Sustainable pest management in high tunnel winter greens production

2011 Annual Report for LNE10-302

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $79,668.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Judson Reid
Cornell Vegetable Program

Sustainable pest management in high tunnel winter greens production


In the first full year of the project 5 farmers hosted on-farm trials, with an average financial increase of $573.69 from previous year’s gross after program exposure. These farmers implanted natural pest management techniques promoted by the project such as crop rotation, scouting, organic pesticides, and variety selection. Our results were shared with growers and educators in a series of 3 meetings and a 4 part-print series. 3 winter meetings were scheduled for 2011 and 1 poster was submitted for display at an organic farming research symposium.

Objectives/Performance Targets

20 high tunnel growers to adopt biological or biorational control methods to manage pests of cool season greens gaining $2000 of marketable product per season.


In 2011 progress was made by implementing controls on cooperating farms, sharing success stories with farmers and educators, making numerous farm visits to develop grower competency and the continual recruitment of new cooperating farms.

Our projected Milestones for 2011 and actual accomplishments:

“Educational meetings reach 150 growers; introduce economic benefits of cool season vegetable crops and biological control.”
A session at the Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo reached 50 growers
A presentation at the Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group reached 30 extension professionals
A presentation at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Ag Inservice reached 15 extension proessionals
A 4-part series of articles in the VedgeEdge weekly newsletter reached over 250 readers

“4 on-site grower trials (monitored bi-weekly), technician collects aphid numbers, aphid predation data.”
5 farms cooperated with trials, and were monitored bi-weekly. The pest spectrum was widened from just aphids to also include whiteflies, thrips and slugs. 3 of the cooperating farms had pest levels sufficient to implement controls.

“4 Farmers provide percent marketable (clean) crop, and yield in pounds”
5 farmers provided percent marketable (clean) crop, and yield in pounds for 2009/10 and 2010/11 growing seasons. The project team overhauled the evaluation process to collect more data on metrics such as economics and social factors.

“Above data used to narrow effective treatments promoted.”
Indeed success stories from the cooperating farms were the centerpiece of the above listed educational efforts (see attached ppt file).

“On-farm meetings at 2 collaborating farms demonstrate methods to 80 growers.”
One in 2010, none yet in 2011.

“Site visits to 15 entry-level growers.”
Site visits were made to 12 growers in 2011, most at a beginning stage
A major impact on progress in 2011 was the medical leave of the project’s field technician in July. She is scheduled to return in January 2012, which should help resume more rapid progress.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

5 farmers hosted demonstration/trials on their farms in 2011. These included working with a Cornell Vegetable Program technician to set up plots within their winter high tunnels, cooperating on scouting and application of natural control measures as needed. These farmers also took part in a detailed survey, some completing an online version (, and others, in-person. The data collected from these cooperating farms was shared with other farmers and extension educators via print and educational meetings. These 5 farms reported an average financial increase of $573.69 from previous year’s gross after program exposure. However, the average impact of those reporting any financial change was $956.15, as 2 reported no change at all. The natural control measures they reported implementing include resistant variety selection; crop rotation/management of summer high tunnel crops, the use of row covers for insect exclusion and the use of organic or biorational pesticides. In order to reduce insect issues one grower reports decreasing the amount of Asian greens and Brassicas such as Mizuna. Organic, or biorational pesticides employed at these farms included Mycotrol (Beauveria bassiana), Molt-X (azadiractin), Dipel (Bt) and Sluggo (Iron Phosphate).

2 growers completing the survey offered comments on why they either increased yield or decreased harvest labor.

“Spent less time sorting because of less pests and better quality overall. Harvesting made easier because of rearrangement of beds and aisles and better drainage. Sprayed more.”

“Experience. I am getting better at recognizing potential problems and reacting more quickly and more appropriately.”


Elizabeth Buck

Extension Aide
Cornell Vegetable Program
420 Main St
Batavia, NY 14020
Office Phone: 6074253494
Kathryn Klotzbach

[email protected]
12690 Route 31
Albion, NY 14411
Office Phone: 5857984265
Dr. Brian Nault

[email protected]
Associate Professor
Cornell U. Dept of Entomology
Baron Laboratory-NYSAES
610 W. North St
Geneva, NY 14456
Office Phone: 3157872354