Maryland IPM Report, 2023
Submitted by Kelly Hamby, Maryland IPM Coordinator
Maryland (MD) is a heavily urbanized, densely populated state bordering the Chesapeake Bay. Agriculture is the largest single land use in the state, with 32% of MD’s total land area used for farming. The proximity between agriculture, environmentally sensitive areas, and human populations necessitates the implementation of sustainable IPM practices that reduce risks to human health and the environment. We serve a diverse population producing numerous agricultural commodities.
Leveraging connections within the state and beyond, we work to provide timely research-based IPM information that is responsive to stakeholder needs and anticipates emerging issues. We use a breadth of in person and media delivery mechanisms, working to extend our reach and additionally target underserved populations.
Outputs and Impacts
Our green industry team delivered multiple intensive training events and workshops, including a biological control conference, a cut flower short course, an advanced landscape IPM short course, in addition to shorter presentations. Over 2,000 stakeholders were reached with in person content. Documented impacts include improvements in stakeholder’s ability to monitor for pests, identify and diagnose plant damage and insect pests, identify natural enemies, and select reduced risk pesticides. A survey of IPM Landscape and Nursery Report readership (n = 515) indicated that 88% of respondents improved their pest and disease diagnostic skills, 58% were more likely to use “alternative” pest management (soaps, oils, biological controls, cultural practices), 77% improved their recognition of beneficial insects, and 66% changed their management practices as a result of recognizing beneficials.
UMD’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) delivered 83% of the top 500 most-viewed University of Maryland Extension web resources and answered 6,010 questions in 2022. Of the 1,288 people surveyed, 94% felt more confident about handling their issue as a result of the answer they received, 70% intended to change a practice or behavior, and 47% intended to manage a weed, plant disease, or other pest problem without using pesticides. In addition, Maryland Grows received the 2022 Northeast Region Online Communications category award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. The Maryland General Assembly passed HB991 during the 2021 season to support and encourage public and private tree-planting efforts, with a goal of planting and maintenance of 5 million native trees by 2031. 500,000 of these trees must be planted in underserved areas. Our team has been providing valuable expertise to these efforts, including a consolidated native tree list with recommendations to help make informed planting decisions.
Our pollinator team has developed diverse demonstration and educational resources including apiaries for honey bee health monitoring, farm floral supplementation plantings, and pollinator gardens. In addition, educational resources on pollination including 4 lesson plans for 4H camps and 9 Maryland Grows blog posts have been produced.
Fruit and Vegetables
Demonstration plots were highlighted in the Maryland State Horticultural Society summer tour in 2021. A new Listserv was developed for apple growers that delivered 9 posts on apple maturity and quality. Three peer-reviewed fact sheets, 4 newsletter articles, and 11 presentations were also provided.
Demonstrations highlighting variety selection, fertility, pest monitoring, and management (insects, pathogens, and weeds) in wheat, corn, and soybeans were developed and maintained for multiple field day events. Over 2,000 direct participants were reached with in person content, and multiple articles were published in outlets that reach over 3,000 readers.
Extension in Spanish
One fruit and vegetable presentation given in Spanish to ~65 people, blog posts approximately twice a month that are reaching a growing readership of more than 3,000 people. Members from each team have been contributing. For example, 8 blogs on pollination, one on assessing risk of household chemicals, and a blog on the 5,000,000 trees project.
Training the Next Generation
Teams continue to include undergraduate and graduate students in their Extension efforts. Beyond the many hands on applied technical skills students built, they also presented and authored Extension outputs, including first author peer-reviewed fact sheets. More than 15 undergraduate, 12 graduate, and 2 post-doctoral trainees were involved in our programming.