University of Vermont

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Vermont IPM: Integrated Pest Management for Vermont
“The Multi-disciplinary Vermont Extension Implementation Program Addressing Stakeholder Priorities and Needs for 2014-2017”

Priority Area: IPM Implementation in Agronomic Crops

Click here for the Vermont Crops and Soils website

Click here for the Northwest Crops and Soils Program website


Our region now has at least 7 flour mills, 4 malt houses, 2 food grade oil businesses, 18 distilleries, 65 microbreweries and dozens of bakeries using locally grown grains, oilseeds, and hops that are central to their business model. The need for locally grown organic and non-GMO feed grains has continued to increase in recent years. New England boasts highly developed organic dairy and vegetable sectors, yet lags well behind other regions for local grain production. Organic cereal grain acreage has increased in ME and VT, from 300 in 2008 to 3,500 acres in 2013 (MOFGA, LLC and VT Organic Farmers, L.L.C.), demonstrating our region’s potential for growth. The acreage of oilseed production has increased to 1,000 acres and the number of hop yards has grown from 5 to 100 within a few years. Pest management is a serious obstacle in the production of cereal grains, oilseed crops, and hops. Over the last five years, farmers throughout the northeast have experienced reduced grain yields and quality due to increased disease pressure from increased rain events. In 2013, farmers reported 25-50% yield and quality loss due to foliar diseases. Grain samples submitted to the UVM Cereal Grain testing lab indicate that 25- 40% of samples are routinely above the 1% DON (vomitoxin) threshold for human consumption. IPM strategies to manage Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) as well as other grain diseases in the region are critical (2014 NEERA Priority). In 2013, 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 2012 survey of oilseed growers in the northeast, respondents indicated their major concerns were birds, uneven stands, weeds, and lodging. 56% said they were interested in receiving more information about insect identification and management in order to grow a successful crop, and 56% said disease identification and management knowledge would increase their success. An annual stakeholder meeting of Northeast Hops growers has been held since 2011 to identify needs of the fledging northeast hop industry. Through this meeting, 92% percent of attendees identified weed, insect and/or disease control strategies as an important barrier to their hop operation’s success. The majority of hop growers have been identified as “beginning farmers” (2014 NEERA Priority) with little to no experience in the area of pest management. This has often led to growers spraying broad-spectrum pesticides without consideration of economic thresholds, beneficial arthropod populations, and other environmental risks. Unless we can overcome the disease and insect issues facing local and organic grain production, it will be hard for farmers to sustain their businesses. From this project, we will learn what disease and pests are plaguing northeast growers, farmers will learn to identify pests in their fields, they will learn if their seed sources are disease free, and they will learn the best agronomic practices to manage cereal grains, oilseeds, and hops to minimize pest damage. We will use the Plant Diagnostic Clinic for help in identifying disease, insect and weed problems in farmers’ fields. Our goal is to help farmers design robust local grain systems that successfully address pertinent pest challenges to produce a diversity of food and feed grains for expanding local grain markets.

Approach  - 

1. Two yearly Field Days highlighting grain, oilseed, and hops pest management trials, scouting strategies, and pest identification tools. We expect at least 50 stakeholders at each event.

2. Three yearly Winter Conferences on pests, diseases, weeds and IPM specific to grain, oilseed, and hops. Webinars will be streamed live from each event ( This event will allow for evaluation of farmers to determine if the project has met impact goals. We expect at least 150 stakeholders at each event.

3. Web Resources. We will post conference proceedings and meeting videos to our website ( Six pest management information briefs will be published over the course of the granting period, and posted on the UVM Extension hops blog “What’s Hoppening”. Hop blogs will include posts related to pest scouting, pest identification and pest management techniques (crowning, and weed control). Two YouTube videos will be developed; how to reduce downy mildew and cultural weed control strategies. All videos will be posted on the UVM Extension Crops and Soils website and YouTube channel.

4. Grain Disease survey 2015 and 2016. Survey 20 New England farms for foliar disease. UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic will diagnose plant samples. Photographs and information will go in outreach materials. Where FHB is suspected, 100 head samples will be tested at the UVM Cereal Grain Testing lab.

5. Loose smut seed lot testing. 100 farmers will be contacted and offered loose smut testing. Farmers will be sent results and info on how to reduce loose smut in fields and seed lots. The goal is to have farmers consider purchasing certified seed to replace their seed lot if loose smut is present.

6. Three guides to pests in New England. Guides for oilseeds, grains, and hops will be completed by 2017 and posted online and will include pest id, lifecycle and management tools. A “Hopyard Insect Guide” (NE IPM Center grant) will be updated with new information.


Last modified May 10 2017 01:54 PM

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