PULLMAN, Wash. — The “1998 Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits in Washington” will never win any literary awards, but it’s always a best seller in the central part of the state where more than $1 billion worth of apples, cherries and other fruits are harvested each year.
“My guess is there is probably a copy in just about every grower’s pickup and shed around the state,” said Betsy Beers, an entomologist at WSU’s Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.
About 5,000 copies of the 90-page bulletin published by Washington State University Cooperative Extension are sold each year. This year’s edition — the 38th — will be available Feb. 13.
Many copies are ordered well in advance of printing, says Susan Roberts, extension publications specialist, who has edited the bulletin the past 14 years. “People really get concerned if it’s not out on time. We get a lot of calls when it’s not.”
Why is the crop protection guide in such great demand?
“It’s sort of a consumer report on what works best among all the products available to growers,” Beers said. The advice contained in its pages is based on research — sometimes years of research — and observations by Beers and other contributors, mostly university personnel. They meet once a year to decide what to endorse.
Not all pesticides registered for particular uses are recommended by WSU. “Labels are a legal guide for what pesticides can be used,” Beers said. “We provide advice on what materials work best in our region.”
The publication has sections on breaking news, such as registrations and changes in safety rules; pesticide regulations, including applicator safety; and disposal of pesticides. “We have a set of general recommendations where we just talk about pest management and how to read labels,” Beers said. “We also have a section on pollinator safety and a special section on hazards to plants.”
The real guts of the guide are the seasonal schedules of materials that are appropriate for different pests that growers will encounter, more or less in chronological order. They are divvied up by crops.
The guide provides crop protection information for apples, pears, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries, prunes, and plums. Sketches of the stages of bud development help growers decide what to use.
During 11 years as coordinator of the publication, Beers made a number of modifications. “One of the major changes has been the removal of quite a bit of pest basic biology and transferring that into the book Orchard Pest Management sold by the Good Fruit Grower, a tree fruit industry magazine.”
Tim Smith, area tree fruit extension agent for North Central Washington, assumed the role as coordinator for the 1998 edition so Beers could put more emphasis on other projects. “It’s nice to bring in a fresh perspective every decade or so,” she said.
The crop protection bulletin helps growers use agricultural chemicals more judiciously, Beers says. “I think the crop protection guide and the companion publication on insect biology help growers make the best possible choices. That in turn may reduce the amount of pesticides going into the environment, not only the total but also the types of pesticides.”
Copies of EB0419 “1998 Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits in Washington” can be ordered from the Cooperative Extension Bulletin Office in Pullman by calling (800) 723-1763. Cost is $3.50 plus shipping, handling and state sales tax for Washington residents.
An electronic version can be found at the College of Agriculture and Home Economics Information Dept. web site at http://caheinfo.wsu.edu, click on publications.
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