Providing Farmers with New Brassica Species - Management Options of Flea Beetles for Expanding Markets in Mass. - Conn.
Forty farmers in Massachusetts and Connecticut were given seed, production, and marketing information for new brassica species. A website was created that had information on the main types of brassica given to cooperating farmers. Farmers were visited on a regular basis to address production issues. Replicated trials were implemented at three sites to evaluate management options for flea beetle control on brassica species. Preliminary data shows that several treatments appeared to suppress flea beetle damage to varying degrees. Row cover was the most effective, and Komatsuna grown under sealed covers exhibited little to no damage.
Of the 50 farmers who participate in testing new brassica species for their markets, 25 will have added at least one new species into their rotation. Twelve farmers will participate in on-farm trials for flea beetle management, and seven will incorporate one or more of these management options. Flea beetle management will have improved for these farmers, either allowing them to grow brassica crops earlier in the spring than they did before, or reducing flea beetle damage so that less product is lost.
Cultivars of different brasscia crops were given to 40 farmers in Massachusetts and Connecticut to trial on their farms and in their markets. In each case, growers were canvassed to ascertain which brassica species they have grown on their farm with the objective of allowing growers to trial varieties new to their operation. Farmers were given seed from the list in Table 1 (Appendix). Each farmer produced and marketed the crops according to his or her own operation.
UMass Nutrition Educators researched, tested and developed nutritionally balanced recipes using the target brassica species at selected markets. It was not uncommon for the farmers to sell out of the crop featured in the cooking demonstration (see appendix for sample recipe). Each recipe has been translated into Vietnamese, Chinese (Cantonese), Khmer, and Spanish. In addition, advertisements were placed in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian language newspapers (see appendix). A meeting of the cooperating growers is scheduled for February where we will hear direct input on all aspects of the project. This information will be used to plan for the 2002 field season.
A replicated trial was implemented to evaluate both synthetic and organic options for managing this important pest. The crucifer variety used in this trial is ‘Komatsuna’ (Brassica rapa perviridis group). Komatsuna was chosen on the basis of its flat leaf surface, and its known susceptibility to flea beetle damage. The ten treatments used were as follows: control, vacuuming, row cover, neem (Ecozin 3%), pyrethrin (Pyganic EC 1.4), carbaryl (Sevin XLR Plus), spinosad (Spintor 2SC), indoxycarb (Avaunt), imidacloprid (Admire), and kaolin (Surround). The row cover was applied prior to seed germination, vacuuming was done twice per week, and the imidacloprid was applied as a post-seeding drench. The remaining treatments were applied to foliage once per week, following recommended label rates.
Preliminary data shows that several treatments appeared to suppress flea beetle damage to varying degrees (Figure 1 – appendix). Row cover was the most effective, and Komatsuna grown under sealed covers exhibited little to no damage. Carbaryl and spinosad provided some suppression. Imidacloprid, indoxycarb and kaolin also provided some suppression, but to a lesser degree than the spinosad or the carbaryl. Both neem and pyrethrin appeared to encourage flea beetle damage. Vacuuming was effective on young plants, but as the plants matured the process of vacuuming resulted in extensive damage to the leaves, and was ineffective at removing flea beetles.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Forty growers received seed, production, and marketing information on new brassica for their farms
Information was learned about management practices flea beetle in brassica