Archive for the ‘IPM’ Category

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Annual Report 2013
Posted on May 27, 2014 by Kelly Izlar
The IPM Innovation Labs’s FY 2013 (October 1, 2012–September 30, 2013) annual report is now available. Click below to download the document.


For users with lower bandwidth and/or with interest in only certain specific topic areas, we will split individual chapters and major sections out of the Annual Report for you to view individually. Check back in the coming weeks for a list of individual chapters and sections for download. For more information contact: rmuni@vt.edu

Table of Contents

Management Entity Message
Highlights and Achievements in 2012–2013

Regional Programs
Latin America and the Caribbean
East Africa
West Africa
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Central Asia

Global Programs
International Plant Diagnostic Network (IPDN)
International Plant Virus Disease Network (IPVDN)
Impact Assessment
Gender Equity, Knowledge, and Capacity Building

Associate & Buy-In Awards

Training and Publications
Short- and Long-Term Training

Appendices: Collaborating Institutions and Acronyms

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Tips for a good strawberry crop
By Christine Schlueter

Date Modified: 06/24/2014 2:28 PM

Questions are coming in about problems with strawberries. What can be done to have a good strawberry crop?

Good cultural practices — including site selection, cultivar selection, proper planting, irrigation, renovation and frequent harvest — all contribute to a satisfying harvest each year. These practices seek to produce the healthiest plants by avoiding situations that favor the development of diseases or contribute to insect infestations.

Irrigation systems that avoid getting the leaf surfaces wet are preferred, such as drip systems or a soaker hose. If a sprinkler system is used, water plants in the mornings on a sunny day to allow leaf surfaces to dry quickly.

If possible, strawberries should be rotated to different areas of the garden every three to four years. Land that has been in strawberries for four years or more can build up a population of root-rotting pathogens. Straw mulch reduces winter injury, and plants that have less winter injury have reduced disease. Straw mulch is equally important in spring and summer because it reduces fruit and flower diseases by covering the soil and reducing spore movement carried by raindrop splash. When removing straw in spring, up to 1 inch of straw should be left between rows to keep fruit off the soil and reduce weeds.

Renovation helps control diseases and insect pests by disrupting their life cycles. First, the plants are mowed and clippings removed. It helps to control diseases by removing older leaves that are infected by leaf spot or fruit rot pathogens. This helps to control insects by removing their food source and potential breeding sites.

If plants are grown in rows, renovation is a good time to thin widening rows back to their original width. It will improve airflow through the patch and reduce the time that leaf surfaces are wet, which can reduce disease severity.

Regardless of the size and shape of your strawberry patch, it’s best to mow or cut the foliage back before Aug. 1. A new canopy will develop by mid-August. To have a good crop the following year requires healthy, thriving plants from post-renovation to dormancy in the fall. Pay attention to the health of your plants in this time period.

There are many different insect pests of strawberries. Some of these pests will be present every year, and some you will never see, depending on the history of your garden and surrounding landscape. The most common insect pests in Minnesota are tarnished plant bugs, strawberry bud weevils, slugs, sap beetles and flower thrips.

Today’s approach combines many management methods into an integrated whole called Integrated Pest Management. IPM practices have enabled growers to place an emphasis on non-chemical methods while using pesticides secondarily or as a supplement while still harvesting quality fruit. The philosophy of IPM is to seek a balance maximizing yield while reducing human and environmental risk.

In IPM, pesticide applications are used only when cultural controls aren’t effective or as a supplement to cultural controls. Before using a pesticide, be certain you have correctly identified the pest and the product is effective against that organism. Don’t use products that are advertised as multi-use or 3-in-1 to manage a single pest problem because this would result in unnecessary application.

If a pesticide is necessary, choose one that is effective with the least ecological effect and environmental risk. More information about pesticide application and safety can be found at pesticide stewardship.org and at the National Pesticide Information Center. Information on the correct way to apply specific pesticides can be found on the product label. If pesticides are necessary, always use them exactly as directed by the product label.

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Speed read

  • Plant growth promoters are already used to boost crop yields
  • Applying them early could also attract caterpillar-eating wasps
  • The researchers say seeds could be soaked in the chemicals before planting

[CAIRO] It may be a win-win situation: treating seeds with commercially available growth promoters before planting could have the added benefit of attracting parasitic wasps that feed on caterpillar pests, suggests a study.

The protective effect of these cheap, commercially available chemicals, known as ‘plant strengtheners’, can help protect young crops when they are particularly vulnerable to caterpillars, according to research published last month (19 February) in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

“In the new study we show that the effect is long-lasting: even a week after treatment, we can see the effect,” says study co-author Ted Turlings, an ecologist at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

It is estimated that pathogens and pests account for 25 to 40 per cent of total crop loss. When under attack, plants naturally emit oils that attract the natural predators of the pests. It is possible to up-regulate this process — so more oil is emitted— using genetic modification.

But genetic modification up-regulates only the production of specific chemicals, and research indicates that it is a mixture of various chemicals that is most effective at attracting predators.

Since the mid-2000s scientists have known that spraying with plant strengtheners — a generic term for compounds that boost the vigour, resilience and performance of crops — also elicits the release of a range of extra predator-attracting chemicals. Though the exact biology involved is not well understood and the technique had not performed well in field trials.

Turlings team thought that this poor performance during previous large trials might be partly because the strengtheners were applied too late and partly because heavily pest-infested fields were used for the trials. If this was the case, then the strengtheners could still be useful if applied earlier — by soaking seeds in them, for example.

The scientists tried this idea out on a small scale in their study; soaking maize seeds in two kinds of strengtheners for 12 hours, planting them, and — after a few days growth — counting how many wasps they attracted as compared with control seeds soaked in water. They found that plants treated with both kinds of strengthener, compounds known as BTH and laminarin, attracted more wasps than the controls. They say larger scale trials should now go ahead.

The researchers still do not know exactly how the growth promoters increase the attraction of the parasitic wasps. But they say that treating plants with them may be the most environmentally friendly and effective option available to simultaneously increase crop yields and attract pest predators. It is also cheaper and less controversial than genetic modification of seeds.

“I could imagine that cheap versions of the plant strengtheners could be used by subsistence farmers to boost the performance of their crops,” says Turlings.

Entomologist Mohamed Ragaei of the Egyptian National Research Centre in Cairo tells SciDev.Net that the approach looks “really promising”.

“This is an excellent pest control strategy,” he says. “Especially as the statistics show perfectly the effectiveness of a naturally treated plant to attract parasitoids and enhance the [oil] emissions.”

Link to abstract in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B


Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0283 (2013)

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May 7, 2014, 10 a.m.

A WEBSITE could be the weapon of choice for farmers in the war against pest insects.

This website is called IPM Guidelines for Grains, which offers detailed information and advice for best management of destructive insect pests within Australia’s major grain crops.

It includes specific recommendations for each stage of crop development.

Developed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Entomology team, in conjunction with collaborators in all grain growing regions of Australia, the site equips growers and advisors with the latest advice to minimise production loss.

Also designed to help implement effective, long-term pest management practices on a whole-of-farm basis, DAFF Senior Extension officer, Entomology Kate Charleston said the IPM Guidelines took a problem-solving approach as opposed to being a rigid set of management guidelines.

They draw on all available pest management tools to tailor recommendations according to crop type, growth stage and location.

“This website provides easy-to-find information that you are unlikely to find on any other pest management website,” Ms Charleston said.

“Essentially what we have done is collected all the known information about integrated pest management in grains, including some novel practices, and applied this to specific pests and crops.

“Pest pages focus on management tactics for each crop stage including ‘off season’ operations and planning, while in the crop pages we have provided risk tables to address questions such as ‘when is the crop most at risk from pests’; ‘is there something I can do to minimise pest pressure’; or ‘can certain environmental conditions make the crop more susceptible to certain pests’?”

In addition to targeted IPM recommendations, the website contains an extensive collection of supporting material that is available both on the site and via external links, as well as a series of images to help users identify individual pest species.

The website is funded by the National Invertebrate Pest Initiative (NIPI), which is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), and brings together scientists from state government departments, universities, farmer groups and CSIRO to address pest management issues in the Australian grains industry

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Can going organic help to save pollinator bees?
By Nicola Cottam, 06-May-2014
Organic farming could increase the UK’s pollinator population by up to 50%, according to the Soil Association.


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Hawaii given $700K to combat coffee berry borer
Another $300K goes to Puerto Rico to fight invasive beetle
Published 1:49 PM HST May 05, 2014



WASHINGTON —Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and the United States Department of Agriculture announced Monday a total of $1 million to help combat the coffee berry borer that has been ravaging Big Island coffee farms for almost four years.

The funding will be distributed through the Integrated Pest Management Program at USDA and be divided between Hawaii ($700,000) and Puerto Rico ($300,000). The program is a scientifically-based approach to fighting invasive species.

“I wrote directly to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this year to urge continued funding to fight the coffee berry borer and am very pleased that USDA recognizes the threat of this highly destructive invasive species to Hawaii’s farms and economy,” said Hirono. “I’ve met and listened to farmers whose crops are being impacted by this alien pest species. Coffee is an important agriculture crop and export for our state – we produce some of the world’s best beans – and it is crucial that we provide the resources our farmers need.”

“The Coffee Berry Borer has destroyed more than $9 million worth of our world-renowned coffee since 2010, leaving many small businesses and families in our rural communities devastated. Coffee farms are a major pillar in our rural Hawai’i Island communities, and a majority are family-owned and operated,” said Gabbard. “They provide jobs on farms and at processing plants, purchase equipment, fertilizers, and other hardware necessary to bring the famous Kona and Ka’u coffee to consumers worldwide. This $700,000 award to further fund the Coffee Plant Health Initiative program in Hawai’i will help researchers combat this and other new invasive pests, and will also help to restore our farmers’ ability to grow and market world-class coffee, which is the only domestically grown coffee our country has to offer.”

Hawaii Island is home to more than 700 small coffee farms. In 2011, coffee farmers in Hawaii produced more than 8 million pounds of coffee, valued at more than $30 million.

The borer is an insect native to Central Africa that lives, feeds and reproduces in both immature and mature coffee berries. This damage can have a significant negative impact on the quality and quantity of coffee crop yields.

As a direct result of the coffee berry borer, many farmers in 2012 have expressed concerns that their yields were in jeopardy. The Agricultural Research Service commenced an integrated pest management program in 2013 to study and develop a management plan for the coffee berry borer.


Click here to see more photos of the coffee berry borer.


Read more: http://www.kitv.com/news/hawaii-given-700k-to-combat-coffee-berry-borer/25825180#ixzz30uJEmVpU

Read more: http://www.kitv.com/news/hawaii-given-700k-to-combat-coffee-berry-borer/25825180#ixzz30uHhpLap

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Kathmandu Post



Integrated Pest Management has been adopted by a growing number of organic farms in all districts of Nepal

Arjun Neupane, a farmer in Dhaibung, Rasuwa, owns a farm that’s all organic. His prize produce is tomatoes, and they grow in a plastic-roofed shed that’s surrounded on all sides by marigold plants. The rest of his farmland, used for growing cauliflower and spinach, is spotted with plastic drums that house a slurry of buffalo dung and urine mixed with titepati, neem and sisnu leaves. It’s the employing of slurries of this kind that’s at the heart of a farming method called Integrated Pest Management (IPM)—a method that’s been adopted by a growing number of organic farms in all districts of Nepal.

The IPM philosophy is a simple one: It’s a way of using, as much as possible, plants (mostly those that grow in the wild) and animal waste to keep pest numbers down and fertilise the soil at the same time. The buffalo urine in the slurry, which Neupane ferries by the bucketloads to his vegetable beds, acts as a fertiliser—by adding nutrients such as ammonia in its natural form to the soil—and the plants used in the slurry kill germs and keep away animals such as rodents, with their bitterness. Live plants, too–such as the marigold plants around Neupane’s greenhouse—can be marshalled as a defensive front: in Neupane’s case, they keep at bay the nematodes, a kind of worm, which would otherwise prey on his tomatoes.

IPM took off in the late 90s in Nepal, with the government’s encouraging farmers to make use of the method as an alternative to depending on chemical fertlisers, which are harsher on the soil and whose use over time can lead to the land’s turning effete. The government knew that it had to wean the farmers off chemical fertilisers if they wanted to preserve the farmlands’ soil. The advent of globalisation had by then seen a marked increase in Nepali farmers’ switching to various types of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which had become readily available in all markets across the country. And the farming sector had transformed from one which primarily used organic fertilisers and biological agents to one that relied increasingly on fertilisers that degraded the soil quality of the farms and which furthermore had untold adverse effects on the environment and in turn on public health.

Most farmers who use only chemical fertilisers are locked in a vicious cycle. The chemical fertilisers produce better yields, and as most other farmers now opt for using chemicals (even as they further degrade their land), they have to keep up if they want to compete in the marketplace. Furthermore, many of them have also taken to using industrial-strength pesticides to keep away pests—such as insects, disease-bearing pathogens, weeds, rodents, and mites—which are the major constraints to increasing agricultural production and which can cause productivity losses of up to 40 percent. This increase in the use of chemical pesticides ends up not only upsetting the natural balance of chemicals of the soils in the fields, but also leads to an increase in the populations of secondary pests.

It was to help those farmers who wanted to get back to using biopesticides that the concept of the IPM approach was pushed by the government. The first phase of IPM farming in Nepal was launched just before the turn of the century by the Department of Plant Resources, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The government was aided in its venture by various developmental partners and together they helped set up the practice for farmers in various districts, including Jhapa, Morang, Bara, Chitwan, Kapilvastu, Bardiya, Banke, Kailali, Ilam, Kavre, Syangja, Surkhet, Dadeldhura, Tanahu, Dhading, Mustang and Manang.

Ironically, the government had to sell the idea as a ‘modern’ method of farming, even though local versions of IPM were what the farmers used to work with before the farmers switched wholesale to chemical fertilisers. Wood ash, for example, has been widely used for pest control in west Nepal for generations. Today, the national IPM Programme seeks to teach the farmers how to find their way back, says Yubak Dhoj GC, a government official and former coordinator at the Plant Protection Directorate. To help farmers make the switch, the government and various non-governmental agencies have set up IPM farmer schools all across Nepal, in which farmers such as Neupane learn the science of using botanical pesticides, which can be made from more than 50 plant species readily available in Nepal: plants such as neem, marigold, titepati, sisnu, garlic and timur are used in IMP to ward off pests such as the cabbage butterfly larvae, hairy caterpillars, cutworms, red ants, termites and aphids.

Today, it is estimated that around 11,000 farmers in 17 districts have completely adopted IPM techniques and that the number is increasing at the rate of more than 10 percent each year. Thus there are quite a few farmers who are getting sold on the idea, but there still remains the challenge of helping the IPM farmers compete with those who still haven’t given up the use of chemical fertilisers. The IPM model requires more man-hours in the field; furthermore, as Neupane, says, it’s difficult for IPM farmers like him to compete with farmers who use chemical fertilisers, andwhose tomatoes look larger, redder and juicier than his.

According to GC, the IPM programme is at a crossroads now. He says the government has to play a larger role in helping farmers such as Neupane. At present, the agricultural produce grown using chemical fertilisers and the IPM methods are competing in the same markets. The government doesn’t have the mechanism in place to certify certain products as being organic. If that were to happen, Neupane thinks that he could sell his tomatoes to hotels in Dhunche, where the tourists who prefer organic produce could seek vegetables like the ones he grows.

In cities like Kathmandu, there are already many farmers who are able to sell their products in the niche markets that the organic farmers, who employ IPM, have carved for themselves. For the farmers outside the Valley, the main draw of IPM farming is that the soil will remain fertile in the long run. These farmer can only compete with those who use chemical fertilisers, says GC, if the government were to provide subsidies and help improve market access for them. “We have been successful in involving the farmers in the IPM approach but have failed to improve the accessibility to the market for their products. Thus it’s still difficult for most of them to benefit from the agriculture practice they are adopting,” says GC.

Posted on : 2014-05-03 08:15

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From: IPM in the South


We’ve made progress in fighting invasives but still have a way to go

Posted on April 25, 2014 by rhallberg

In the US alone, introduced species cause an economic impact of $157 billion, according to an article published in a 2005 issue of Frontiers in Ecological Environment. At that time, most of the attention for exotic invaders was being given to those that negatively affected crops. However, in the last 10 years, research and extension activities have expanded to include areas of public recreation and environmental concern (such as the hemlock woolly adelgid). Three authors from Tennessee and California explore “Introduced species policy, management, and future research needs” by looking at the status of introduced species management in 2005 and recommending ways that research could help. This post will add thoughts on ways that invasive species management has changed since then and how research has helped to inform the public about the importance of managing invasive species and how people can help.
The categories defining the most pressing issues in invasive species policy management have not changed much between 2005 and today. The greatest problems and needs for research and extension still include ways to keep unwanted species from crossing our borders and ways to effectively management them once they get in. Those who have to fight quickly spreading pests such as the hemlock woolly adelgid or kudzu have to deal with consistently shrinking budgets and a lack of manpower. However, some progress has been achieved in several areas:

Battling against invaders
Introductions usually happen in one of two ways: deliberately or accidentally. Although accidental introductions can be more difficult to track, deliberate introductions, such as hunters who move wild hogs to different states for gaming purposes, can be harder to catch initially. Other times, invasive species are sold at garden centers because of their public popularity, such as the mimosa tree or English ivy.
The authors recommend policy changes to better assess risk before a species is introduced. Basic facts about an organism, such as feeding habits, presence of local predators, conducive habitats and reproductive frequency could help inform those considering transporting a species from outside the U.S. to inside the border and then perpetuating its spread.
Accidental introductions are more difficult to prevent, and even with tougher legislation introduced in the 1990s, invasive species that hide in cargo or in shipping materials still pass through checkpoints unnoticed. Lionfish, for instance, has become a menace in the Caribbean and threatens the fishing industry, were introduced either through a damaged restaurant aquarium or by a pet owner unaware of the consequences. The redbay ambrosia beetle was probably harbored in a shipping container, and the hemlock woolly adelgid hitched a ride on an Asian hemlock purchased by a Virginia plant collector.

Finding invasives quickly and eradicating them before they take hold
Eradication involves erasing the presence of an unwanted species from a specified area. For instance, cotton growers might want to eradicate the stink bug so it would no longer be present in the U.S.. Completely ridding the country of a pest that populates many states is extremely difficult and often impossible. According to the authors, successful eradication is much more likely in species for which the distribution is limited. Even for these species, action must be taken swiftly for eradication to occur. One example of a successful widespread eradication effort is the Boll Weevil Eradication program, which has taken over a century to finally produce results in five states. Success of the program is no doubt due to the combined funding from federal, state and private sources. Most eradication efforts, however, suffer dramatically as funding dries up. For instance, an early attempt to eradicate the gypsy moth in Massachusetts failed after the state legislature withdrew funding for the effort after moth populations began to decline. Now, despite other state education efforts, the gypsy moth has spread to the Southeast.

Maintenance management at low levels
For most pest species, low-level maintenance—rather than eradication—is the goal. In fact, in crop situations, growers use action thresholds to determine the proper population level at which to begin control measures. For the most part, low-level maintenance is a more reasonable expectation than eradication. For pest species that feed beneficial species, low-level maintenance ensures the continuation of predators that may feed on a variety of pest species. Various species of lady beetles, for instance, may feed on aphids, scale insects, mildew, whiteflies, mealybugs and mites.

Invasive pest species are often best managed by using a combination of IPM techniques, including mechanical and cultural methods, chemical control and biological control. According to the article, mechanical and cultural control are often the most effective but are also the most costly and labor intensive. Chemical control used to be the cheapest and most immediately effective; however, recently several species of insects and weeds have become resistant to multiple pesticides. Herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth is probably the most notorious of these species, and growers now are resorting to mechanical methods as well as chemical methods to control this weed.
The authors state that biological control is often ineffective; however, in the last several years, screening methods have tightened, and some biocontrol efforts are literally eating away at some of the most pervasive species. For instance, leaf beetles obtained from various countries in Asia are defoliating vast populations of Tamarix, or saltcedar, in Texas, Arizona and Utah. Scientists in the southeast are using several ladybug beetles to reduce the spread of this pest, and other researchers are looking into cross-breeding possibilities with compatible hemlock species that are resistant to the pest.

Although invasive pests that impact cropland still (and probably will always) receive greater attention than those that do not, education and outreach efforts for the public are beginning to raise awareness for some of the most damaging pests. Many in the general public now recognize terms such as emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, Asian longhorned beetle and white-nose syndrome of bats. Some groups trying to manage invasives are even asking for citizen science help in locating invasive species so that populations can be more effectively tracked. Perhaps, with a combination of efforts, introduced species will eventually be quashed before they become “invasive.”

Source: Simberloff, D., Parker, I.M., and Windle, P.N. (2005) Introduced species policy, management, and future research needs. Front Ecol Environ. 3(1): 12-20.

NOTE: If you live in the Northeast in a state affected by Asian longhorned beetle and would like to be part of the solution to manage this pest, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is asking the public to report trees infested with Asian longhorned beetle so the agency can more accurately track the pest. Read the USDA’s blog for more information.
You can even help your kids learn more about invasives and about getting involved in citizen science projects. See the USDA Blog to learn about Insects Invade.


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