- Vegetables: beans, broccoli, cucurbits, garlic, peas (culinary), sweet corn
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, hedges - grass, habitat enhancement, hedgerows
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, organic agriculture
This project demonstrated that regional farms harbor a diverse assemblage of ground beetles that vary in their habitat use, per capita feeding voracity and seasonal activity patterns. In aggregate, beetles increased the risk of predation faced by potential pests within crop fields. However, the risk faced by pests was reduced on farms that lacked perennial grass and other less disturbed habitats, particularly early in the season. Maintaining less disturbed areas on a farm, as well as augmenting habitat in the form of beetle banks, can ensure a diverse mix of ground beetles and a high level of pest suppression capacity.
The overarching goal of this project was to provide farmers with information that would help them better manage ground beetle assemblages on their farms and to maximize the biocontrol benefits they provide. Our specific research and outreach objectives were:
1. Develop a habitat-based model that predicts the occurrence of beetle species at the farm-scale in Pacific Northwest agricultural landscapes.
2. Determine how the farm-scale arrangement of habitat types influences beetle activity patterns within fields.
3. Determine how beetle activity within fields influences prey consumption.
4. Provide specific recommendations based on farmer-generated research questions.
5. Facilitate regional cooperation among farmers and researchers developing conservation biological control.