Posts Tagged 'OMRI'

Fungus Gnats Neutralized

Gnatrol is a microbial insecticide that attacks the maggots of fungus gnats, shore flies, and other flies in the soil. The active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) bacteria doesn’t kill the flying adults; the maggots must eat it. Hydroponic growers like Gnatrol’s cost-effective control of fungus gnats. Gnatrol WDG (water dispersible granules) is OMRI listed for organic, and pending CA EPA approval. The liquid comes in 2.5 gallon jugs and the graunles in 16 lb pails.

For more info, check out our Gnatrol bulletin.

This product article originally appeared in our Biocontrol Beat Winter 2008.

Rhizoboost and Defensor No Longer OMRI Listed

You may have noticed recently that some previously listed products are no longer on the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Products List. This past year, OMRI has been re-reviewing all products on their list for NOP compliance. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has recently revised its requirements for products to be approved for use in organic. The new requirements no longer allow the use of some inert ingredients (see full list below). Consequently, OMRI has withdrawn certification of a lot of products. Listing status is renewed annually, and another reason a product may fail to stay on the list is that some companies decide not to pay the listing fee. For companies with a small volume of sales, it can be a lot of money.

Two Rincon-Vitova products no longer listed as of September 2008 are BioStart Rhizoboost and Defensor. Bio-Cat, the manufacturer, is currently working on finding a preservative that will meet the new NOP standards. They haven’t given us a specific time frame, but testing a new formulation will take a few months and getting the products recertified by OMRI will take a few more months after that. We’ll keep you updated on their progress. We will continue to carry these products, but be aware that they are no longer approved for use in USDA certified organic production. If you need an OMRI listed microbial inoculant, we also carry Natural Resources Group’s Activate line of products. Hopefully a new formulation will be approved for organic soon because we have seen the benefits of these products extend beyond improving and maintaining soil biodiversity and promoting balance in the soil foodweb. Rhizoboost is especially helpful for farms in the first year of transition off of fumigated and chemically treated soils before moving the land towards organic certification.

Cucumber plants with and without Rhizoboost.

Cucumber plants grown with and without Rhizoboost.

Squash plants grown with and without Rhizoboost

Squash plants grown with and without Rhizoboost.

Inert ingredients no longer allowed by NOP standards:

acetylated lanolin alcohol
acrylic acid methyl ester, polymer with acrylonitrile and 1,3-butadiene
coumarone-indene resin
manganous oxide
pentaerythritol monostearate
pentaerythritol tetrastearate
polyglyceryl phthalate ester of coconut oil fatty acid
sodium fluoride

Organic: what’s in a name? OMRI vs. WSDA vs. NOP

The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) reviews applications from companies that want a third-party verification that their product is suitable for use in organic production, processing, or handling according to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidelines. OMRI listing is voluntary and not appearing on the OMRI list doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is not suitable for organic farming. For more information on OMRI listing, see omri.org.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) also reviews materials and lists ones that they find acceptable. WSDA fee schedule is lower than OMRI, so you may see products listed WSDA Organic.

Producers can self certify that their products meet NOP organic standards. Basically if all the ingredients are from a natural source, the product is NOP. Some artificial chemicals are also acceptable under NOP standards. There are a few products that are natural that are not NOP – for example, strychnine and nicotine. For more information on what is and isn’t allowed by the NOP, refer to the USDA website.

I am in the process of updating Rincon-Vitova Insectaries product descriptions to show whether the product is acceptable for organic use and if it is OMRI or WSDA certified, NOP acceptable, or Natural-Not Regulated (the designation for beneficial insects, microbes or nematodes with no restricted additives).



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