- Fruits: berries (blueberries)
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: display, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns, value added
- Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration, biodiversity, grass waterways, habitat enhancement, indicators, soil stabilization, wildlife
- Pest Management: biological control, botanical pesticides, chemical control, competition, cultural control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mulches - living, physical control, cultivation, precision herbicide use, prevention, trap crops, traps, mulching - vegetative, weather monitoring, weed ecology
- Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture
- Soil Management: earthworms, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: social capital, sustainability measures
BY INSTALLING NATIVE WILDFLOWER STRIPS WE WOULD LIKE TO ENHANCE NATIVE POLLINATORS AND NATURAL ENEMIES ON BLUEBERRY FARMS THAT ARE NOW AT GREATER RISK DUE TO INCREASED CHEMICAL INTERVENTIONS FOR CONTROLLING SPOTTED WING DROSOPHILA, AN INVASIVE INSECT PEST. 1
Project objectives from proposal:
Research at Michigan State University has established that native wildflower planting strips can increase native pollinators and natural enemies on blueberry farms with good IPM management (Walton and Isaacs, 2011). However, the arrival of spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, an invasive insect pest, has caused growers to abandon IPM programs and revert back to calendar based, broad-spectrum insecticide spraying (Van Timmeren and Isaacs, 2013). Not only is this an economic hardship, but also a potential environmental stress on native bees and natural enemies in these critical spray areas.The intent of this study is to address the need to provide refuges for native insects outside of the critical spray area in the field with native wildflower plantings.
The intent of this project is to show that promoting populations of beneficial insects while successfully fighting spotted wing drosophila will require the creation of safe nesting habitats and a constant food supply for native beneficial pollinators and insects. Based on research at MSU (Blaauw and Isaacs, 2012), we feel that these areas would be best located near the critical growing area but outside of the spray zone.
The project will first determine the number and variety of the native pollinators and beneficial insects at both farms. Once the baseline data has been determined, native wildflower strips will be planted at the center of farm A around an irrigation pond. This central location will allow pollinators and beneficial insects to have a safe refuge from insecticides and easy access to all fields. At farm B, no wildflower strips will be planted so that a control for the study is available. At both farms, a survey of the number and variety of native pollinators and beneficial insects will be done during bloom and once per month until the end of harvest. In addition, at farm A, a comparison of number and variety of native pollinators and beneficial insects will be studied between fields closest to the wildflower strip and those farthest from it.
We expect to show that providing wildflower strips will sustain or promote populations of native pollinators and beneficial insects despite the dangers to them associated with an increase in the use of calendar-based spraying.
Secondary to this goal, is the hope that promotion of native populations will allow the farmer to use fewer broad- spectrum insecticides when spotted wing drosophila is not active in the fields. Not only will this be environmentally beneficial, it may be economically advantageous to growers if they can spend less money on chemical insect protection outside of the spotted wing drosophila window of activity.