copper-based sprays. A new method of controlling fungi is to administer beneficial fungi. It is a very common organic method of controlling. The beneficial fungi are present in abundance and compete with the harmful fungi. The excess beneficial fungi compete against the adverse fungi and expel or eradicate them.

There are different types of fungi that can be used, but the best known is Bio-trichio. Apply this fungi to plants and the soil. Almost all fungi are susceptible to sulphur powder. Another method is to spray a solution of three tablespoons vinegar mixed with one litre of water, recommends Dr. Victor Whitlock, agricultural consultant. A common control practice for plants infected with fungi is to spray it with a milk-and-water mixture.

This mixture consists of 1 cup of milk, 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. The milk contains good fungi that will overgrow the harmful fungi. The detergent helps the mixture to bond with the leaves and not just drip off. American organic farmers use beneficial fungi to limit pathogens, according to Bob Cantisano of Organic Ag Advisors in California.

Microbes such as Trichoderma (T. koningii and T. harzianum), Streptomyces griseoviridis and Bacillus subtilis are administered on the roots or used to treat the seeds before planting. It improves beneficial microbes in the soil and promotes growth. It is used for diseases like Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Botritis, Scelerotinia, Fusarium, Phomopsis, Alternalia and Aspergillus.

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