Conservation and Augmentative Biological Control in the Northern Plains – Providing Tools for Agriculture Professionals
Biological control is an area of pest management in which the Northern Plains agricultural producers and others need training to keep up with rapidly developing technology. The purpose of this project is to build agricultural professional understanding of biocontrol techniques in order to incorporate them into current integrated pest management (IPM) programs, and ultimately mitigate environmental pressure from the use of conventional insecticides. This three-phase training proposal will cover the implementation of biocontrol (conservation and augmentation) in crop production systems in the Northern Plains. Objective 1 Course Development: Over 18 months, biocontrol methods will be implemented for the control of insect pests (Wheat Stem Sawfly, Wireworms, Orange Wheat Blossom Midge, Flea beetles, Diamondback Moth, etc.), and weeds (Spotted Knap Weed, Salt Cedar, Purple Loosestrife, and Houndstongue). Photos of biocontrol agents, pest damage symptoms and weed species, as well as release schedules will be collected and developed into an instruction manual: Implementation of Biological Control of Major Insect Pests and Weeds in Northern Plains. Objective 2 Instruction: For four months (about 160 hours), 20 ag professionals will be instructed about biocontrol of pests using materials developed in Objective 1. Objective 3 Training Workshop and Evaluation: The Principle Investigator, agricultural professionals and project coordinators will host a field day for growers and the general public. Two months after the field day, the agricultural professionals will meet to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the project and to evaluate long-term gains in their knowledge of biological control methods.
The first objective is the development of teaching materials for biocontrol in the Northern Plains. Course materials will be assembled from past and current research at Western Triangle Ag Research Center and published information from across the Northern Plains region. Study crops, pests and biocontrol agents will be evaluated and their impacts will be documented for later inclusion in the educational materials. All educational materials will be incorporated in to a bound training manual and a web based digital archive for ag professionals.
Main activities: Photograph biocontrol agents, pest damage, and related material for inclusion in the training manual (October 2015 to September 2016)
Pest survey and evaluation of biocontrol agents vs. insects pests and weeds (April 2016 to June 2016)
Development of rearing techniques and data collection (May to September 2016)
Incorporate the use of biocontrol agents in integrated control program (January to June 2017)
Print training manual (October 2016 to March 2017)
The following activities were performed during the Western SARE-Professional Development Project.
Implementation of Biological Control of Major Insect Pests and Weeds in Northern Plains
The Professional Development Program (PDP) of the USDA-WSARE workshop on “Biological Control in the Northern Plains: Providing Tools for Agriculture Professionals”, (45 participants attended), Best Western Plus Heritage Inn, Great Falls, MT, March 1-2, 2016. List of Attendees; Pictures of the Western SARE PDP workshop.
Field Day (attended 150 participants), MSU Western Triangle Ag Research Center, Conrad, MT, June 23, 2016.
Field Day (attended 110 participants), MSU Western Triangle Ag Research Center, Conrad, MT, July 17th 2015.
Chair, Symposium on the “Application of Entomopathogenic Nematodes in IPM”, Eighth International Integrated Pest Management Symposium, (50 participants attended), Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, March 23–26, 2015.
Coordinator, Agronomy College-Basic Entomology Course (20 participants), MSU-Western Triangle Ag Research Center, Conrad, MT, February 04, 2015.
Invited guest speaker, Pulse Insect Pests and Their Management, 120 participants attended, Hill County Extension, Havre, MT, January 13, 2017. (http://agresearch.montana.edu/wtarc/fielddays-pdf/HillCountyExtention.pdf)
Speaker, Cropping seminars, Shelby, MT, Integrated Pest Management Updates in the Golden Triangle Areas of Montana, 40 participants attended, January 10, 2017.
Attended and given feedback during the Pulse Crop Pest Management Strategic Planning Workshop, Bozeman, MT, 35 participants attended, November 9˗10, 2016
Presenter, Western Triangle Ag Research Center-Insect and crop updates, (organized by Harvey Hollandsworth Enterprises), Knees School, 25 participants attended, Montana, March 10, 2016.
Given talk on the entomology research work at Western Triangle Ag Research Center to the Glacier County Growers Field Day (Glacier County Conservation District), Cut Bank, MT, 30 participants attended, July 28th, 2015.
Presenter, Knees area field day, 25 participants attended, June 25th, 2015.
Presenter, Alternative Crop Entomology Program, Kremlin, MT, 35 participants attended, June 23rd, 2015.
MSU Ag. Alerts, Canola Flea Beetle Damaging Canola (June 10, 2015), http://www.mtagalert.org/
Traders Dispatch, Watch out for a new pest in Montana – pea weevil, September 2016.
Entomology Today, Ten Habits of Highly Successful Entomologists, August 3, 2016, https://entomologytoday.org/2016/08/03/ten-habits-of-highly-successful-entomologists/
Traders Dispatch, Parasitoids to manage wheat midge continues in Montana during 2016, July 2016.
Traders Dispatch, WTARC Field Day, July 2016.
Shelby Promoter, WTARC Field Day offers areas producer’s immersive experience, June 29, 2016.
Traders Dispatch, Montana Statewide wheat midge monitoring continues, May 2016.
KRTV News, Agricultural professionals learning about biological controls, March 01, 2016.
Prairie Star (Interviewed by Sue Roesler, Writer for The Prairie Star), Bioinsecticides, drought, drowning all could attack wheat stem sawfly, February 05, 2016.
Traders Dispatch, Grant obtained to conduct research on pea leaf weevil, January, 2016, Page C59.
Prairie Star (Interviewed by Sue Roesler, Writer for The Prairie Star), Winter doesn’t stop WTARC fight against sawfly, December 11, 2015.
Independent Observer, Research efforts to control insect pests after harvest, October 29, 2015
Great Falls Tribune, Montana wheat crop a mixed bag, June 15, 2015
The Western Producer, Wheat midge predators find new home in Montana (U.S. researchers collect parasitoid wasps during Sask. Field trip), August 7th, 2015, 4p.
Prairie Star (Interviewed by Sue Roesler, Writer for The Prairie Star), North Dakota, Montana producers report canola flea beetles emerging, June 26, 2015, page 32.
Lectures and Conference Presentations
Reddy, G.V.P. 2016. W3185: 2015 Annual Meeting, Biological Control in Pest Management Systems of Plants, Glenwood Springs, October 05–07, 2016
Reddy, G.V.P. 2016. XXV International Congress of Entomology/67th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Orlando, FL, September 25–30, 2016.
Reddy, G.V.P. 2016. Annual Meeting of the Microbial Control of Insect Pests (S1052), Orlando, FL, September 24, 2016.
Reddy, G.V.P. 2016. 56th Annual Meeting of the Weed Science Society of America, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 08–11, 2016.
Reddy, G.V.P. 2015. 66th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN, November 15–18, 2015.
Reddy, G.V.P. 2015. Annual Meeting of the Microbial Control of Insect Pests (S1052), Minneapolis, MN, November 14th, 2015.
Reddy, G.V.P. 2015. W3185: 2015 Annual Meeting, Biological Control in Pest Management Systems of Plants, Chico Hot Springs, October 26–28, 2015.
Reddy, G.V.P., F.B. Antwi, G. Shrestha, and T. Kuriwada. 2016. Evaluation of toxicity of biorational insecticides against larvae of the alfalfa weevil. Toxicology Reports 3: 473–480.
Antwi F.B. and G.V.P. Reddy. 2016. Efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes and sprayable polymer gel against crucifer flea beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) on canola. Journal of Economic Entomology 109: 1706–1712.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Based on my interactions with the Agricultural professionals and Speakers (Evaluations (Speakers), they are greatly benefited with the workshop and teaching manual and materials. Based on the workshop evaluations, the Ag Professionals learned the biology, ecology and biological control methods of important insect pests on wheat, barley, canola peas, lentils, and invasive plant species in Montana. The pests include wheat stem sawfly, wire worms, canola flea beetle, cabbage seedpod weevil, cereal leaf beetle, pea leaf weevil and others. Similarly, the attendees also acquired knowledge about plant invasive species and biological control methods for Spotted Knap Weed, Salt Cedar, Purple Loosestrife, and Houndstongue. Also, they learned about entomopathogens including, Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium brunneum and predatory nematodes. The mass rearing methods for the insect parasitoids, , Bracon cephi and Bracon lissogaster, Macroglenes penetrans and Platygaster tuberosula was taught to the Ag Professionals. It is expected that Ag. Professionals will transfer all the knowledge and methods to the growers during the country extension education programs.
Approximately, 25-40% of the attendees for the field days and presentations at all other events were Ag. Professionals. Rest of them were stakeholders, farmers and general public.