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  • Author or Editor: P.B. Goodell x
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Spider mites [including Tetranychus pacificus McGregor (Pacific mite) and T. turkestani Ugarov & Nikolski (strawberry mite)] are the most important invertebrate pests of the roses (Rosa hybrida) grown in Kern County, Calif. (the major production area in the United States). However, sampling methods and treatment thresholds have been subjective. A rapid presence–absence field sampling method has been developed, and treatment thresholds for mites have been evaluated based on the method. Roses exhibit a higher tolerance for spider mite populations than previously thought.

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A participatory, on-farm research and extension program has been established around 16 demonstration comparisons of biologically integrated soil building–pest management systems and conventionally managed systems within the West Side row crop area of California's San Joaquin Valley. In each of the biologically integrated parcels, cover crops and composted organic materials are integrated into rotations wherever appropriate, whereas in the conventionally managed parcels, mineral fertilizer applications are made. Pest management practices are evaluated and biologically and informationally intensive alternatives are developed through a participatory process. Indices of soil quality including nutrient status, water stable aggregates, organic matter content, and phospholipid fatty acids are routinely monitored. Information related to the objectives, structure and monitoring activities of this project during the establishment phase will be discussed.

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In Fall 1995, 12 row crop farmers in conjunction with Univ. of California, NRCS and private agency advisors established the West Side On-Farm Demonstration Project to conduct demonstrations of soil and pest management options aimed at sustained profitability and environmental stewardship in the western San Joaquin Valley of California. Monitoring of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties is done in side-by-side on-farm comparisons of plots amended with organic inputs and unamended plots. Intensive monitoring of beneficial and pest insects is carried out within each comparison block, and the data generated is used to guide pest management decision-making at each site. Yields and soil characteristics of the amended plots did not differ from those of unamended plots after the first year. The on-farm context and the cooperative farmer–scientist interactions of this project facilitate the development of timely and relevant research directions to be pursued beyond the core set of monitoring activities.

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