Banded cucumber beetle [BCB (Diabrotica balteata)], serpentine leafminer [SL (Liriomyza trifolii)], and aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) are among the major insect pests that cause significant economic damage to lettuce (Lactuca sativa) in southern Florida. Four romaine cultivars and three iceberg cultivars, currently used in Florida's lettuce production, were evaluated from Oct. 2010 to Jan. 2011 in separate field experiments for their responses to insect infestation. Lettuce cultivars differed significantly in their responses to infestations of BCB and aphids. Cultivar 70096 had the lowest percent (3.7%) of BCB feeding damage among the romaine cultivars. Romaine cultivar Manatee also had significantly lower BCB feeding damage (12.1%) than the susceptible cultivars Okeechobee (19.8%) and Terrapin (19.1%). The lowest level of infestation of aphids was observed on ‘Manatee’, followed by ‘70096’, whereas ‘Okeechobee’ and ‘Terrapin’ had severe infestation of aphids. The iceberg cultivars were similar to one another in their responses to BCB and SL but not in their response to aphid infestation. Yield was decreased from 3% to 37% for six of the seven cultivars grown under the adverse environmental conditions of insect infestations and cold weather in Dec. 2010, but the yield of ‘70096’ did not decline. The cultivars identified as resistant to insects can play an important role in integrated pest management (IPM), which may decrease pesticide application, reduce production costs, and protect the environment.
The Wisconsin potato crop is managed intensively through multiple inputs of pesticide, fertilizer, and irrigation. Beginning in 1979, a multidisciplinary team at the Univ. of Wisconsin developed an effective Integrated Pest Management Program to address key management decisions associated with this crop. The program fostered the development of several private IPM businesses and continues to help increase the acceptance of IPM technology by the potato industry. Results of component and integrative research, funded by industry, state, and federal sources, provided the essential ingredients for development of computer software now used for managing the potato crop on ≈ 70,000 acres (28,330 ha) of potatoes in a multistate area. The software helps growers determine the need for and timing of critical crop inputs. By reducing or eliminating unneeded pesticide and irrigation applications, the software helps to improve overall production efficiency. Industry adoption of this software is providing the impetus for development of more comprehensive software that includes additional aspects of potato production as well as the production of crops grown in rotation with potato.
An important aspect of organic farming is to minimize the detrimental impact of human intervention to the surrounding environment by adopting a natural protocol in system management. Traditionally, organic farming has focused on the elimination of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and a reliance on biological cycles that contribute to improving soil health in terms of fertility and pest management. Organic production systems are ecologically and economically sustainable when practices designed to build soil organic matter, fertility, and structure also mitigate soil erosion and nutrient runoff. We found no research conducted under traditional organic farming conditions, comparing bareground monoculture systems to systems incorporating the use of living mulches. We will be focusing on living mulch studies conducted under conventional methodology that can be extrapolated to beneficial uses in an organic system. This article discusses how organic farmers can use living mulches to reduce erosion, runoff, and leaching and also demonstrate the potential of living mulch systems as comprehensive integrated pest management plans that allow for an overall reduction in pesticide applications. The pesticide reducing potential of the living mulch system is examined to gain insight on application within organic agriculture.
A survey, focusing on the use of irrigation and fertilization best management practices (BMPs), was designed and released to Virginia nursery and greenhouse growers. The objectives of the survey were to determine the most widely used BMPs, assess the reasons for their use, and identify barriers to BMP adoption. The survey was distributed in person, via e-mail attachment, or link to 357 Virginia growers in 2016 with 60 respondents. Survey results demonstrate that the most widely used BMPs in Virginia included irrigation scheduling, integrated pest management (IPM) implementation, altering irrigation practices to optimize irrigation efficiency, controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) use, and plant need–based watering. Respondents selected environmental/resource savings as one of the most cited reasons behind BMP use for water, fertilizer, and runoff management. Cost was the most cited barrier to BMP adoption for all BMPs. Fertilizer management BMP implementation was primarily an economic decision. The value of determining the most widely used BMPs and impediments to BMP adoption is that we can 1) communicate this information to growers who currently do not employ BMPs to encourage BMP adoption and 2) subsequently inform the regulatory community of BMP use. Increased BMP use can boost the potential for mitigation of agricultural nutrient and sediment runoff into impaired waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, and help growers increase efficiency of operation inputs, such as water and fertilizer resources, while potentially saving money.
The effects of overhead and drip tube irrigation on twospotted spider mite (TSMs) (Tetranychus urticae Koch) and predatory mite (PMs) (Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot) populations, as well as the biological control of TSMs by PMs, were investigated on Impatiens wallerana Hook. f. `Impulse Orange'. To determine the effects of the two irrigation methods on TSM populations, plants were inoculated with female TSMs 6 weeks after seeding. Plants were then irrigated twice every three days, and TSM counts were taken 3 weeks later. To assess the effects of irrigation method on PMs, plants were inoculated with TSMs 6 weeks after seeding, PMs were released 10 days later, plants were irrigated about once per day, and the number of predatory mites on plants was counted 3 weeks after release. To assess the effects of irrigation method on the biological control of TSMs by PMs, plants were inoculated with TSMs and PMs were released as before, but then plants were irrigated either three times every 2 days or three times every 4 days using either drip or overhead irrigation. The number of TSMs on plants and the number of leaves showing TSM feeding injury were measured 3 weeks after predator release. Overhead watering significantly reduced TSM and PM populations as much as 68- and 1538-fold, respectively, compared to drip irrigation with microtubes. Perhaps more important, overhead watering with or without predators significantly reduced the number of leaves sustaining TSM feeding injury as much as 4-fold compared to drip irrigation. These results confirm the common observation that TSM infestations and injury may be reduced by irrigation systems that wet plant foliage. However, predators still reduced TSMs even though overhead irrigation had a suppressive effect on predatory mites. Predators are particularly useful for reducing TSM injury when plants are watered infrequently. Overhead watering could be used in tandem with biological control as a component of an integrated crop management program for TSMs in ornamental greenhouses by rapidly lowering TSM population levels in hot spots before PMs are released.
Collard greens (Brassica oleracea var. acephala L.) were planted in the peripheries of cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.) fields in the spring growing seasons of 1997 and 1998 to evaluate their effectiveness as a trap crop to manage the diamondback moth (DBM) [Plutella xylostella (L.)]. The numbers of DBM never exceeded the action threshold for application of insecticides in any of the fields that were completely surrounded by collards, but did exceed the action threshold in three of the fields without collards on four sampling dates in 1998. In both years, the numbers of DBM larvae in the collards exceeded the action threshold of 0.3 total larvae/plant in eight of nine fields. Larval counts in cabbage surrounded with collards were not significantly higher than in the conventionally planted cabbage, even though the number of pesticide applications was reduced in the former. The few pesticide applications in fields surrounded by collards probably targeted the cabbage looper [Trichoplusia ni (Hübner)], which was not impeded by the collards from infesting the interior cabbage. There was no significant reduction in marketability, and damage to cabbage was similar to that in fields where collards were planted and in fields where only conventional pesticides were used. The reduced number of pesticide sprays, as well as the high concentration of host larvae in the collards, may help maintain populations of natural enemies of DBM in the agroecosystem. Planting collards in field peripheries is a potentially effective tactic to manage DBM in cabbage.
The hypothesis was tested that effects of late-season European Red Mite (ERM) [Panonychus ulmi (Koch)] injury on apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) fruit development are better explained by carbon physiology than by pest densities. Midseason ERM populations were allowed to develop in mature semi-dwarf `Starkrimson Delicious'/M26 trees with moderately heavy crops, then were controlled with miticides at different mite-day (activity of one mite per leaf for 1 day) levels as estimated by weekly leaf sampling. The range of final mite-days was from 250 to 2100 on individual trees. Seasonal fruit growth patterns were monitored. Diurnal whole-canopy net CO2 exchange rate (NCER) was measured in eight clear flexible balloon whole-canopy chambers on several dates before and after mite infestations. Mite injury reduced fruit growth rates. Leaf and whole-canopy NCER were reduced similarly. Late season fruit growth and final fruit size were correlated with accumulated mite-days, but were better correlated to whole-canopy NCER per fruit. Fruit firmness, color, soluble solids and starch ratings showed no correlation to mite-days. Number of flower clusters per tree and final fruit per tree the following year were not related to accumulated mite-days, but final fruit per tree the following year were better correlated to whole-canopy NCER per fruit. These results generally supported the hypothesis.
Fruit maturity, quality, calcium concentration and economic value of `Starkrimson Delicious' (Malus domestica Borkh.) apples, under a range of crop levels and European red mite [Panonychus ulmi (Koch)] cumulative mite-days (CMD), were best explained by local surface regression models involving CMD and crop load. Fruit from trees with low CMD and a light crop (125 fruit/tree, about 20 t/ha) were the most mature at harvest. Those fruit had higher ethylene concentrations, starch pattern indices, soluble solids concentrations, and watercore incidence at harvest than fruit from trees with low CMD and a normal crop (300 fruit/tree, about 40 t/ha), or with high CMD at any crop level. Those fruit also had higher incidences of watercore and internal breakdown after 4 months of cold storage. Calcium concentrations in fruit increased as crop load and CMD increased. Whole-canopy net CO2 exchange rate per fruit related better to fruit quality and calcium concentrations than either crop load or CMD alone, but was always a much worse predictor than local surface regressions. Low CMD and normally cropped trees had the highest crop value; lightly cropped trees had an intermediate crop value; while high CMD and normally cropped trees had the lowest crop economic value. Crop load should be considered when defining action thresholds for mites, and harvest schedules for apples should reflect crop load and mite populations on apple trees.
The effect of cover-crop management on growth and yield of `Bravo' cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. Capitata L.), `Market Pride' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), and `Mustang' snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) was determined. Each fall, `Wheeler' winter rye (Secale cereale L.) and `Oregon Crown' hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) were interseeded. The following spring, the cover crops were killed by either applying glyphosate and mowing (CC-G) or mowing and disking (CC-D). Trifluralin was preplant incorporated into bare ground as a conventional tillage (CT) treatment. In 1992 and 1993, a chicken (Gallus gallus L.) based fertilizer was applied to half the subplots. The greatest snap bean and cabbage yields were in CT. The system with the greatest tomato yields varied. In 1991, the greatest tomato yields were in the CT treatment, while in 1992 yields were greatest in the CT and CC-D treatments, and in 1993 the greatest yields were in CT and CC-G. Cabbage yields were greater in the fertilized than the unfertilized treatments. In 1992, infestations of diamondback moth, imported cabbageworm, and cabbage looper were greater in CT than in the CC-G treatment. Three years of the CC-G treatment increased soil organic matter from 3.07% to 3.48% and increased soil pH from 6.30 to 6.51, while neither changed in the CT. Chemical names used: N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine (glyphosate); 2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipro`pyl-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzenamine (trifluralin).
Flower color preference of western flower thrips [WFT (Frankliniella occidentalis) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)] was assessed by observing insect location after introduction into chambers containing four different colored flowers of each of three plant species: transvaal daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), matsumoto aster (Callistephus chinensis), and chrysanthemum (Dendranthema ×grandiflorum). Preference was based on the number of WFT adults found on each flower 72 hours after infestation. Significantly higher numbers of WFT were found on yellow transvaal daisy and yellow chrysanthemum. When these accessions were compared in a subsequent experiment, WFT displayed a significant greater preference for the yellow transvaal daisy. Visible and near infrared reflectance spectra of the flowers used in the study were measured to determine the presence of distinct spectral features that would account for the relative attractiveness of the flowers. Likewise, the reflectance spectra of three commercially available sticky cards (blue, yellow, and yellow with a grid pattern) that are used to trap or sample for WFT were compared to those of the flowers to determine any shared spectral features that would support observed WFT flower color preference. The observed similarity between the yellow transvaal daisy and yellow sticky card reflectance spectra supports the hypothesis that flower color contributes to attractiveness of WFT. In particular, the wavelengths corresponding to green-yellow (500 to 600 nm) seem to be responsible for attracting WFT. These findings also indicate that yellow sticky cards may be more appropriate in sampling for WFT than blue sticky cards. Although further research is needed, under the conditions of this study, yellow transvaal daisy appears to be a potentially useful trap crop for WFT.