We find that if you follow good farming practices, pest and disease pressure is dramatically reduced.
Healthy soil that is alive with beneficial insects and organisms keeps harmful bacteria and fungus in check. When faced with an impending problem, we use a biological or organically-approved pesticide as our first course of action. Only in the event of a damaging disease or infestation will we revert to a stronger course of action. This method is called Integrated Pest Management and helps protect the environment and people who eat our food.
We control weeds by mechanical means. This cultivating tractor does a terrific job of eliminating weeds in our row crops, but our crew usually follows up to keep the fields weed free. As we work our fields, we find the weed pressure reduces after several years of careful stewardship.
For control of such plant pathogens as powdery mildew, Pythium, fusarium, and phytophthora, we mostly use biological fungicides comprised of beneficial microbes that protect plants. Unlike mineral pesticides, they supplement rather than harm the biological life in the soil.
For insect control, we'll mostly use either biological insecticides or plant extracts that have insectcidal properties. They have the added benefit of being biodegradable and non-toxic to humans, animals, beneficials, and the environment.