- Agronomic: potatoes
- Vegetables: peppers, sweet corn
- Education and Training: demonstration, mentoring, workshop
- Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, traps
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
Numerous research and demonstration trials have shown that releases of the parasitic wasp Trichogramma ostriniae (T.ost) can be effective management strategy for European corn borer control in sweet corn, peppers, and potatoes. It is time to put the use of T.ost into the hands of farmers. Organic farmers, farmers who do not use conventional insecticides, and high-level IPM adopters all stand to benefit from using T.ost releases as all or part of their ECB management strategy, through reduced crop damage, reduced use of insecticides, or both. Growers who are trying T.ost for the first time benefit from technical support to help make the decisions needed to get good results. An understanding of pest and beneficial biology, crop phenology, and proper release rates is needed, as well as the organizational skills to make decisions, order and release wasps, and monitor success in a timely manner. We will work closely with a minimum of 30 farmers growing sweet corn, peppers, and/or potatoes in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Project staff will visit collaborating farmers each week to work with farmers to track crop phenology, decide on wasp needs for the following week, and decide where and how the releases will take place. Wasps will be supplied by the project for the first year, with farmers sharing costs the second year. Wasp rearing and distribution are in the process of being commercialized. Our goal is to have 25 of the 30 collaborating farmers use T.ost on their own during the third year of the project. Results from this and other projects involving Trichogramma releases will be presented at on-farm and winter meetings, with a goal of recruiting an additional 15 farmers to try T.ost releases on their own.
Performance targets from proposal:
Of the 35 growers who collaborate with the project during the two years of demonstrations, 25 will purchase and release T. ostriniae for European corn borer control on their own during the third year. Of these growers, 20 will report at least two of the following changes with respect to sweet corn, pepper or potato: improved harvest quality or yield; reduced use of insecticide applications for European corn borer control; reduced labor, fuel, or other costs associated with European corn borer control; increased crop acreage; increased net income; improved customer satisfaction; reductions in European corn borer moth trap captures or infestations compared to previous seasons; increased integration of sweet corn as a rotation crop into vegetable/cover crop rotation plan.
Fifteen growers (of 150) who attend twilight or winter meetings will try T. ostriniae on their farm.