- Fruits: berries (blueberries)
- Crop Production: biological inoculants, crop rotation, foliar feeding, application rate management, tissue analysis
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, whole farm planning
- Pest Management: chemical control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, mating disruption, traps
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic, holistic management
- Soil Management: soil analysis, soil chemistry
Blueberries are produced in ecologically sensitive areas on porous soils with high water tables, and have a zero tolerance for many pests, resulting in significant pesticide use. While growers have embraced integrated pest management concepts, actual practices result in overuse of pesticides and fertilizers based on limited information of actual needs. This multi-state (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland), multi-disciplinary (entomology, pathology, weed science, agricultural economics) project will partner research, extension, and agency personnel with growers and industry to develop, implement, help deliver, and achieve adoption of sustainable spatially based whole-farm Integrated Crop Management (ICM) programs in Highbush blueberries in the Northeast US. ICM programs will use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to reduce pesticide applications, improve pesticide and fertilizer recommendations, reduce management costs, and increase adoption of reduced-risk practices. The implementation of ICM programs will be measured by changes in pest populations and pesticide costs, and by the ecological impact on natural enemies. Adoption of ICM programs and reduced-risk practices will be achieved through an innovative educational program directed to at least 60 growers from NJ, PA, and MD that will include grower participation, presentations at stakeholder meetings, on-farm demonstrations, and training programs. Outcomes will be presented in newsletters, fact sheets, reports, and a project website. At the end of 3 years we expect at least 20 (of more than 60) growers to implement two or more ICM-based practices. This project will contribute to the Northeastern SARE outcome statement of demonstrating effectiveness of environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternatives to pesticides.
Performance targets from proposal:
Twenty blueberry farmers will adopt two or more ICM-based practices that include: whole-farm monitoring, the reduction or elimination of organophosphates and carbamate insecticides, reduction of fungicide use, reducing general pesticide use, increased use of alternative practices such as border treatments and mating disruption, and minimizing fertilizer use while maintaining or increasing fruit yield and quality, and minimizing input costs. Eight growers will adopt GIS-based whole-farm crop management practices, and function as educators for over 60 other growers about such practices. Project duration: 3 years.