Delaware IPM Report, 2019

NEERA meeting: May 1, 2019, College Park, MD

Contributors: Alyssa Koehler, Brian Kunkel, Rose Ogutu, David Owens, Mark VanGessel

Current State of IPM Staffing

The University of Delaware hired a new plant pathologist, Dr. Alyssa Koehler, in October of 2018. Alyssa’s program will focus on small grain, corn, and soybean diseases. Cooperative extension is in the process of hiring an open county agricultural agent position vacated in February 2019. Cooperative extension recently filled a new horticulture and natural resources agent position in Kent County.

Farmers, crop consultants, and allied industry and service sectors need to be aware of new pest management tactics and developments that impact management strategies. To meet this need, IPM programming was delivered at several meetings:

  • Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School – 246 participants comprised of crop consultants, extension, farmers, farm mangers, agribusiness, soil conservationists, and state department of agriculture and environmental personnel. One third of survey responders indicated that adopting a new practice learned during 2017’s Crop school helped implement reduced risk IPM tactics.
  • Delaware AgWeek
  • Carvel REC field day – 69 non-UD affiliated stakeholders, presentations by 17 UD and DSU personnel.
  • Cover Crop Field Days – two locations 2018 Delaware Weed Field Day
  • Herbicide Resistant Weeds Workshops – six half-day workshops were held in collaboration with University of Maryland and Virginia Tech extension focusing on management for herbicide resistant weeds such as palmer amaranth, common ragweed, and mare’s-tail, developing a weed management plan, and integrated management tactics.
  • USDA-NRCS and Sussex Conservation District Beginning Farmer’s Workshops.
  • Various agribusiness farmer meetings, including but not limited to, Providence Agriculture, Hudson Consulting, Trap Pond Agronomics, Scheeler Seed, and East Coast Seed.

Timely, in-field management updates are delivered through the Delaware Weekly Crop Update, a weekly circular that is sent to several hundred email recipients and in the mail to several subscribers. All IPM extension specialists in Delaware, and several from neighboring states, are regular contributors.

Status of EIPM Grant

Mr. Bill Cissel, funded through the state’s EIP grant, left the University for private work in March 2019. His core duties through the EIP grant are being assumed by the ag entomology and weed science programs. Demonstration efforts documenting the impact of different cover crop termination dates and strategies are in place at six locations in the state. The insect trapping network has been expanded to include early season moth pest activity monitoring to help support cover crop termination extension efforts. The trapping network for corn earworm is used extensively to make insect management decisions on vegetable crop pest management, including 12 of 25 survey respondents. The information delivered has helped prevent yield loss over large acreages, reduce insecticide use, and result in increased profits, especially by sweet corn producers.

Benchmark data was collected from farmers regarding their incorporation of cover crops into their farm system as well as beginning farmers, field crop and forage crop producers as to their pest management challenges. YouTube scouting videos on cereal leaf beetle were created. Cereal leaf beetle phenology model validation work is in progress; project information was shared at three meetings. 2018 populations were extremely low, but 2019 populations are higher.

Ornamental IPM programming is spearheaded by Brian Kunkel. Education efforts are targeted to the landscape professional industry, nursery operators, and master gardeners. Two demonstration gardens have been installed for tree planting and focus on bark beetles, ash borer, and emerald ash borer. Two student interns were trained in IPM scouting, pruning, and proper mulching, and three fact sheets are complete, soon to be printed and another is being prepared.

Urban Agriculture IPM programming implementation was delayed in 2018. Efforts are underway to provide management demonstrations to stakeholders. A session at AgWeek was devoted to protected structure IPM. Efforts are spearheaded by Dr. Rose Ogutu with Delaware State University. Workshops target small farmers, organic producers, and high tunnel producers. Needs addressed include weed prevention, companion plants, biological control and banker plant strategies, and other cultural tactics. The program worked closely with three high tunnel producers to implement IPM.

Core IPM Focus Areas 2019

Entomology. Agricultural entomology programming is focusing on watermelon, sweet corn, soybean, and wheat pest management. Major issues include spider mite and cucumber beetle management, corn earworm management, Dectes stem borer in soybean, prophylactic insecticide use demonstrations, and small grain pest complexes (aphids, armyworms, and cereal leaf beetle). Ornamental IPM ongoing programs include evaluating non-neonicotinoid products for managing difficult pests including whitefly, root mealybug, citrus mealybug. IR-4 support for slugs and redheaded flea beetle management and feeding preferences of the redheaded flea beetle. A key issue that the ornamental IPM program is involved with is interfacing with DDA on the spotted lanternfly response and conducting field efficacy trials of non-neonicotinoids in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Plant pathology. The field crops plant pathology program will conduct multiple pathogen surveys to assess disease levels across the state and build fungal culture collections for molecular identification of pathogens and future fungicide sensitivity assays. In soybean, nematode soil surveys also will be collected and sent for analysis to provide insight on the status of nematode populations in Delaware. The pathology program is part of the Soybean Cyst Nematode Coalition, a national initiative to educate producers about the breakdown in soybean host resistance to SCN occurring across the US. Field trials for fungicide efficacy data will be conducted in wheat (Fusarium head blight), soybean (foliar and stem pathogens), and corn (Grey leaf spot and Northern Corn Leaf Blight).

Weed science. Chemical and non-chemical weed management of herbicide resistant weeds, including palmer amaranth, mares tail, and ragweed, is a major extension and research focus area for both field and vegetable crops. Partnerships include Virginia Tech and USDA-ARS researchers examining technologies for weed seed destruction or management. Utilizing cover crops for weed management is another core research and extension focus, and is a component of Delaware’s EIPM program. Dicamba and allied trait management is an important research and extension focus area.