Delivery of Biological Control Information and Technology in Florida

Project Overview

ES01-055
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $49,919.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $44,030.00
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:
James Cuda
University of Florida

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Agronomic: cotton, peanuts, potatoes, rice, soybeans, sugarcane, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: avocados, bananas, berries (other), citrus, grapes, melons, peaches, plums, berries (strawberries)
  • Nuts: pecans
  • Vegetables: cabbages, eggplant
  • Additional Plants: tobacco, herbs, native plants, ornamentals
  • Animals: bees, bovine, poultry, swine, fish
  • Animal Products: dairy

Practices

  • Animal Production: manure management, range improvement, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, feasibility study, risk management
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, wetlands
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, chemical control, competition, cultural control, disease vectors, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mating disruption, physical control, mulching - plastic, precision herbicide use, prevention, trap crops, weather monitoring, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture, sustainability measures

    Abstract:

    The Integrated Pest Management/Biological Control (IPM/BC) program at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) delivered practical training in biological control and IPM as the preferred pest management strategy. This program improved the knowledge base of extension professionals by developing and implementing in-service training programs in biological control techniques and IPM protocols for conventional and organic growers, Master Gardeners and other pest consultants. The program developed educational materials for training extension professionals and producers on the biology and appropriate use of natural enemies and antagonists, and it furnished demonstration projects in the proper use of biological control agents. This program supported and drew from other existing State Major Programs.

    Project objectives:

    BEHAVIOR-BASED OBJECTIVES (AS LISTED IN PROPOSAL)

    1. Assist county faculty / mentoring groups in delivering information - synthesize, evaluate, integrate and apply information in support of county faculty; help identify audiences and technical needs; organize pertinent literature; describe biological control / IPM projects in the counties, successful and unsuccessful; and increase State Major Program (SMP) impact and efficiency.

    2. Link extension specialists and researchers with county extension faculty - list SMP members; identify expertise on specific crops, pests and natural enemies; form multi-institutional partnerships for research and teaching; coordinate resources and expertise; establish goals, determine resource needs, monitor implementation, evaluate outcomes; and conduct annual meetings.

    3. Enhance teaching of biological control / IPM - deliver training to county extension faculty, provide slide sets and PowerPoint presentations of pests and associated natural enemies, develop and disseminate other educational materials, and encourage team teaching.

    4. Establish and maintain a biological control / IPM website - establish a listserv to facilitate and increase communication; maintain linkages to county, state, national and international IPM programs, and connect with Pest Alert, Featured Creatures, School IPM and other local sources of information. The website also will be a portal to relevant IFAS web-based information systems such as the Electronic Digital Information Source (EDIS), the Distance Diagnostic Information System (DDIS), and the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) (UF-IFAS 1999).

    5. Advance commercial biological control / IPM in Florida - Increase opportunities for biological control business in Florida, encourage technology transfer and natural enemy production and supply within the state, provide access to the greater biological control community, assist with regulatory process for importation and release of beneficial living organisms, and interface with county and state IPM programs.

    6. Determine educational and technical needs and opportunities for biological control and IPM - conduct strategic planning and establish shared objectives for targeted pests, identify promising natural enemies, and make rapid progress in solving problems of Florida's agricultural and non-agricultural clientele.

    EXPECTED OUTCOMES

    Developing effective training in biological control for IPM programs requires dedicated extension professionals and willing and cooperative growers. In order to succeed, growers must realize that implementing biological control as part of an IPM program is a more complex endeavor than simply treating pests when they occur. Therefore, the goals of this project are to:

    a. Improve the understanding and appreciation of biological control and pesticide alternatives in the farming, gardening, natural resources and urban communities;

    b. Reduce reliance on pesticides through the increased adoption of biological control and pesticide alternatives;

    c. Develop an effective network of extension specialists, county faculty, and mentoring farmers dedicated to delivering biological control technology within the context of IPM to user groups;

    d. Incorporate this pilot training program into the curriculum for the new Doctor of Plant Medicine degree program recently created at the University of Florida, and

    e. If the project is successful in Florida, partner with the newly established regional Pest Management Center located in Florida to implement the training program in other southern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    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.