Massachusetts IPM Report, 2021

NEERA meeting: April 23, 2021

Hilary A. Sandler, State IPM Coordinator

Specialty Crops IPM Team: Jon Clements, Liz Garofalo, Katie Ghantous, Genevieve Higgins, Lisa McKeag, Bill Miler, Bernie Morzuch, Jaime Pinero, Sue Scheufele, Mary Sylvia, Lindsey Ware, Ryan Wicks

Emerging Pests and Scouting

Emerging Pests that Affect Multiple Specialty Crops

  • 12 MA sites were checked weekly for BMSB. Data were shared with MDAR and UMass Extension. “Ghost” traps, the novel “attract-and-kill” strategy (BMSB pheromone and insecticide-treated netting), were deployed on 5 partner farms to determine fruit damage reduction viability at harvest.
  • Implemented SWD monitoring system comparing diluted grape juice vs. 3 commercial lures. Findings were reported via IPM Berry Blast, Healthy Fruit newsletters and social media.
  • Collaborated in augmented mapping information distribution network (iPiPE, now AgPest/EddMaps).
  • Monitored scale populations on 28 cranberry farms, processed 218 vine samples and addressed emerging vegetable pests including Allium leafminer fly and downy mildews (DM) in lettuce and spinach. Provided management information via newsletters, workshops, fact sheets and IPM alerts.
  • Conducted 1 replicated trial evaluating DM resistant varieties of spinach for NE winter production.

Advanced Apple IPM

  • Achieved implementation of grower-sufficient fireblight (FB) risk management. Growers received timely alerts and consistent monitoring during the transition.
  • Conducted apple scab (AS) spore observations at UMass Cold Spring Orchard to determine duration of primary spore availability. Compared observations to model estimates of ascospore maturity.
  • Monitored and ID’d apple foliage for the emerging disease, Marssonina leaf blotch.
  • Trained growers on AS and FB model output use; AS spore observations are on-going.
  • Consistently demonstrated effectiveness of semiochemical based attract-and-kill strategies for plum curculio (PC) and other key pests of stone and pome fruit within and outside MA.
  • Assessed pathogenic nematodes suppression for PC ground-dwelling stages in commercial farms.
  • Held field workshops to demonstrate IPM tools, such as attracticidal spheres for apple maggot management, and control options for FB-sensitive crops.
  • Results from applied research projects were presented to growers at state and regional meetings and through UMass Extension publications (e.g., Healthy Fruit, Fruit Notes).

Brassica IPM

  • Our network of 5 researchers in 4 states worked with 15 growers to implement best management practice in brassicas, and conducted 9 replicated trials on alternative pest management strategies.
  • Wrote 10 newsletter articles, fact sheets and reports; conducted 5 webinars with live attendance and video views totaling >1,047 growers and service providers; held 3 field days with 150 attendees.

Efficacy of Organic Pesticides

  • Conducted replicated trials evaluating host-resistance to manage plant diseases without use of pesticides, a valuable strategy for organic growers whose choices of fungicides are very limited.
  • We trained 10 undergraduate students on organic pest management, focusing on insect monitoring techniques, scouting, and organic management of key apple and vegetable pests.

Outreach and Training Activities

Training scouts and IPM implementation on Mentor Farms

  • We hosted our annual Advisory Group meeting for the EIP grant on March 9, 2020. We discussed priorities for the fourth year of the project (18 attendees).
  • We regularly visited 14 Mentor Farms to scout, assess problems, and provide hands-on training for IPM techniques and pest identification. Growers were interviewed at the beginning and end of the season to determine implementation success and challenges. Intakes and scouting in 2020 are temporarily reduced due to State and University COVID-19 regulations.

Conduct Workshops and Training on Special Topics

  • Conducted one workshop on SWD identification and management (50 attendees).
  • Published the 28th Annual March Message, providing information on cutting-edge research- based pest control, including recent research and potential future directions to MA and NE fruit tree growers. It discusses IPM issues within and outside the U.S.
  • Developed a new IPM fact sheet series for various tree fruit and small fruit crops.
  • Held 8 twilight meetings (300 attendees) and one field day (110 attendees).
  • Conducted 4 WPS trainings (42 attendees) and worked with MDAR and UMass pesticide programs to host 1 WPS train-the-trainer session. We provided 9 Pesticide Certification consultations.
  • We held a “how-to” diagnostics workshop for growers (35 attendees).
  • We did one-on-one trainings and education on resistance management (53 attendees).
  • 20 workshops and trainings were held (840 attendees) targeting organic growers, nutrient management, bee conservation, with other subjects addressed as dictated by grower needs.

Weed Management (65% complete)

  • Secured registration of a new herbicide in cranberry, expanding mode of action options.
  • Screened 5 novel herbicides (greenhouse) to identify products for priority IR-4 projects.
  • Conducted 5 workshops to promote effective weed IPM on specialty crop farms (1287 attendees).
  • Conducted 1 Partner Farm project (pronamide on new cranberry vines) and weed IPM support was provided to fruit and vegetable growers via field walks, newsletter articles, pest alerts, and workshops.
  • Published 2 fact sheets: moss biology and dodder management.
  • Developed and delivered a weed identification quiz at a regional meeting to determine growers’ ability to accurately identify problem weeds on farm (80 respondents).

Bridge Language Barriers

  • We evaluated survey responses and worked with collaborating institutions (CISA) and farmers to prioritize production of Spanish-language resources.
  • Created a general Spanish-resource page, with vegetable production resources, and a Food Safety page, listing specifically food safety-related resources; all vetted by the UMass Translation Center.

Promote Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP)

  • Our Vegetable and Fruit Teams partnered with MDAR in on-farm and classroom trainings, field walks and twilight meetings to prepare inspectors/auditors to use the IPM checklists.
  • Work on the Cranberry CQP was completed and is posted on MDAR website.

Technology Development

Digital Recordkeeping

  • Team members continued to seek software/platforms to serve this need, investigating versatility of Farm Dog app and AgPest/EddMaps to determine feasibility of record keeping in those platforms.

Optimizing Technology Utilization on Specialty Crop Farms

  • Conducted 1 educational workshop on the use of thermal cameras (125 attendees).
  • Held 1 workshop on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in cranberry (10 attendees).
  • Published 1 fact sheet on agrivoltaic panels on cranberry farms and initiated a research project to collect preliminary environmental and plant data with a plywood prototype.
  • Reviewed 16 proposals for dual-use of solar energy on specialty crop farms; 10 were approved.
  • Three DTN© Smart Traps were used at UMass Cold Spring Orchard and 1 commercial orchard to remote monitor oriental fruit moth (OFM), codling moth (CM), and obliquebanded leafroller (OBLR).
  • Utilized MyIPM workgroup session to leverage phones for creating phone-friendly apps.
  • Installed 8 new weather stations with microclimate sensor potential.

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

  • We installed monitoring systems and gathered information on Collaborator farms. Information shared with our regional Extension colleagues to inform IPM decisions across state lines.
  • 1 undergraduate scout was trained in scouting (Veg) and reported data to iPIPE weekly.

Weather Stations and Sensors

  • Communications with growers about stations and data were accompanied with advice and questions about IPM and decision support systems (DSS) as supported by the NEWA platform.
  • Approximately 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.
  • Produced 1 video on using NEWA to determine apple scab infection risk and access weather forecast.
  • Maintained 31 weather stations.

Professional Development

Business Management and IPM Decision Making

  • Extension Team Members worked with resource economists and growers to guide our examination of factors that influence whole-farm management decisions.
  • We hosted a workshop on enterprise budget development (18 attendees).

Information Technology (IT) Professional Development

  • Extension personnel held 10 virtual grower workshops (ca. 650 attendees).
  • Veg and Fruit Teams use Instagram and Facebook, respectively, to promote grower connectivity.
  • We were trained in MyIPM app development and disseminated information to stakeholders.
  • Conducted 3 fruit-growing webinars (195 attendees). Video presentations posted to YouTube.
  • Initiated Podcast component to Healthy Fruit.

Assessing Change in Behavior and Condition from IPM Extension Efforts (50% complete)

  • Improved evaluation process to capture increasing knowledge and confidence in implementing IPM, as well as longer-term impacts.
  • Highlighted costs of labor and different management strategies during Mentor Farmer evaluations.
  • Two growers adopted the use of synthetic lures and perimeter-row applications of insecticide mixed with sugar as a phagostimulant for reduced-input management of apple maggot fly. Insecticide applications were reduced by at least 70%.