Wisconsin's Eco-apple Sustainable Apple Production, Education - Outreach: Bridging the Gap

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $14,877.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Michelle Miller
University of WI - CIAS

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: apples, cherries, general tree fruits


  • Crop Production: application rate management, tissue analysis
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, study circle, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, risk management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: indicators, wildlife
  • Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, chemical control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mating disruption, weather monitoring
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic, agroecosystems
  • Soil Management: composting, soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: social networks, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Currently, the single biggest obstacle to success in the apple industry's efforts to reduce pesticide risk is the lack of coaching and coordinating resources for apple growers in Wisconsin. The limited number of people available to provide IPM coaching, combined with great distances between growers, presents a daunting challenge to reducing economic risk to growers when implementing advanced IPM strategies. Thirteen apple growers tested the eco-apple production standards for the 2004-2005 growing season and realized a 14% increase in IPM adoption and 44% decrease in pesticide risk. As the growing standards are refined, the eco-apple project team, proposes to educate University of Wisconsin Extension horticultural agents in apple producing counties. The team includes growers, private consultants, UWEX and UW faculty, and others.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Conduct three interactive workshops to train county-based Extension educators. The first two training sessions are proposed to occur during year one. The first training session will be a description of the development of the eco-apple standard: to include the validation of certain growing practices, the explanation of the pesticide risk reduction index and the effects and application of softer chemistries utilized in sustainable apple production. The second meeting during year one will be an in-orchard field day to demonstrate first-hand sustainable apple production. The remaining meeting during year two will be used to demonstrate the pesticide risk reduction and the IPM implementation which can occur during one year in an orchard utilizing the eco-apple sustainable production standards. In order to evaluate growing practices throughout Wisconsin, all three meetings will be held at different locations.

    This project team would like to provide UW extension agents with a compilation of training materials to reference for sustainable apple production.

    Short term
    · Introduce horticultural agents to sustainable growing practices for apple production
    · Explain the eco-apple risk reduction standards and how to become a resource for growers on how to achieve these standards
    · Increase communication with current researchers to address the needs of horticulture agents in their respective geographic areas

    Long term outcomes of the project
    · Strengthen the information channels between the apple industry

    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.