University of Vermont

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Vermont IPM: Integrated Pest Management for Vermont
“Vermont IPM Extension Implementation Program: 2017-2020”

Priority Area: IPM Implementation in Agronomic Crops

Click here for the Northwest Crops and Soils Program website


Our region now has 7 flour mills, 8 malt houses, 2 food grade oil businesses, 3 tortilleria, 18 distilleries, 120 microbreweries and dozens of other local food businesses using locally grown grains, beans, oilseeds, and hops. The need for locally grown organic and non-GMO feed grains has continued to increase and although New England boasts highly developed organic dairy and vegetable sectors, it lags behind other regions for local grain production. Organic grain (cereal, oilseed, and legume) acreage has increased in New England, from 800 in 2008 to 6,500 acres in 2016 (USDA NASS) demonstrating our region’s potential for growth. The number of Vermont farms growing organic dry beans more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, contributing to Vermont’s agricultural income (USDA, 2014). Pest management is a serious obstacle in the production of cereal grains, dry beans, and oilseed crops. Over the last five years, farmers throughout the Northeast have experienced reduced yields and quality due to intense disease pressure related to increased rain events. In 2013, farmers reported 25-50% yield and quality loss due to cereal foliar diseases. In 2015, grain samples submitted to the UVM Cereal Grain testing lab indicated 25- 40% of samples are above the 1% DON (vomitoxin) threshold for human consumption. IPM strategies to manage Fusarium Head Blight as well as other grain diseases in the region are critical (2014 NEERA Priority). In 2015, we found a high incidence of loose smut in wheat variety trials as a result of infested seed lots. Testing of farmers’ seed lots will be essential to keep this disease from further damaging organic grain production. In a 2016 survey of oilseed growers in the Northeast, 85% said they were interested in receiving more information about avian and insect id and management to grow a successful crop and 75% said disease identification and management knowledge would increase their success. Managing diseases is a main challenge of organic dry bean growers. Seedborne pathogens provide a source of destructive diseases and limiting these pathogens before sowing can reduce common root rots in addition to foliar, pod and seed diseases. Limiting seedborne diseases in one season also reduces the amount of disease carried in seed for next year’s crop, an important consideration for seed companies and farmers who choose to save their own seed. In 2016, multiple farmers reported yellow and stunted dry beans resulting in 50-100% yield loss. The UVM PDC identified two seedborne diseases, Anthracnose and Aschochyta blight. Starting with certified and/or disease free seed grown on farm will help these farms avoid these destructive diseases and remain viable. There are over 350 acres of hops in the Northeast, expanding yearly with new growers. At our 2016 Hop Conference, 51% of growers indicated more information on disease and arthropod pest management would help them increase yield. This is a new industry in the Northeast and growers are asking for introductory IPM education, which will have a direct and significant impact on regional hop yield. The majority of hop growers are identified as “beginning farmers” (2014 NEERA Priority) with little to no experience in pest management. This has led to growers spraying broad-spectrum pesticides without consideration of economic thresholds, beneficial arthropod populations, and other environmental risks. In this project we will identify the disease and pests that challenge northeast growers. Farmers will learn to identify pests in their fields and learn if their seed sources are disease free. They will learn the best agronomic practices to minimize pest damage and we will promote the UVM PDC for help in identifying disease, insect and weed problems in farmers’ fields. Our goal is to help farmers design robust local grain and hop systems that successfully address pertinent pest challenges to produce a diversity of food and feed grains for expanding local grain markets.

Approach  - 

1. Field Days and Winter Conferences-We will offer three yearly Field Days (~50 farmers/event) and two yearly Winter Conferences (~150 stakeholders/event) highlighting grain, oilseed, beans and hops pest management trials, IPM scouting strategies, and pest identification tools. We will live-stream each of the winter conferences on our website.

2. Dry Bean Disease Survey-In 2018 and 2019, twenty northeast dry bean farms will be surveyed for seedborne and non-seedborne foliar diseases throughout the growing season with the information provided weekly to the grower. Photos and information from surveying will also be produced in outreach materials for all growers. Unknown diseases will be brought to the UVM PDC for diagnosis.

3. Seed Quality Testing-50 farmers will be offered seed quality testing each year over three years. Results with information on how to reduce pathogens in seed lots will be sent to the grower to promote certified seed use or cleaning of seed when disease is present.

4. Extension Outreach Education-Conference proceedings and meeting videos will be posted to our website. Two IPM Briefs will be published/year and posted on the UVM Extension crop “What’s Cropping Up” and hops blog “What’s Hoppening” with scouting info, id and IPM strategies for a broad range of crops. A Dry Bean IPM guide will be created and posted online including pest id, lifecycle and management tools by 2020. Previous guides (hops, oilseeds, cereal grains) will be updated with new information. New innovative outreach techniques will be launched and will include: goScout Action Survey-hop growers will be surveyed (2x/month) by mobile device to help them scout and id pests. The results of the survey will help focus an ID Hour where critical pest information identified by the farmers is discussed to improve scouting. The monthly ID Hour meeting will be offered by webinar during the growing season and will include current issues and picture sharing, IPM action with question and discussion time. Two Virtual Reality (VR) video environments (with 3600 camera and mobile app platform) will be developed for growers as aides for insect/disease identification. Immersive VR is a 3D, computer-generated environment where participants use specialized headsets (aka optical head-mounted displays, Oculus Rift) to explore and manipulate virtual objects. Emerging research suggests VR can be an effective teaching strategy with adult students (Heydarian et al., 2015; Freina and Ott, 2015; Du and Arya, 2015).


Last modified September 22 2017 02:40 PM

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