- Fruits: apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums
- Crop Production: biological inoculants, application rate management
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, agricultural finance
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
- Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, chemical control, eradication, integrated pest management, mating disruption, traps
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
Abstract – Pome and stone fruits are among the most economically important crops grown in Pennsylvania and the Northeast. With the continuous process of replacing older, less intensive plantings with high density orchards on dwarf rootstocks it become very important that new plantings be protected from injuries caused by various pests including borers. While the increased reliance on reduced-risk insecticides and other selective/biological controls are widely adopted for pest control, the current borer control methods depend primarily on the use of older organo-phosphate insecticides and to a much lesser extent on utilization of mating disruption (MD) practices. This research and educational project will evaluate the best way to use entomopathogenic nematodes and mating disruption for borer control in orchards located at grower farms, and then after comparing the efficacies and associated economic constraints, the project will encourage/enlist growers into the adaptation portion of the project. The continuous inputs /feedback from the stakeholders/participants will be crucial for the project success. Effective and economically viable programs identified by the research part of this project will be delivered to the Pennsylvania and other Northeast fruit industries using multiple education programs. The owners of the orchards where the research part of the project will be conducted will be the initial evaluators of the project practicality and their comments will be utilized in developing educational materials. Results of the project will provide directions for growers on the best ways of adopting procedures and replacement of chemical methods. As a result of field demonstrations, presentations and publication of educational materials at least 30 new growers will incorporate mating disruption and entomopathogenic nematodes as primary tools for borer control.
Performance targets from proposal:
Performance Target – experimental/research: Document the field effectiveness of mating disruption and entomopathogenic nematodes for the control of wood boring insects as well as develop the best practical methods to incorporate those techniques into pest control practices.
Research Target – The results of the applied treatments will serve as the evidence of program success (short term effect). Tests will provide directions for growers on the best ways of adopting procedures. The decrease in borer populations will be evident in nematode/MD treated blocks (long term effect). During the second year of the project borer control will be sufficient to eliminate the need for additional treatments (i.e., insecticides).
Performance Target – educational: As a result of field demonstrations, presentations and publication of educational materials at least 30 new growers will incorporate mating disruption and entomopathogenic nematodes as primary tools for borer control.
Educational Target – Published factsheet, guidelines and on-site demonstrations will assist growers in application of this strategy for borers control on their farms. Growers will continue to use nematodes and mating as part of their borer control strategy.
Implementation and Evaluation Plans: The aim of this project is to increase reliance on non-pesticidal methods (entomopathogenic nematodes) for borer control, and consequently reduce the use of the high risk compounds. The measurable impacts and outcomes resulting from achieving this aim will be 1) a 50% increase in the use of mating disruption for year 3 of the project, 2) adoption of entomopathogenic nematodes and accompanying elimination of the use of insecticides for borer control by at least 30 growers, 3) an increase in worker safety on at least 1000 acres by switching from the use of insecticides to pheromones and/or nematodes. Pre- and post- program surveys will be conducted to document implementations goals of the project.