- Fruits: apples, general tree fruits
- Animals: bees
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, extension, focus group
- Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, chemical control, cultural control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mating disruption, traps, weather monitoring
- Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities, sustainability measures
Site specific monitoring by properly trained scouts is paramount to implementing holistic apple management systems, but a shortage of these professionals is an impediment to wide-scale adoption of sustainable practices. Training is needed that approximates hands-on field experience and that enables new scouts to see the changes that occur in orchard pest management over a complete growing season. This program developed a 90 minute DVD concerning all aspects of apple orchard scouting that will be beneficial in reaching an audience that learns best through seeing and hearing physical demonstrations of information. These materials will allow scouts to go out on their own sooner with more confidence and ability.
Rapid changes are occurring in apple pest management systems in the Great Lakes region. Novel technologies and control tactics that de-emphasize broad-spectrum pesticide use, while advancing sustainable agricultural practices, are making management systems more complex and information-intensive. Concurrently, the development of new pest monitoring devices, protocols, and economic treatment thresholds is continually evolving.
A program of regular orchard scouting is the cornerstone of pest management decision-making in any sustainable apple production system (Samson 1987, Ferrentino 1992, Higley and Pedigo 1993, Zalom 1993). Pest management decision-making based on orchard ecology includes site specific information on key pests and beneficials, and tree phenology and health. Growers and agricultural consultants need to be updated on recent advances.
Recruitment and training of new scouts is also an ongoing process. Each year, the need for trained scouts far exceeds the availability of such individuals. Scouting is seasonal work requiring long hours during the growing season, with periods of unemployment during the winter months. High employee turnover plagues the industry, and the need exists to train new scouts yearly. Manuals and pest identification guides are useful, necessary tools for training scouts, but most professionals agree that actual field experience is the most effective teaching method. Unfortunately, learning the vast complex of arthropod and disease pests found in Great Lakes region apple orchards cannot be accomplished in one, two, or even several trips through an orchard. Living biological systems change with time over the growing season.
Training is needed that approximates hands-on field experience and that enables new scouts to see the changes that occur in orchard pest management over a complete growing season. The DVD this program developed will be beneficial in reaching out to an audience that learns best through seeing and hearing physical demonstrations of information. These materials will allow scouts to go out on their own sooner with more confidence and ability to assist in making environmentally and ecologically sound management decisions.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
Objective 1: Utilize a grower/consultant/research/extension advisory panel to develop a state of the art, educational training program in sustainable pest management for apple growers and the agricultural professionals who assist them in managing their farm enterprises. This will include the design and production of a training video for use by growers, consultants, scouts, and input supply company field staff. On-farm video footage will include identification of key pests and beneficials and appropriate monitoring protocols. Identification of pest damage to the apple fruit, foliage, wood, and roots will be included. Professional video and sound technicians will be hired for the production process.
Objective 2: Conduct workshops utilizing the new educational resource materials for the grower/industry community. The video will be available for use at educational workshops, extension libraries, classroom settings, and for recruitment and training of new consultants/scouts. The video will be evaluated through a series of workshops.