- Fruits: apples, cherries, grapes, pears, general tree fruits
- Nuts: almonds
- Crop Production: application rate management
- Education and Training: extension, networking, workshop
Nationally, there is a significant programmatic gap in spray application technology education in perennial crops that limits adoption of new, safer, more efficient pesticide application technologies and practices. We proposed to create a national network of trained extension personnel to deliver to growers and consultants, research-based information on newer technologies and reinforce the fundamentals of safe, effective pesticide delivery.
This project had two main activities: 1) train educators working as Extension faculty and crop consultants, and 2) disseminate information to producers so that they improve their spray applications. Over the course of the entire project, we conducted two train-the-trainer courses at Cornell University and developed educational material. Educational material developed by participants for use in producer training is currently shared via Google Drive. Each of the training classes were expected to conduct eight educational events in their local area. We have far surpassed this goal, as detailed in our ‘Accomplishments’ and ‘Impacts’.
At the project’s end, a significant, national programmatic gap will be bridged and agricultural spray application education improved, benefiting agricultural producers, pesticide handlers and farm workers, the environment and local communities.
The goal of this project was to set U.S. deciduous tree and vine growers solidly on a path towards more effective, more efficient, and safer spray application programs. Successful completion of our extension project will improve grower profitability by lowering production costs and improving pest management while reducing pesticide loss from the farm. To reach our goals we will:
- Establish a national spray application work group (SAWG) and connect members to ensure the SAWG is sustained after the grant ends.
- Increase grower and custom-sprayer operator awareness of practices and technologies that improve spray application efficiency, efficacy, and reduce off-farm pesticide movement due to drift and runoff.
- Increase adoption of best practices and technologies that improve spray application efficiency and reduce drift and runoff.
In years one and two, we conducted a train-the-trainer courses to develop a Spray Application Working Group (SAWG). Each train-the-trainer workshop trained eight educators working as Extension faculty, teachers, or crop consultants. Each cohort of trainees was to offer at least one workshop or training opportunity to growers highlighting the best management practices of spray application technology. Through trainings, we expected to directly engage 800 growers annually. Over the course of years 1-3, a minimum of 4 extension publications, presentations, or trade journal articles were to be created to aid in grower education. Collaboration and co-authorship among extension faculty was expected so that lasting relationships are built. Through shared training and development of materials, a larger network of trained professionals was created. The train-the-trainer workshops success was measured by a 75% improvement in educators’ knowledge and ability to conduct additional educational events.