Reducing Chemical Inputs in Arid-Climates Through Sustainable Orchard Management

Final Report for SW98-058

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1998: $261,044.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $46,383.00
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Schuyler Seeley
Utah State University
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Project Information

Abstract:
SUMMARY of Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Automatically Reporting Weather Stations (ARWS) have been accumulating data for four years. Arrays of HI/LO weather stations strategically located in orchards have also been accumulating data. These stations were in place for the 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 calendar years. The equipment has been incorporated into the various state weather station programs, and information from them will be used in fruit production for years to come. Cooperators in each state have downloaded the HI/LO information monthly and dispatched the information to the Utah State Climate Center. The Utah State Phenology models have been incorporated into a computer software package called Wintree that tracks fruit tree phenology in a fruit tree calendar. The fruit tree calendar begins on the first of September as trees go dormant. The Chill Unit Module tracks the progression of fruit tree development through dormancy and predicts emergence from dormancy. The Anthesis Unit Module tracks the progression of bud development and growth through full bloom. After full bloom the Apple Sizing and Foliation Unit Modules estimate fruit and shoot growth and development during spring. During summer, a Photosynthesis Unit Module tracks tree growth, development, and relative photosynthate production. Insect, disease, and fruit growth models added to the phenological fruit tree calendar provide accurate prediction of insect and disease activity for scouting purposes. Predictive information for the common insects and diseases in the intermountain area give hobby, part-time, and full-time orchardists information that can help them in pin-pointing their protection efforts and reduce chemical use. The data have been archived in the Utah Climate Center Database and are available* at http://www.usu.edu/research.htm, click on Interstate Orchard Project.
*Computer hackers virally infected the Utah Climate Center Computers in the spring of 2001 and reduced them to virtual rubble. Archived historical and current weather data were not destroyed, but programs that processed the data were. Various attempts to get the programs back up and running have not yet been successful. To replace the role of the Utah Climate Center in the Sustainable Orchard Management Program and to make the program dispensable to the states and give them control now and after the termination of this project, we (James Frisby) produced computer programs for the Campbell Scientific Dataloggers used in the project. These programs have been distributed to collaborators on CD with instructions. With these programs, researchers and farmers in each state are able to download the raw data and run the programs to determine chill units, phenological dates, fruit sizing, and insect and disease prediction and susceptibility. This allows them the ability to control their exposure to Internet problems and educates them to do the job on their own.
A program status meeting with cooperators from the various states involved was held on November 2, 2001 at Utah State University. We spent one day talking about our programs, distributing the most current program versions, and talking about results in 2001, and planning for the 2002 year. We also talked about other possible cooperative endeavors to serve the intermountain fruit production industry. A proposal was submitted to the Community/University Research Initiative in Utah and it was funded to help fruit growers monitor irrigation applications more closely to reduce water usage. The program will operate during 2002 and 2003. A booklet on irrigation strategy in drought situations will be produced and growers will receive Watermark blocks and readers so that they can learn to monitor their soil water levels more accurately.

Project Objectives:
OBJECTIVES Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Objectives:
1. Develop an arid climate Sustainable Orchard Management (SOMS) Handbook/Calendar/Tool Kit to educate IPM inclined growers in horticultural association meetings, workshops, and mentor/grower relationships.
2. Develop a climate center generated, climatically databased, electronic SOMS Calendar based on presently available phenology calendars for arid climate orchards.
3. Develop mentoring of SOMS inclined orchardists via this program, extension fruit agents, and IPM growers.

Introduction:
INTRODUCTION Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Standard arid-climate orchard practice requires frequent application of chemicals for pest control. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs have reduced orchard chemical inputs by 17% and increased returns by 19%. Knowledgeable growers have taken advantage of IPM because of its cost effectiveness, increased safety, and clear environmental advantages, but most growers, especially smaller growers, do not have the information, time, and expertise to implement IPM. This project gave IPM-inclined growers effective IPM information, predictions of potential insect and disease occurrences, and weather information to aid in all orchard cultural practices. The information was directed toward developing a Sustainable Orchard Management System (SOMS). Data from over 60 weather monitoring sites were entered into the Utah Climate Center (UCC) computers and derived scheduling information was posted on the Interstate Orchard Project site for all growers, scientists, extension agents, and others to access. When the UCC computers were compromised, we generated computer programs that were distributed to all cooperators for their individual use in downloading data and generating their own predictive schedules.
The world apple industry has suffered greatly in recent years (1995-2001) from overproduction, especially in China; so much that 80% of the original growers in the program in Colorado have quit growing apples. Those who survived have switched to newer cultivars, IPM, and SOMS. The apple outlook is much brighter today and growers will derive great benefits from the IPM and SOMS programs.

Research

Materials and methods:
MATERIALS AND METHODS Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

See previous reports.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION/MILESTONES Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Specific Results:
Objective 1. Develop an arid climate Sustainable Orchard Management (SOMS) Handbook/Calendar/Tool Kit (HCT) to educate IPM inclined growers in horticultural association meetings, workshops, and mentor/grower relationships.
COMPLETED!
The HCT is being distributed by cooperators. It contains the information and tools outlined in the proposal except for fruit sizing equipment for spray thinning. We have developed a phenological model of apple fruit growth that will allow spray scheduling by heat accumulation from full bloom. This will make it unnecessary for the growers to spend their time making measurements of their fruit by predicting the optimum day(s) for fruit thinning sprays from temperature data. For this reason a caliper was not included in the SOMS HCT.
The HCT was completed in the summer of 2000 and has been sent to cooperators for their use in workshops with growers who are interested in the program. The HCT production was delayed almost a year due to the necessity of producing fact sheets for several of the most important IPM insects and diseases.

The Handbook/Calendar/Tool Kit has been received and used by many growers. We produced over 100 completed HCTs with all of the IPM insect and disease fact sheets. Another 300 copies of the HCT were stored in the Agricultural Science 303 laboratory. Unfortunately, the 300 stored copies were damaged beyond reclamation by water leaks from the newly installed cooling system. Therefore, we have scanned the document and have it on CD format for further distribution. Collaborators in the various states have been making photocopies of it for hard copy distribution to growers as needed.

Objective 2. Develop a climate center generated, climatically databased, electronic SOMS Calendar based on presently available phenology calendars for arid climate orchards.
UP AND RUNNING NOW!
Data from automatic weather stations are downloaded early every morning and placed in files in the Utah Climate Center Weather Database. This is available to everyone at the Internet address given above. At that location, click on Interstate Orchard Project and select the weather station of interest. Raw, hourly, and daily data summaries are available. The daily summaries, for example, give the date, total precipitation, leaf wetness, max, min, and average air temperature, max, min, and average relative humidity, max, min, and average soil temperature, average and top wind speed and direction, total solar radiation, and station battery status. This data can be fed into Wintree or other programs that will return phenological information. Complete information on weather data are now compiled in the Interstate Orchard Project data sheets for each location along with appropriate outputs in chill units, anthesis units and fruit and foliar growth units. Dormancy status, anthesis stages, fruit sizing, insect scouting times, disease potentials, and action items are noted depending on weather data. Insect and disease predictions are also made by Mike Reding and by cooperators in the various states. Specific internet-available data for each weather station are more reliable and timely than maps and more understandable by the growers.

As indicated above in the abstract, the electronic calendar has been transferred to collaborators on CD so that they can adapt the programs to their individual areas. With this software they can have their computer download information from the Campbell Scientific Datalogger via telephone once a day. Computer programs process the data and provide the current status of orchards in the area concerning dormancy, springtime development, bloom-time conditions, insect and disease status, codling sizing for thinning, and other information as desired. The damage to the Utah Climate Center Computers was probably good for the program. We were required to adapt to it by producing software that makes it possible for collaborators, growers, and research scientists to perform their own programs in order to monitor the orchards and forecast critical IPM events. Local efforts close to the orchards controlled by growers, extension personnel, and research scientists should give better results.

Objective 3. Develop mentoring of SOMS inclined orchardists via this program, extension fruit agents, and IPM growers.
Fruit growers, extension agents, and others have been introduced to the program by major participants in each state. Mentoring is being developed in each state according to the interests of the growers in each area. The program will be reviewed in each state during the winter grower’s meetings and mentoring relationships will be developed by the major participants. These mentors and growers will all receive a copy of the Sustainable Orchard Management Handbook/Toolkit and will work together to develop IPM and other SOMS practices in each area. The HCT has been distributed to the cooperators who will set up workshops this winter (2000-2001) to introduce more growers to the HCT and give them training in IPM and SOMS.

Mentoring of growers has been happening in every state. Arizona growers are in an advantageous situation because of their relative isolation and the derived ability to practice IPM in producing organically grown apples. They use codling moth mating disruption to advantage. They also use irrigation strategies that allow water conservation in their state of the art plantings. New Mexico growers are in a situation that demands conventional spraying for codling moth due to inoculation pressure. New Mexico has hired Ronald Walser, a Utah State graduate, for a new State Extension Pomologist position. New Mexico’s program will be directed by Ron in the future. Colorado has had a good IPM program running in their area. They have taken advantage of our program, and more than a dozen growers have embraced the program. Unfortunately, many of the smaller growers have sold their orchards or have pulled them out due to the worldwide apple surplus that has resulted in very low prices. Some of them have gone to peaches, grapes, and other more lucrative crops. About 20% of the growers have persisted in the apple business and are using our programs. Utah growers have tried codling moth mating disruption. As in New Mexico, there is just too much inoculation pressure from widely distributed back-yard and wild trees for mating disruption to work. Therefore, they must use a combination of spraying and mating disruption. James Frisby has directed the IPM program in Utah between the time Michael Reding left for a position in the Midwest until Carin Miller joined the faculty as an extension IPM specialist. Carin left shortly after her arrival and James has continued the Utah IPM work through September 2002. His direction covered the 2001 and 2002 fruit seasons. James was able to successfully implement the IPM program and gave great service to Utah’s growers. In Idaho, Essie Fallahi continues to work with the growers, and they have had a successful IPM program.
The weather stations have been transferred to individual state ownership and collaborators will work with their climate data collection experts to incorporate the stations into state networks. The satellite HOBO temperature monitors will continue to be used by individuals in the various states to compare their sites to the main weather stations or to evaluate potential sites for fruit production.

Research results and discussion:
IMPACT OF RESULTS/OUTCOMES Sustainable Orchard Management Systems
  1. ARIZONA
    Reducing Chemical Inputs in Arid-Climates Through Sustainable Orchard Management SARE Project 98-058
    Robert E. Call Arizona Coordinator
    Arizona apple growers have produced some 4,400 acres of fresh market apples. Currently there are 3,900 acres of apples with more conventional acreage slated for removal this winter. Apple production is centered in southeastern Arizona where three apple packing sheds and a juice concentrating plant are located. During the past decade much of the fruit has been used for value-added products and in the processing industry. Over the past several years, organic apple acreage has increased and now accounts for about 60%. Codling moth mating disruption technology has made organic apple production possible.
    Arizona Apple Growers Association meetings are held monthly except during the harvest months of August-December. Currently there are 15 active apple growers in the association. At these meetings and orchard visits all aspects of orchard management are addressed. The Sustainable Orchard Management System Handbooks were delivered and discussed during these meetings.
    Seven Hobo temperature logger weather stations, in conjunction with winged stick traps, were monitored in orchards over the past three years. The traps were checked on a weekly basis and counts made for codling moths. These data, along with weather data from the Bonita AZMET and Dragoon Climate Center remote weather stations, were used to time spraying of codling moth and hanging of mating disruption pheromones in orchards.
    Weather data were mailed to growers and Professional Crop Advisors on a weekly basis. This information is correlated with phenological models adapted to Arizona. Biofix, defined as consistent weekly codling moth catches, is determined by growers. Cover sprays are initiated 250 growing degree hours (GDH) after Biofix. A second cover spray begins after 1,000-1,250 GDH, and a third 2,000-2,500 GDH after Biofix. There are three complete generations of codling moth in Southeastern Arizona. Organic orchards use a similar approach that will be discussed below.
    During the same period, beginning in 1999, an Executive Order from the Director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA), Mr. Sheldon Jones, was issued. This order, agreed to and signed by all growers, mandates that orchard owners will control codling moth using known effective methods. Also, growers are to clean up windfall apples, remove and burn prunings, and practice generally accepted orchard operations. This Executive Order was issued because of excessive pressure of codling moths on organic orchards from improper timing and spraying of conventional orchards. Local ADA officials and this Extension Agent monitor 90 codling moth traps annually. ADA officers are to abate noncompliant orchard owners. They place a lien on the abated property if 150% of the costs of the control measures are not paid to the ADA. Thankfully, no abatement orders have been issued to date.
    Studies during this SARE project have found that the black mating disruption pheromone dispensers do not deliver season-long control for codling moth in our high desert environment. The high temperatures we experience during the growing season cause the codlemone formulation to fade out prematurely. According to the manufacturers, the codlemone dispensers are designed to meter out around 1 milligram of codlemone per day. That was not the case in southeastern Arizona.
    Over the past three years experiments have been conducted in a grower's orchard to understand this problem. At weekly intervals codlemone dispensers were removed from the orchard, weighed and analyzed with a gas chromatograph. These tests show that half way through the growing season, 70 to 90 days after hanging, there is little if any codlemone left in the black dispensers. In light of these findings, the current recommendations are to hang a full treatment of codlemone in an orchard at Biofix. Another full or half hanging, depending on codling moth pressure, is also recommended at 1,000-1,250 (GDH) after Biofix.
    A new experimental red-colored dispenser was tested this year and gave up to 120 days of protection. If properly monitored this program can reduce codling moth damage to 5%.

    COLORADO
    Project Title: Reducing chemical Inputs in Arid-Climates Through Sustainable Orchard Management
    Rick Zimmerman, Ph.D. Colorado State University
    In Colorado, HOBO weather stations were placed in 10 different apple orchards located at 10 separate geographic locations. In addition, two separate automatic weather stations were located in Cedaredge and Paonia. These two sites are approximately 30 miles apart and located in the primary apple-growing areas in western Colorado. The automatic remote weather stations have been well received in the fruit growing community. However, there have been some technical difficulties with the Paonia weather station. In 2002 the Cedaredge and Paonia weather stations became part of an already existing network of weather stations across the state of Colorado. All these stations are currently accessible via the Internet.
    This project was introduced to western Colorado growers by Dr. Al Gaus at the 1999 Western Colorado Horticultural Society meeting. In multiple Brown Bag Lunches at the Rogers Mesa Research Center growers were taught how to use climatic data to increase the effectiveness of their respective IPM programs. Workshops were initiated in the winter of 2000-2001. These workshops focused on IPM, pest management strategies, pest complexes, and available pest management tools. Four workshops were held at the Rogers Mesa Research Center. Approximately 20 growers attended each session. Farming experience among the group ranged from novice to growers with over 40 years in the fruit business. Growers drove from as far as 70 miles to attend the workshops. The SOMS Handbook was a well received by growers. In fact the workshops were so well attended we are going to expand the number of topics covered and the number of workshops offered. We are currently putting together a schedule and contacting potential speakers. We are planning on starting at the beginning of February, 2002, and holding workshops every two weeks through the spring and early summer. As we are putting together the list of topics, we are trying to keep the topics relevant to events in the field.
    The mentor program has not taken off as anticipated, probably for several reasons. A primary contributor to the failure of the mentoring program may be the poor economic condition of the apple industry, not only in Colorado, but across the United States. Of the 10 orchardists I began the study with, only 2 are still commercially active. The remaining 8 have have their orchard for sale, sold the orchard or have pushed out the apples trees.
    The growers that survive in western Colorado will be growing on small acreage and will grow a diversity of crops. This will be especially challenging for the implementation of IPM programs, which for the most part may not be adaptable to farms with small blocks of different crops.

    NEW MEXICO
    SARE 2001 Report
    NEW MEXICO - TONY VALDEZ
    Meetings and activities during 2001
    Valdez, Tony. 2001. Reducing Chemical Outputs. New Mexico Apple Council. 30 Growers in attendance.
    Collection of HOBO data on a regular basis.
    Reports derived from the HOBO data were given to seven participating growers monthly.
    The SOMS Handbook was given to 10 additional growers.
    IPM principles from the SOMS Handbook were used with seven other growers in an intensive "workshop."
    Another dozen growers were given help with IPM principles.
    A report was given to the Rio Arriba County Advisory Board on the purpose and function of the SARE Project.
    The Utah Climate Center Web Page was used intensively by the growers. After the web page was destroyed, help was obtained from other sources.
    A set of computer programs was received from James Frisby so that the data from the CRX-10 computer in the weather station could be downloaded and the necessary information about orchard phenology and insects and diseases could be derived from local data.
    Ronald Walser, new New Mexico State Extension Pomologist, will follow up with the growers in the SARE project.

    IDAHO
    Dr. Essie Fallahi, University of Idaho, Pomology Program.
    This has been one of the most successful and popular projects we have ever had. We gathered huge amounts of weather data from three weather stations and 24 HOBO (satellite stations) that we installed in the three different fruit growing areas of Idaho. This program has enabled us to determine microclimate differences in various fruit-growing areas in Idaho. We have found sometimes elevation differences of two points of the same growing area may have several degrees of temperature differences. Knowing these differences, our fruit growers have been able to make better decisions on what type of fruit to grow. For example, planting Apricot in those lower areas that traps cold air is not suitable as there would be a greater chance of early spring frost.
    We used the weather information from this project to calculate bloom dates over several seasons and use models to predict diseases and pests. Prediction of bloom dates provide an important tool to fruit growers to prepare for various cultural practices, including frost protection. The importance of this project on early spring frost prediction has been enormous.
    We have also used the weather information in scheduling for irrigation and for spraying various growth regulators.
    We have had a number of legal cases that were solved by the use of information from these stations. In these cases, we were able to present weather documents to both fruit growers and insurance companies (fruit crop insurance) and both parties were convinced and reached an agreement based on the facts shown in the weather data.
    Our graduate students, county agents, and other agribusinesses have used information from these weather station many times. In summary, fruit growers of Idaho have been well served by this project.

    UTAH
    James Frisby Interim IPM Project Leader
    The Utah IPM and SOMS program was coordinated through the IPM project leaders. Fruit Tree Pest Advisories are issued as potential problems arise throughout the fruit areas of Utah. Most growers use IPM for mite control and many use other chemical saving strategies. They use chemicals only when they are absolutely needed and then target "outbreak" areas rather than uniform applications over the entire planting. The information on Fruit Tree Pest Advisories can be seen at http://extension.usu.edu/ipm/. This site gives degree day tables, biofix dates, spray dates, current advisories, previous advisories, freeze information, weather station information, and other orchard information.

Research conclusions:

Economic Analysis

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

No economic analysis was made for this study.

Farmer Adoption

FARMER ADOPTION Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Mentoring of growers has been happening in every state. Arizona growers are in an advantageous situation because of their relative isolation and the derived ability to practice IPM in producing organically grown apples. They use codling moth mating disruption to advantage. They also use irrigation strategies that allow water conservation in their state of the art plantings. New Mexico growers are in a situation that demands conventional spraying for codling moth due to inoculation pressure. New Mexico has hired Ronald Walser, a Utah State graduate, for a new State Extension Pomologist position. New Mexico’s program will be directed by Ron in the future. Colorado has had a good IPM program running in their area. They have taken advantage of our program and more than a dozen growers have embraced the program. Unfortunately, many of the smaller growers have sold their orchards or have pulled them out due to the worldwide apple surplus that has resulted in very low prices. Some of them have gone to peaches, grapes, and other more lucrative crops. About 20% of the mentored growers have persisted in the apple business and are using our programs. Utah growers have tried codling moth mating disruption. As in New Mexico, there is just too much inoculation pressure from widely distributed backyard and wild trees for mating disruption to work. Therefore, they must use a combination of spraying and mating disruption. James Frisby has directed the IPM program in Utah between the time Michael Reding left for a position in the Midwest until Carin Miller joined the faculty as an extension IPM specialist. Carin left shortly after her arrival and James has continued the Utah IPM work through September 2002. His direction covered the 2001 and 2002 fruit seasons. James was able to successfully implement the IPM program and gave great service to Utah’s growers. In Idaho, Essie Fallahi continues to work with the growers, and they have had a successful IPM program.

The weather stations have been transferred to individual state ownership, and collaborators will work with their climate data collection experts to incorporate the stations into state networks. The satellite HOBO temperature monitors will continue to be used by individuals in the various states to compare their sites to the main weather stations or to evaluate potential sites for fruit production.

Dissemination of Findings:
Growers have been introduced to the program and many are using weather station data for their orchard operations. The program outline has been published in the Proceedings of the State Horticultural Associations and further workshops and presentations were scheduled for the 2002 meetings. The Fruit Tree Calendar concept was introduced to each group of growers who will continue their education about the project. The Utah Climate center is now programming Wintree into its database climate utilities so that all participants can obtain raw data, hourly data, daily data, and phonological information via the internet. To obtain data address climate@mendel.usu.edu and click on Interstate Orchard Project to bring up the automatic weather station data. The HI/LO information will be not be added to the site because of its volume and complexity. This information has been used advantageously by individual growers. It will also be used in further research to determine the feasibility of mapping the changes over the region in phenological development and insect and disease prediction. Most growers want only the actual weather and phonological accumulations. Predictive information will be posted on the site for downloading by individual participants.

The best dissemination has been via the Internet through the Utah Climate Center Web page. We are actively working on getting the Utah Climate Center computer Web site back on the Internet. More programming needs to be done before we will be back to where we were before the computers went down in 2001. Our goal was to be back on the Internet by February 1, 2003 so that we can serve the growers who are not running the programs on their own computers during the 2003 season.

As of September 2002 the Utah Climate Center Computer Network had not been returned to operation. This is partially due to insufficient funding by the State of Utah to carry out its legislatively mandated support for the Climate Center. Programs continue to run in the various states as individual programs as indicated above.

Potential Benefits or Impacts on Agriculture
Growers realize the importance of production efficiency in the orchard business. Fruit production today competes in a worldwide market. Present plantings in China and other countries have had significant impacts on other producers around the world. Successful growers of the future will be those who concentrate their efforts in high-density, highly productive orchards. These orchards have several advantages over low-density orchards. Such orchards, through concentrated production of 2000 to 3000 bushels per acre, make irrigation water, fertilizers, and spray chemicals go much further since these applications are made on a per-acre basis and not on a fruit volume per acre basis. Applications of codling moth control are much more efficient because they are applied at the rate of a few pounds per acre and the cost per bushel produced is much lower than it is in an ordinary low-density orchard. Concentrated applications of water and fertilizers are utilized better. Smaller farms become economical units since production can be increased greatly. A grower with 10 acres of high-density fruit can produce 20,000 to 30,000 bushels of fruit while a conventional grower may produce that quantity of fruit on 40 acres. The conventional grower must irrigate, fertilize, and spray 40 acres at a much lower efficiency. The efficiency of concentrated production is a key to orchard economy. We must continue to tell and show growers the advantages of high-density fruit production and get them to plant their future orchards in that conformation.

The education component of the program has made farmers realize they must produce apples in quantity so that they can compete on the wholesale market or that they must grow just sufficient quantities for their own retail markets. Diversification into other crops to enlarge their retail markets is also a fact of life for many of them. Peaches, grapes, and other crops are being planted. The market glut of apples, primarily due to the explosive overproduction by the Chinese - their production increased fourfold between 1990 and 2000 - has reduced the concentrate market for United States growers to zero, and has had a significant effect on the fresh apple market. When the apples that were going into concentrates in the United States were placed on the fresh market, supply and demand factors created very low prices for most apple cultivars.

Farmer Adoption and Direct Impact 1
To the present time, participants have been using data generated by the project in many ways in their operations. Essie Fallahi (Idaho) notes, “Using the HOBO (HI/LO) information and weather stations, we have examined the effectiveness of various frost control systems in Sunny Slope and Fruitland areas. We have also used it for insect and disease prediction.” A USU graduate student, Marc Anderson, has completed the first year of work on a freeze hazard prediction forecast for growers in cooperating states that will continue for another year. This is a service the government has dropped and we have picked it up to serve the growers. Marc finished his MS in 2001. The forecasts can be continued with the programs he devised. Another student is working on refinements of the programs Marc developed.

Farmer Adoption and Direct Impact 2
Farmers who are on the Internet and have information about orchard models have been using the project’s database for orchard operations. The main incorporation of our data and models into the farm scene took place during 2000 beginning in the winter with dormancy termination predictions for each farm, prediction of various stages of bloom including full bloom, prediction of foliation, summer photosynthesis, stress, and season orchard productive potential. Insect and disease models will predict potential outbreaks and give growers and mentors advance information about scouting schedules.

Reactions from Farmers and Ranchers
“This information is sure going to help us.”
“This information sure is nice.”
“… we will be able to use this information to make management decisions.”

Producer Involvement
We have approximately 25 growers involved in the project. Workshops were held in each state in the winter months of 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.

Activity and comments from various states:

New Mexico:
70 Workshop, Conference, and Field day attendees
Alcalde Sustainable Agricultural Science Center Field Day, September
New Mexico Apple Council meeting, February

Colorado:
“There has been a lot of interest in the manuals [handbooks}.”

Idaho:
“We have examined the effectiveness of various frost control systems in the Sunny Slope and Fruitland areas.”
“We have used it [the computer files in the Utah Climate Center] for …insect and disease prediction.”

Utah: 60 Utah Horticultural Association Conference attendees, 10-12 individual visits
See the Utah Climate Center for the IPM predictions of Mike Reding and James Frisby.
“The Freeze Warning System of Marc Anderson has been within just a few degrees of actual and right on in many cases. It helps.”

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:
PUBLICATIONS/OUTREACH Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Sustainable Orchard Management System for Intermountain Orchards
(Published on water resistant paper and bound in an aluminum three ring binder [100 copies for growers, numerous photocopied copies]).
Includes:
Introduction to IPM and Sustainable Orchard Management Systems.
Integrated Pest Management in Orchards
Economic Thresholds
Sustainable Orchard Management Spraying
Tree Row Volume Calibration
The Fruit Tree Calendar
How Can Fruit Growers Increase Their Income
Benefits of Orchard Ground Covers
Honeybees in the Orchard
The Blue Orchard Bee
Codling Moth Fact Sheet
Web Spinning Spider Mites Fact Sheet
European Red Mite Fact Sheet

Campylomma Bug Fact Sheet
Apple Aphid Fact Sheet
Western Flower Fact Sheet
San Jose Scale Fact Sheet
Western Tentiform Leafminer Fact Sheet
Apple Scab Fact Sheet
Fire Blight of Pears and Apples Fact Sheet
Phytophthora Crown and Collar Rot of Fruit Trees Fact Sheet
Codling Moth Sampling Form
White Apple Leafhopper Sampling Form
Campylomma Sampling Form
Western Tentiform Leafminer Sampling Form - Apple and Cherry

CD- Photos from the project - Submitted with 2000 annual report.

CD- Sustainable Orchard Management System for Intermountain Orchards. Apple IPM. SARE Western Region Project 98-058 USU - James Frisby 1/19/2001

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

Economic Analysis

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

No economic analysis was made for this study.

Farmer Adoption

FARMER ADOPTION Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Mentoring of growers has been happening in every state. Arizona growers are in an advantageous situation because of their relative isolation and the derived ability to practice IPM in producing organically grown apples. They use codling moth mating disruption to advantage. They also use irrigation strategies that allow water conservation in their state of the art plantings. New Mexico growers are in a situation that demands conventional spraying for codling moth due to inoculation pressure. New Mexico has hired Ronald Walser, a Utah State graduate, for a new State Extension Pomologist position. New Mexico’s program will be directed by Ron in the future. Colorado has had a good IPM program running in their area. They have taken advantage of our program and more than a dozen growers have embraced the program. Unfortunately, many of the smaller growers have sold their orchards or have pulled them out due to the worldwide apple surplus that has resulted in very low prices. Some of them have gone to peaches, grapes, and other more lucrative crops. About 20% of the mentored growers have persisted in the apple business and are using our programs. Utah growers have tried codling moth mating disruption. As in New Mexico, there is just too much inoculation pressure from widely distributed backyard and wild trees for mating disruption to work. Therefore, they must use a combination of spraying and mating disruption. James Frisby has directed the IPM program in Utah between the time Michael Reding left for a position in the Midwest until Carin Miller joined the faculty as an extension IPM specialist. Carin left shortly after her arrival and James has continued the Utah IPM work through September 2002. His direction covered the 2001 and 2002 fruit seasons. James was able to successfully implement the IPM program and gave great service to Utah’s growers. In Idaho, Essie Fallahi continues to work with the growers, and they have had a successful IPM program.

The weather stations have been transferred to individual state ownership, and collaborators will work with their climate data collection experts to incorporate the stations into state networks. The satellite HOBO temperature monitors will continue to be used by individuals in the various states to compare their sites to the main weather stations or to evaluate potential sites for fruit production.

Dissemination of Findings:
Growers have been introduced to the program and many are using weather station data for their orchard operations. The program outline has been published in the Proceedings of the State Horticultural Associations and further workshops and presentations were scheduled for the 2002 meetings. The Fruit Tree Calendar concept was introduced to each group of growers who will continue their education about the project. The Utah Climate center is now programming Wintree into its database climate utilities so that all participants can obtain raw data, hourly data, daily data, and phonological information via the internet. To obtain data address climate@mendel.usu.edu and click on Interstate Orchard Project to bring up the automatic weather station data. The HI/LO information will be not be added to the site because of its volume and complexity. This information has been used advantageously by individual growers. It will also be used in further research to determine the feasibility of mapping the changes over the region in phenological development and insect and disease prediction. Most growers want only the actual weather and phonological accumulations. Predictive information will be posted on the site for downloading by individual participants.

The best dissemination has been via the Internet through the Utah Climate Center Web page. We are actively working on getting the Utah Climate Center computer Web site back on the Internet. More programming needs to be done before we will be back to where we were before the computers went down in 2001. Our goal was to be back on the Internet by February 1, 2003 so that we can serve the growers who are not running the programs on their own computers during the 2003 season.

As of September 2002 the Utah Climate Center Computer Network had not been returned to operation. This is partially due to insufficient funding by the State of Utah to carry out its legislatively mandated support for the Climate Center. Programs continue to run in the various states as individual programs as indicated above.

Potential Benefits or Impacts on Agriculture
Growers realize the importance of production efficiency in the orchard business. Fruit production today competes in a worldwide market. Present plantings in China and other countries have had significant impacts on other producers around the world. Successful growers of the future will be those who concentrate their efforts in high-density, highly productive orchards. These orchards have several advantages over low-density orchards. Such orchards, through concentrated production of 2000 to 3000 bushels per acre, make irrigation water, fertilizers, and spray chemicals go much further since these applications are made on a per-acre basis and not on a fruit volume per acre basis. Applications of codling moth control are much more efficient because they are applied at the rate of a few pounds per acre and the cost per bushel produced is much lower than it is in an ordinary low-density orchard. Concentrated applications of water and fertilizers are utilized better. Smaller farms become economical units since production can be increased greatly. A grower with 10 acres of high-density fruit can produce 20,000 to 30,000 bushels of fruit while a conventional grower may produce that quantity of fruit on 40 acres. The conventional grower must irrigate, fertilize, and spray 40 acres at a much lower efficiency. The efficiency of concentrated production is a key to orchard economy. We must continue to tell and show growers the advantages of high-density fruit production and get them to plant their future orchards in that conformation.

The education component of the program has made farmers realize they must produce apples in quantity so that they can compete on the wholesale market or that they must grow just sufficient quantities for their own retail markets. Diversification into other crops to enlarge their retail markets is also a fact of life for many of them. Peaches, grapes, and other crops are being planted. The market glut of apples, primarily due to the explosive overproduction by the Chinese - their production increased fourfold between 1990 and 2000 - has reduced the concentrate market for United States growers to zero, and has had a significant effect on the fresh apple market. When the apples that were going into concentrates in the United States were placed on the fresh market, supply and demand factors created very low prices for most apple cultivars.

Farmer Adoption and Direct Impact 1
To the present time, participants have been using data generated by the project in many ways in their operations. Essie Fallahi (Idaho) notes, “Using the HOBO (HI/LO) information and weather stations, we have examined the effectiveness of various frost control systems in Sunny Slope and Fruitland areas. We have also used it for insect and disease prediction.” A USU graduate student, Marc Anderson, has completed the first year of work on a freeze hazard prediction forecast for growers in cooperating states that will continue for another year. This is a service the government has dropped and we have picked it up to serve the growers. Marc finished his MS in 2001. The forecasts can be continued with the programs he devised. Another student is working on refinements of the programs Marc developed.

Farmer Adoption and Direct Impact 2
Farmers who are on the Internet and have information about orchard models have been using the project’s database for orchard operations. The main incorporation of our data and models into the farm scene took place during 2000 beginning in the winter with dormancy termination predictions for each farm, prediction of various stages of bloom including full bloom, prediction of foliation, summer photosynthesis, stress, and season orchard productive potential. Insect and disease models will predict potential outbreaks and give growers and mentors advance information about scouting schedules.

Reactions from Farmers and Ranchers
“This information is sure going to help us.”
“This information sure is nice.”
“… we will be able to use this information to make management decisions.”

Producer Involvement
We have approximately 25 growers involved in the project. Workshops were held in each state in the winter months of 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.

Activity and comments from various states:

New Mexico:
70 Workshop, Conference, and Field day attendees
Alcalde Sustainable Agricultural Science Center Field Day, September
New Mexico Apple Council meeting, February

Colorado:
“There has been a lot of interest in the manuals [handbooks}.”

Idaho:
“We have examined the effectiveness of various frost control systems in the Sunny Slope and Fruitland areas.”
“We have used it [the computer files in the Utah Climate Center] for …insect and disease prediction.”

Utah: 60 Utah Horticultural Association Conference attendees, 10-12 individual visits
See the Utah Climate Center for the IPM predictions of Mike Reding and James Frisby.
“The Freeze Warning System of Marc Anderson has been within just a few degrees of actual and right on in many cases. It helps.”

Recommendations:

Areas needing additional study

AREAS NEEDING ADDITIONAL STUDY Sustainable Orchard Management Systems

Environmentally Friendly Codling Moth Control.

Pheromone, environmentally friendly codling moth control allows isolated areas like the southeastern Arizona apple industry and the Idaho apple industry to avoid several chemical applications. In Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico, innoculation pressure from isolated, uncared-for trees makes pheromone control difficult. Programs to remove all uncared-for trees in a fruit district could result in the use of pheromone control.

Integrated Pest Management for small, diversified fruit producers.

IPM works well on large blocks located in large fruit growing districts. When small farmers diversify their plantings, IPM becomes more difficult because of the need to track so many insect and disease problems associated with each crop. These producers are economically viable and they need help in coordinating their IPM efforts.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.