Pesticide-free strawberries by soil biosolarisation

Strawberry is delicious and a high-value crop grown worldwide. Strawberry diseases are commonly controlled by soil fumigation with toxic chemicals. Alternative control techniques are thus needed. The article by Domínguez et al. presents a new technique, named biosolarisation, that combine soil biofumigation and soil solarization. Soils were biofumigated with fresh chicken manure with or without Trichoderma, Brassica juncea pellets, sugar beet vinasse, or dried olive pomace. Soils were then solarised 30 days by covering with clear plastic mulch, thus allowing the sun to warm up and kill pests. Results show that strawberry yields were similar to higher than yields using classical chemical treatments. Biosolarization with fresh chicken manure is therefore a promising sustainable option for clean strawberry production.


Organic rice using fishes, ducks and frogs in China

Rice is a major food in China. However many pests, diseases and weeds cause losses of rice yield. The use of pesticides is no longer an option to solve a such problem because pesticides contaminate food and water. Non-chemical treatments are thus needed. Huang et al review non-chemical chinese practices that are successfully applied to rice cultivation. Practices include: growth of different resistance rice varieties to control blast, plant hoppers; leaf folder and sheath blight management by adjusting rice seeding and transplanting date; releasing fish and frog to control insect pests and weeds; rice-duck mutualism system to control multiple injurious insect and weeds, and also fertilize the soil.


Unexpected withdrawal from organic farming

Europe envision organic farming as a solution for sustainable agriculture. However the organic farming area has increased only from 1.8% in 1998 to 4.7 % in 2009 in European Union, still far from initial objectives. Worse, recent observations show cases of farmer withdrawal from organic farming. Madelrieux and Alavoine-Mornas studied organic farming withdrawal of 18 former organic farmers. Results show that withdrawal depends on the circumstances causing farmers to leave organic farming and what farmers learned by experience.