University of Vermont

 Untitled Document

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

Priority Area: IPM Support for Plant Diagnostic Facilities

Click here for the Plant Diagnostic Clinic website


The PDC serves as the overarching resource providing diagnostic support for all the stakeholders and Priority area directors in the VT EIP. The stakeholders in these areas (and those not represented by the VT EIP priority areas) need access to timely, accurate and cost-effective diagnostics to make informed management decisions based on IPM strategies. The PDC serves commercial growers, Master Gardeners, home gardeners and the urban consumer by providing the critical first step in any IPM program, i.e., positive identification of the disease, insect or weed accompanied by non-biased IPM management recommendations. The 2016 PDC client survey results showed 91% of stakeholders who submitted a pest, weed or disease sample to the PDC used IPM strategies to manage their problem as a result of the diagnosis. Growers (34%) also indicated they reduced the use of pesticides as a result of the information they received from the Plant Diagnostic Clinic. The PDC team includes a plant pathologist, entomologist and weed specialist. New crop producers unfamiliar with pests and IPM are steadily increasing. These beginning growers often have limited background in agriculture and it is essential to have one facility in the state that growers can rely on to identify existing and emerging pests in a wide range of crops and provide IPM information for management decisions that minimize environmental, health and economic risks. With smart phones in the field, several growers now send pictures of the issues they are seeing and often can receive a diagnosis within minutes. The pest and disease samples coming into the PDC also drive the IPM information presented by Hazelrigg in newsletters, bi-weekly veg and berry listserves and at meetings and workshops throughout the year. Home gardeners and urban consumers represent expanding audiences requiring diagnostic and IPM information on current and emerging problems (spotted wing drosophila, onion leek moth, Swede midge, late blight, etc.) to avoid unnecessary pesticide use. The PDC also works closely with the MG Helpline volunteers (statewide toll-free resource for home gardeners with pest problems), to provide diagnostic backup for the hundreds of calls and samples/photos the Helpline volunteers receive each season from the gardening public. The PDC addresses several 2014 NEERA extension priorities: “increasing knowledge and tools for emerging and current pest and disease problems”; “increasing knowledge in cultural and alternative practices for management of current and emerging pests”; “increasing IPM resources created for the public including home gardeners and urban public”; and “IPM programs and tools for the (underserved) young farmer.” (2014 NEERA Priorities). The PDC represents Vermont’s interests in the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) and receives no operating funding other than the limited funds (~ $20,000/year) received from NPDN. All PDC samples are logged and uploaded to the NPDN National Repository so emerging insect, weed and disease problems of high significance can be nationally tracked. The PDC director attends all NPDN meetings and trainings and contributes to the New England Small Fruit and Vegetable IPM Pest Management Guides.

Approach  - 

1. Disease/Insect/Weed Diagnostics-The PDC will provide new and established stakeholders with rapid and accurate diagnosis and current IPM recommendations. Clients will include commercial growers in our Priority areas and those not included in these areas, Master Gardener Helpline volunteers, the gardening public and urban consumers. Approximately 600 samples per year will be processed with IPM recommendations that consider pollinator health.

2. Extension Outreach Education-The PDC director will present IPM information in at least 12 talks/workshops each year addressing current and emerging insect, weed and diseases using IPM tactics in commercial crops in Vermont and New England [VT Vegetable and Berry Growers Assoc., NE Vegetable and Fruit Conference, VT Tree Fruit and Grape Growers Assoc., the VT Greenworks Nursery/Landscape Assoc., NE Grows, VT grain grower annual meetings and field days plus organic association meetings]. The PDC will contribute a column, “From the PDC” to the bi-weekly VT vegetable and berry listserve (750 growers in VT and NE) on current insect/ disease problems on farms and in the PDC with IPM information. We will also provide Vermont information for the UMass Veg Notes on a weekly basis throughout the summer. The PDC will provide three “Across the Fence” television programs on insect, weed and disease outbreaks, id and IPM management strategies (daily farm and home TV show with over 20,000 viewers in VT, NY and Canada) and will also contribute to blogs, websites, webinars, press releases, articles and newsletters.

3. Program Support for IPM Communities (Master Gardener)-The PDC team will work closely with the MG Program to: provide three lectures for the MG Course; provide three Advanced Training webinars and corresponding IPM factsheets, in addition to contributing to Master Gardener blogs, websites, articles and newsletters geared to the home garden and consumer. The PDC team will provide all diagnostic backup for Helpline. (Please see evaluation of these outputs under the IPM for Communities, Master Gardener Program.)

Last modified September 22 2017 02:31 PM

Contact UVM © 2018 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131