It’s a Fact
Washington growers produced 1.3 million eggs in 2005 with a value of $44.8 million, making eggs Washington’s 20th most important commodity. Washington is the 18th largest egg producer in the U.S. (Source: Washington State Data Book)
Bugs in the System
Vince Jones, an entomologist based at WSU’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, leads a team that has developed a powerful web-based tool that helps growers make pest management decisions. Fueled by data from AgWeatherNet (see On Solid Ground, March 21, 2007), the Decision Aid System (DAS) can predict such things as codling moth emergence, recommend sampling or suggest control strategies. Control strategies can be projected into the future as well.
“Essentially, DAS brings together key elements of our past research: predictive models, pest management recommendations and effects of pesticides on natural enemies,” said Jay Brunner, director of the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.
“We’ve been testing the system with 10 beta users,” said Jones, “so we know it works well for the nine pest models available now to the general public. The system’s web-based, so it’s software independent, and it’s written in plain English, so it’s easy to use. We’re adding information and features on a regular basis. It’s already available on a cellphone, and soon users will be able to get email alerts. To help growers deal with fast changing pests like fireblight, we’ll be adding alerts via text messaging in the next year or so.”
“It’s only possible because we have a constant stream of data provided by AgWeatherNet,” said Tim Smith, a Wenatchee-based WSU Extension educator who advises tree fruit growers in north central Washington.
The system is publicly available and requires only a quick and easy registration process in order to harness its power. Decision Aid System is online at: http://das.wsu.edu/.
An Ounce of Prevention
Grapevine leaf disease (GLD) is believed to affect more than 10 percent of Washington’s wine and juice grape acreage. The only known way to stop the spread of the virus-caused disease is prevention. WSU plant pathologist and extension specialist Naidu Rayapati travels the state teaching growers, nursery owners, state inspectors and his colleagues how to recognize symptoms of the disease. GLD is believed to be caused by a complex of at least nine different associated viruses. Leaves of infected plants may roll at the edges in mid- to late-summer and during the fall reddening.
“There’s a lack of information and awareness about this particular disease among growers and other stakeholders,” Rayapati said. “Since these viruses cannot be cured, efforts have to be directed at prevention.” GLD significantly reduces both yield and sugar content.
Nobody is entirely certain how the disease spreads, but the slow spread of the disease among neighboring vines strongly suggests grafting and pruning as likely culprits, said Rayapati. An insect vector would result in a more randomized spread, he added.
“Growers need to make a long-term investment in education,” Rayapati said, in order to protect themselves and the industry. Because vines don’t always present the same visual symptoms, Rayapati suggests contacting WSU Viticulture Extension for advice and diagnostic assistance.
For more information, please visit: http://winegrapes.wsu.edu/index.html