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A rapid increase in municipal solid waste (MSW) production (2 kg/person per day), combined with a decreasing number of operating landfills, has increased waste disposal costs. Composting MSW can be an alternative method of waste disposal to traditional landfilling or incineration. Weed control methods using waste materials such as bark, straw, and sawdust were used in commercial crop production for many years before the advent of chemical weed control. Weed growth suppression by mulching can often be almost as effective as conventional herbicides. A 10 to 15 cm-deep mulch layer is needed to completely discourage weed growth in these systems, and best results are obtained with composted materials. In recent years, composts made from a large variety of waste materials have become available on a commercial scale. Preliminary investigations into the use of MSW compost as a weed control agent have shown that compost, especially in an immature state, applied to row crop middles reduced weed growth due to its high concentration of acetic, propionic, and butyric acids. Subsequently, compost can be incorporated into the soil for the following growing season to potentially improve soil physical and chemical properties. Integrated pest management programs that incorporate biological control should be adopted wherever possible because some weed species with persistent seeds can escape chemical control.

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Washington State Univ. Tri-Cities offers a new agricultural degree program titled Integrated Cropping Systems. It is intended to provide a basic education on the fundamentals of crop production and the environmental context in which crops are grown. Courses are offered at the upper division level to interface with the lower division courses offered at local community colleges. The curriculum is composed of courses in environmental science, ecology and conservation as well as crop growth and development, crop nutrition, plant pathology integrated pest management and others. Students need to meet the same requirements as those at other Washington State Univ. campuses in regards to the general education requirements. The purpose of the Integrated Cropping Systems program is to provide an educational opportunity for agricultural professionals and others in the region who are unable to commute or move to the main campus location. The curriculum provides the background needed for such occupations as grower/producer, crop scouting, sales representative and other entry level agricultural professions. It will supply credits toward certification through the American Registry of Certified Professional Agricultural Consultants (ARCPACS). Integrated Cropping Systems is a unique agricultural curriculum designed to help agriculturists integrate their production practices into the local ecosystem in a way that the environment does not incur damage. It emphasizes the use of environmentally conscience decisionmaking processes and sound resource ethics. The program will graduate individuals who have heightened awareness of the impact agricultural practices have on the ecosystem in which they are conducted.

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A mail survey of greenhouse growers was conducted in 1994 and 1995 to determine the presence and importance of western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande, in Maine greenhouses in growing years 1993 and 1994. Respondents were licensed growers with at least 1000 ft2 (93 m2) of greenhouse growing area. The survey objectives were to develop a grower demographic profile; determine the incidence of WFT and two WFT-vectored plant viruses, tomato spotted wilt (TSWV) and impatiens necrotic spot (INSV); and identify current WFT management strategies. The survey shows that Maine greenhouse growers are seasonal, experienced and retail oriented. Their growing area averages less than 10,000 ft2 (929 m2) and they produce a diverse crop mix and choose to import production stock as much as propagate it themselves. Both WFT and TSWV/INSV have increased in severity in Maine greenhouses over the past 10 years. Larger, year-round greenhouses are more likely to experience infestations of WFT and higher virus incidence. An integrated pest management (IPM) strategy is employed by the majority of growers surveyed. Insecticide application is the primary tactic used to control WFT. Fewer than 4% of the growers use natural enemies to control thrips. However, 63% responded that future research in pest management should focus on biological control.

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In recent years, several studies have demonstrated the potential of proteinase inhibitors (PIs) for the control of various pests and pathogens. Used as a component of an integrated pest management program, such an approach must, however, be carefully considered, given the possible risks of interference with other control methods. For example, we are analyzing the effect of oryzacystatins (OCI and OCII), two cysteine PIs naturally occurring in rice grains, against digestive proteinases of Amblyseius californicus (AC), a native predator of the two-spotted spider mite (SM; Tetranychus urticae). Electrophoretic analyses have shown the existence in SM extracts of a major cysteine proteinase form strongly inhibited by OCI, indicating the potential of this inhibitor for SM control. However, similar analyses revealed a strong affinity between proteinases from AC extracts and OCs. Thus, despite their potential for SM control, plant cystatins may represent growth-suppressing compounds for AC. Work is currently underway to determine the usefulness of OCI-expressing transgenic plants for SM control, and to assess the compatibility of this control with an AC-based biological control strategy.

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An assessment was conducted for our departmental internship class (HORT 2010) for 1999–2003. With rare exceptions, all students majoring in Horticulture must complete 3 credits of HORT 2010, based on 480 hours of approved work, reports, a seminar, and evaluations. The course is graded pass/fail. An internship requirement was added to the Landscape Contracting major in 2000–01. Enrollment in HORT 2010 was greatest among students in the Turf Management option (TURF) in 3 of 5 years. Over the 5-year period, females averaged 27% of the enrollment in HORT 2010, in part because there was only one female TURF student. The mode for earned hours completed just before the semester of enrollment in HORT 2010 was 97, thus classing the typical intern as a rising Senior. Only 8% of the interns failed to graduate. A total of 126 students interned at 109 different sites, with 70% interning within Oklahoma. Four Oklahoma employers accounted for 23% of all internship employment. Feedback has led to documented program improvements, e.g., `Bilingual Horticultural Communications' was made available on campus via distance education in Spring, 2001; `Turfgrass Integrated Pest Management' was created and added to the TURF option sheet for 2001-2002; and `Personnel and Financial Management for Horticulture' was created and approved in 2005. In a 2000 alumni survey, 100% of responding, employed Horticulture alumni (19 of 19) rated their internship as helpful. The program has worked well and has contributed to student success.

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The Master Gardener program in Monmouth County began in 1999. In order to justify the initiation of such a time and resource intensive program for Rutgers Univ., detailed records of participant activities throughout the county were compiled. The educational program consists of several components related to horticultural science. These classroom topics are basic horticulture, environmental factors for plant growth, soils and fertilizers, plant propagation, vegetable gardening, integrated pest management, turfgrass systems and practical horticultural techniques. Since 1999, 145 graduates have passed through the program and contributed a total of 35,274 volunteer hours. The key horticultural program segments that result in direct return on this substantial investment include: 1) horticultural helpline—answering home gardening questions; 2) horticultural help—promoting gardening programs in schools, parks, etc; 3) Community outreach—lectures and demonstrations, hort therapy; 4) horticultural research at university extension and education farms; and 5) laboratory assistance - plant and pest identification, test measurements. The calculated value of such volunteer help at $15.43 per hour leads to a horticultural contribution of $544,277 over 5 years. It is important to realize that many key programs would not have even been initiated without the ability to quickly assemble large numbers of skilled volunteers on a part-time basis. The training program and hands-on experience made these Master Gardeners capable of detailed data collection from ornamental and agricultural plant studies. This impact expands and synergizes the plant science programs of the professional staff on both a county and statewide basis.

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Interest IN and conversion to sustainable agriculture practices, such as organic agriculture, integrated pest management or increasing biodiversity, has been increasing for a number of years among farmers and ranchers across the United States In order to meet the needs of producers, university researchers and educators must adapt their program areas to reflect this change toward sustainable agriculture practices. Although consumers, producers, and extension workers have been surveyed regarding their attitudes and interests in sustainable agricultural practices, few surveys have examined sustainable agriculture perceptions among university agriculture professionals. The object of this study was to survey 200 agriculture professionals, including research scientists, classroom educators of the Land-Grant agricultural college and the Cooperative Extension service of a southern state with a traditional agricultural economy in order to determine their perceptions and attitudes toward sustainable agriculture and to gather information on current research and education activities relevant to sustainable agriculture. Seventy-eight questions were asked concerning professional incentives, personal and professional importance of topics under the sustainable agriculture rubric, current research and educational activities, and demographics. By conducting this research we hope to identify factors that are an impedance or assistance to future research and education to support sustainable agriculture. The survey findings will provide a foundation for directing and developing agriculture research and education programs for row crops, fruit, vegetable and livestock production.

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In recent years, several studies have demonstrated the potential of proteinase inhibitors (PIs) for controlling insect pests. Used as a component of an integrated pest management program, such an approach must, however, be considered with care, given the potential risks of interference on other control approaches. In particular, the effect of PIs on digestive proteinases of beneficial insects must be determined. As an example, this study analyzed the effect of oryzacystatins (OCs), two cysteine PIs isolated from rice, on digestive proteinases of Perillus bioculatus, a predator of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB; Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say), a major pest. Electrophoretic analyses showed the existence of several cysteine proteinase forms in the digestive tract of P. bioculatus. For each developmental stage, OCs dramatically inhibited proteolytic activity, showing an affinity between these inhibitors and the digestive proteinases of the predator. Despite their potential for controlling CPB, the two rice cystatins thus represent possible growth-suppressing compounds for the beneficial insect P. bioculatus. Work is currently under way to assess the compatibility of the two control approaches.

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Tests in experimental plots over two seasons have shown that it is possible to obtain excellent control of eggs and larvae of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) under Quebec growing conditions by augmentative releases of a generalist predator, the twospotted stinkbug P. bioculatus. The stinkbugs were mass-reared on CPB eggs and larvae in the laboratory, and were released as second or third instar nymphs at the time of peak beetle oviposition. They were introduced manually at ratios of 2-4 predators : beetle egg mass in plots comprising ≈1000 `Kennebec' potato plants. Short-interval sampling after introduction indicated good rates of establishment and survival of the released P. bioculatus nymphs. Analysis of CPB egg recruitment and mortality indicated high rates of destruction of CPB eggs by the stinkbug. Egg destruction was followed by significant predation of late-instar bugs on CPB larvae, resulting in significant reductions of CPB prepupal and adult densities, and excellent foliage protection in treated plots compared to untreated controls. The results will be discussed with reference to traits of P. bioculatus that make it a good candidate for biocontrol of the CPB, and to problems yet to be resolved before augmentative releases of the predator can be used as an integrated pest management tactic in larger scale potato production.

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Concerns about the impacts of agricultural practices on the environment dictate that all management techniques must be examined from the perspective of minimizing such impacts. Integrated pest management practices such as scouting, use of biological controls, improvement of pesticide application techniques, tree-row-volume spraying, and consideration of the environmental impact of alternative chemical controls offer opportunity for minimizing the adverse impact of pesticides. Improved spray equipment with canopy sensors and spray recovery systems improve deposition and reduce pesticide waste. Applying nutrients on the basis of need as indicated by leaf and soil analyses offers the best means of assuring optimal crop performance and minimizing the potential for contamination of surface and ground water supplies. Soil management practices must be evaluated for their potential to minimize soil erosion and competition, and for their potential contribution to pest management. Ground covers that are nonsupportive of nematodes, disease, or insect pest populations merit additional research. Methods for managing ground covers with low rates of growth regulators or herbicides to minimize invasion by problem weeds, reduce the need for mowing, and regulate competition, while retaining their beneficial attributes in minimizing soil erosion and maintaining soil structure, would be advantageous to orchardists and the environment.

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