World-class Apples with IPM
Washington is known worldwide for its apples. To remain globally competitive, it is crucial for the state’s apple industry to continue producing quality, pest-free fruit despite the phase-out of widely used organophosphate (OP) insecticides.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out the use of azinphos-methyl, the pesticide most used to control the key apple pest, the codling moth, by 2012 for health and environmental reasons. The agency is facing pressure to accelerate the phase out.
Apple industry leaders and the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee are working together to help growers switch to OP alternatives for pest control.
Thanks to funding from the Washington Legislature, the Pest Management Transition Project is using education and outreach to help growers transition to managing pests using ecologically based, integrated pest management strategies.
WSU’s TFREC in Wenatchee, where director Jay Brunner is a pioneer and leader in developing effective IPM strategies, is implementing the transition project. IPM is a pest control strategy using a variety of complementary strategies including mechanical devices, physical devices, genetic, biological, cultural management, and chemical management with a main goal of significantly reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides while at the same time managing pest populations at an acceptable level.
Project manager Keith Granger established 14 transition-implementation units distributed geographically across the principal fruit growing regions of the state. The units held regular local meetings in 2008 that directly involved nearly 200 people representing an influence of 42,600 acres of apple orchards. Target audiences included growers, farm managers and crop consultants. Field days are held to share research-based information on successfully implementing IPM strategies.
The project informally surveyed growers through the implementation units to establish baseline data on the use of pest management practices, and to track the effectiveness of the project’s education, outreach and training efforts as it helps growers transition to more environmentally friendly pest management approaches.
For more information, please visit http://pmtp.wsu.edu.
Healthy Seed, Healthy Crops
While there’s a good chance that those veggies on your dinner plate may not have been grown in Washington, the odds are pretty good that the seeds from which they were grown are from the Northwest.
The maritime Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon and Idaho, is one of the few regions in the world with the specific climatic conditions necessary for production of high-quality vegetable seed. Although these high-value seed crops total less than 15,000 acres annually in Washington, they play an important role in global vegetable production. For example, one acre of hybrid cabbage seed crop produces about 2,000 pounds of seed that in turn will plant about 10,000 acres of cabbage. Some 90 countries import vegetable seed from the Northwest.
To remain competitive in the world seed market, Northwest seed growers must produce high quality, pathogen-free seed.
That’s where WSU plant pathologist Lindsey du Toit comes in. Du Toit’s Vegetable Seed Pathology program at WSU’s Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center investigates the biology, epidemiology and management of an array of fungal, viral, and bacterial diseases that affect vegetable seed crops grown in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Du Toit and her research team identified and are developing management strategies for a number of new diseases they found in Washington, including Fusarium wilt of radish, powdery mildew Leveillula taurica on onion, Iris yellow spot virus on onion, and Stemphylium leaf spot and Verticillium wilt of spinach.
They share their findings with growers through workshops, field days, conferences, publications, and through regional and state advisory committees, and the Pacific Northwest Vegetable Extension Group.
For more information, please visit http://tinyurl.com/vegseed.