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  • Author or Editor: Edward J. Sikora x
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Multidisciplinary integrated pest management (IPM) teams from seven states in the southeastern United States (Alabama, North Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) met to develop standards for adopting IPM in fresh-market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) production. Teams were composed of growers, private consultants, extension personnel, and faculty. IPM practices available for use on tomatoes in the southeastern United States were identified and a survey to assess the current level of adoption of IPM practices was developed. The survey also allowed growers to identify insect, disease, and production problems; beneficial technology and research developments; and other information relevant to IPM adoption. In northern Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina, IPM adoption by tomato growers was classified as medium or high on >75% of the fresh-market tomato acreage surveyed. It appears these states may have met the federal mandate for IPM adoption. Tomato producers listed early blight, late blight, bacterial spot, bacterial speck, and bacterial wilt as the main disease problems; tomato fruit worm, thrips, and aphids as the primary insect problems; and poor weather conditions, government regulation, and labor as their primary production problems. Twenty-six percent of the producers throughout the region felt that the development of insect- and disease-resistant varieties would be most helpful to increase production.

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Three processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) lines engineered to express the cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) capsid protein (CP) gene were evaluated in the summers of 1995 and 1996 under high levels of naturally occurring CMV disease pressure. One tomato line expressed the capsid protein gene from a subgroup II isolate of CMV (line 11527), whereas two lines (12261 and 12295) expressed the capsid protein genes from a CMV subgroup I and a subgroup II isolate. Evaluation of CMV incidence based on symptomatic plants revealed that only 9% and 8% of the plants in line 11527 were infected in 1995 and 1996, respectively, 5 weeks after being transplanted. None of the plants in line 12261 developed symptoms in 1995, whereas 26% were symptomatic in 1996. There were no symptomatic plants in line 12295 in either the 1995 or the 1996 trial. In contrast to the CMV transgenic lines, 96% and 95% of the susceptible control plants were symptomatic by the 5-week rating period. CMV incidence in the CMV transgenic lines was much higher when infection was based on detection of virus by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). This was particularly true in the 1996 trial where no less than 97% of the plants within a treatment were determined to be infected. Though a relatively high percentage of the transgenic plants were infected, the amount of CMV that accumulated in these plants was significantly less than in the susceptible controls, which may explain the occurrence of the attenuated symptoms. Despite CMV infection of the transgenic lines in the Alabama field trials, the performance of these lines could be of practical value to growers.

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The Alabama Tomato Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program was demonstrated during two growing seasons in southeastern Alabama. The program consisted of a twice-a-week insect/disease scouting service combined with a weather-timed spray program (TOM-CAST). On average, growers made four fewer insecticide applications and three to four fewer fungicide applications when following the IPM program compared to their conventional, calendar-based program. There was no apparent reduction in yield when following the IPM program. An economic analysis indicated that growers following the IPM program saved an average of $54.36/acre ($134.32/ha).

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