Massachusetts IPM Report, 2020

NEERA meeting: May 12, 2020

Hilary A. Sandler, State IPM Coordinator

Emerging Pests and Scouting

Emerging Pests that Affect Multiple Specialty Crops

  • For BMSB, MA sites were checked weekly in 2018. All data were shared with MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and UMass Extension. “Ghost” traps, an attract-and-kill strategy consisting of the BMSB pheromone and insecticide-treated netting, were deployed where BMSB numbers exceeded apple management threshold levels.
  • SWD monitoring, research, and demonstrations took place at various farms. Findings were reported via IPM Berry Blast and Healthy Fruit newsletters as well as social media platforms.
  • Due to the successful establishment of a parasitoid population, winter moth infestations were not a concern in 2018–19. Scale populations in cranberry continue to escalate at rates of high concern. We diagnosed 24 samples and made 10 site visits to diagnose scale in 2018. Scale pressure for 2019 is high; we have already collected 60 samples and made 30 bog visits. We have a visiting expert to assist in documenting species and distribution (June 2019). We continue to monitor for Japanese knotweed infestations.

Advanced Apple IPM

  • Five sites with weather stations were set up in MA, CT and VT to validate apple scab models used in Decision Support Systems (DSS); it compared spore and infection observations.
  • Growers were trained on model output use.

Brassica IPM

  • 3 replicated field trials were conducted at the UMass Agronomy Farm. Trials included: mulches to reduce flea beetle damage and improve yield and attracting beneficial insects to reduce cabbage aphid population size.
  • A website was setup through another grant program to house factsheets, research reports, webinars (415 views), and other resources.
  • Scouting of brassicas occurred regularly on 11 farms in 2018.
  • 8 factsheets and research reports were published online. 3 articles were published in Veg Notes and pest alerts were published weekly, and 1 field day was held, 45 attendees.

Efficacy of Organic Pesticides

  • 1 replicated study was conducted at UMass Agronomy farm using beneficial nematode products for control of flea beetle compared to an OMRI-approved standard treatment.
  • 3 presentations were given on organic pesticide efficacy focus, 24 issues of Vegetable notes and 3 Plant Disease/Arthropod Management Reports were published.
  • 6 on-farm demonstrations of the effectiveness of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) for biological control of plum curculio larvae in the soil were conducted in 2018.

Outreach and Training Activities

Training Scouts and IPM Implementation on Mentor Farms

  • We hosted our annual Advisory Group meeting for the EIP grant, March 29, 2019, 28 attendees. We recruited Mentor and Partner Farms.
  • Intake interviews and evaluations with 11 Mentor Farms were done in 2018. Intakes and scouting has started with 10 farms for 2019.
  • Employees were trained in scouting procedures during biweekly visits.

Provide Timely and Accurate Specialty Crop Disease/Pest Diagnostics

  • Cranberry scale identification was a high diagnostic priority in 2018–19.
  • Pest diagnostics, fungicide efficacy, and forecasting are consistently the focus of our outreach programs and field day events.

Conduct Workshops and Training on Special Topics

  • We held 5 train-the-trainer sessions, 278 attendees.
  • We provided 35 one-on-one consultations to receive Pesticide Certification.
  • We provided hands-on respirator training and fit tests to 14 growers and made presentations on regulations regarding respirators, 175 attendees.
  • We trained 57 workers on Worker Protection Standards (11 workshops).
  • We conducted one workshop at UMass Agronomy Farm regarding bee conservation, covering insectary plantings and reducing use of chlorothalonil, 45 attendees.
  • We conducted 6 workshops on nutrient management, 353 attendees.
  • We provided one-on-one consulting for 28 growers regarding resistance management.
  • We conducted one workshop on SWD management, 50 attendees.
  • We conducted 3 workshops on organic pesticide efficacy, 190 attendees.

Bridge Language Barriers

  • We conducted a needs survey but the response was low (13). We started development on a plan to create new resources, translate existing resources, and compile existing resources.

Weed Management

  • We conducted a weed management workshop for organic vegetable farmers, 40 attendees.
  • We held a program on weed management in no-till systems, 50 attendees.

Promote Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP)

  • We worked with MDAR to make improvements to the CQP audit checklist.
  • MDAR inspectors attended 5 Vegetable Winter School workshops.
  • We made 5 presentations regarding CQP, 74 attendees.

Technology Development

Digital Recordkeeping

  • Use of a difficult programming language and security hurdles within the UMass system hampered the transfer of the program maintenance to UMass IT as well as the development, promotion and use of the electronic scouting system. Key personnel left the project.

Optimizing Technology Utilization on Specialty Crop Farms

  • A fact sheet was produced to introduce specialty crop farmers to FAA regulations and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
  • 1 presentation was made to blueberry farmers regarding use of precision agriculture and UAS on their farms, 159 attendees.
  • 3 presentations given to cranberry growers regarding use of thermal cameras and UAS, 315 attendees.
  • We published a fact sheet on the use of solar technology on cranberry farms.

Using Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE)

  • 30 Farms participated in a pest scouting network of sweet corn pests and squash vine borer.
  • 3 interns were trained in iPiPE and provided support for the project.

Weather Stations and Sensors

  • We coordinated a network of 26 RainWise and Onset weather stations.
  • Communications with growers about stations and data were accompanied with advice and questions about IPM and decision support systems (DSS).
  • ~50 tree fruit growers are steady users of models for apple scab disease, fire blight disease, and summer diseases as well as plum curculio, apple maggot, and other insects.

Professional Development

Business Management and IPM Decision Making

  • Resource economists provided mentoring to extension members to include economic analysis in 2 research trials, and worked with 2 growers to include IPM goals related to business management through our Mentor program.

Information Technology (IT) Professional Development

  • Team members were trained in MyIPM app development and worked with other IPM specialists to disseminate the information to stakeholders.
  • 5 webinars were held on Brassica IPM.
  • We participated in the App guy update: MyIPM, Malusim, EcoApple, and NETFMG, New England, New York and Canada IPM Working Group.