[NAFEX] chemical vs organic [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com
Tue Jun 16 10:15:02 EDT 2009

The question is not organic vs. chemical or chemical vs. organic since organic growers do use chemicals such as Bt.  It is the toxin from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis. In 1997 Bt was the  most heavily used pesticide on organic farms.   The real question that is typically overlooked is, toxic vs. non-toxic.  For example:

Nicotine, one of the more toxic organic insecticides, has a rat LD50 (lethal dose in 50% of animals tested) of 55mg/kg. The synthetic insecticide, imidacloprid, has a rat LD50 of 425mg/kg, making imidacloprid nearly 10 times less toxic than nicotine. Yet nicotine is "organic".   Rotenone has an LD50 of 60-1500 mg/kg and is more acutely toxic than Malathion or Sevin. Cats are highly susceptible to pyrethrum. But Rotenone is "organic".   

We are a conventionally grown fruit orchard and I would never use either Bt or Rotenone.  I don't use Malathion and only use Sevin as a thinner at 1/2 to 1/4 rate.  I don't wnat to kill our beneficials!  

Dennis Norton
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
Office (815) 648-4467
Mobile (815) 228-2174
Fax (609) 228-2174

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "ADAMSON, Karl" <Karl.Adamson at apvma.gov.au>
To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 6:53 PM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] chemical vs organic [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Nice article. I use pesticides only where I have no other choice, like
all the tools of science they can be used well, but unfortunately are
frequently misused. To further this point I'd like to cite a quote
written in 1943 "Artificial Manures, or, The conservation and use of
organic matter for soil improvement" p 59.  (I love the titles of old

In speaking quite critically on the subject of biodynamics the author
states "No information is offered as to the composition of the
preparations (biodynamic formulae).  Preparations are recommended also
for the control of insect pests and plant diseases instead of the more
orthodox lead, arsenic and copper compounds generally advocates by
modern entomologists and plant pathologists."

Well I guess the font of knowledge has moved location since that
statement! So who knows, in another 50 years we may be saying the same
thing about a lot of the chemicals we currently use.  Times change and
hopefully in the process we become a better more learned society.


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