The purpose of this project is to conduct on-farm trials of biological and microbial control of swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii). Swede midge (SM) affects cruciferous plants such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and many more. Cruciferous crops make up a significant portion of the yearly harvest from Northeastern vegetable and diversified farms. In total, crucifers make up 6% of the total harvested vegetable acreage within the region covering over 16,000 acres. The objective of this project is to find a sustainable method to decrease the incidence of damage and reduce yield loss associated with SM. To accomplish this, Scott Lewins and Victor Izzo from the University of Vermont and I will test the field efficacy of two types of regionally adapted (RA) entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs), S. feltiae, and H. bacteriophorasoil applications, and the efficacy of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) as management for SM. The Bti product is Gnatrol manufactured by Valent. The EPNs will be applied as a soil drench. The Gnatrol will be applied as a foliar spray. This project will take place from February 2018 to May 2019 when soil samples will be collected to analyze the entomopathogenic nematode persistence through the winter.
Following the completion of the study, we will present findings at the NOFA VT Winter Conference as well as at the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association Annual Meeting in January 2019. Scott Lewins and Victor Izzo will present the findings at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
Project objectives from proposal:
The purpose of this project is to help find an effective organic control for SM.
The objective of this research project is to determine if regionally adapted (RA) entomopathogenic nematode EPN strains and Bti will provide efficacy for swede midge (SM) and to determine whether one of these controls works better than the other or if they will need to be applied together.
If we determine that these controls are effective, it will provide economic benefit to farmers who have experienced crop loss due to swede midge damage and mitigate the spread of these insects to unaffected regions.