A three-year project to help Iowa growers gain experience with reduced-pesticide disease and insect management tactics begins this month. The project, funded by grants from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the USDA, enables growers to compare specified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tactics with their standard pest-control tactics on their own farms. The IPM tactics selected are all well tested and relatively inexpensive. Crop scouts, coordinated by ISU Extension plant pathologist Mark Gleason and entomogist Donald Lewis, will assist the cooperating growers in monitoring weather conditions, populations of insect pests, and results of the trials.
In 1993, apples and strawberries are the targeted crops. A total of 18 growers are working with IPM tactics for management of fire blight, apple scab, and codling moth on apple, as well as gray mold and tarnished plant bug on strawberry. For example, a trial using the computer program MARYBLYT to guide the timing of streptomycin sprays for fire blight control will include 16 of these growers. The scouting efforts are concentrated in central Iowa this year, but will be expanded to east-central and west-central Iowa in 1994 and 1995, respectively, and the range of crops will be broadened to include tomatoes and potatoes.
We will share the findings of these trials, as well as reactions of the participants, in the HHPN and at winter meetings in 1993-94, including the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association annual meeting in February 1994.
Please call Mark Gleason (515-294-0579) or Donald Lewis (515-294-1101) if you have any questions or comments about this project.
This article originally appeared in the April 14, 1993 issue, p. 45.