B.C. expands coverage of pest management decision aid software
July 11, 2022 ByAlex Barnard
More British Columbian tree-fruit growers and their orchards will benefit from time-sensitive advice about pest management as B.C.-adapted software becomes available in the Kootenays, which will help stabilize the sector and strengthen B.C.’s food security.
“Ensuring we have a strong tree-fruit sector that is resilient to climate change is important to our government, and we are working collaboratively to achieve this,” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture and food. “By expanding the use of this world-class technology, we are getting important information into the hands of Creston Valley growers, so they can continue to provide British Columbians with their delicious and high-quality tree fruit.”
The B.C. Decision Aid System (DAS) has been used in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys to maximize the efficiency of pest-management practices and fruit production. Expanding the system to the Kootenay region will help create a more resilient and connected food system, and support the sector in becoming more competitive on the global stage.
“Our commitment to producing high-quality fruit and our dedication to sustainable agriculture is greatly assisted by B.C. DAS,” said Kevin Day, co-owner of Day’s Century Growers. “Integrated pest management is a model that has been followed on this farm for many years, and B.C. DAS assists us in achieving our goals.
“The weather stations allow us to make decisions based on the information and recommendations provided, and this enables us to deal with the problems in such a way as to maintain balance in the orchard between good bugs and bad bugs, benefiting the ecosystem for all.”
Five new provincially funded weather stations in the Creston area will collect and integrate data used to forecast insect population trends so growers can better prepare for and respond to any pest-management issues. Growers will be offered software training to help them adapt to using the system, and data trends provide a vital link for management and pesticide recommendations. Since 2018, DAS has collected daily forecasts from 20 Okanagan weather stations.
“We are excited to expand access to this technology to the Kootenays, which has been made possible through the advocacy of Fields Forward and the generous support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food,” said Melissa Tesche, general manager of the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program. “It’s been a number of tough years for tree-fruit growers, and agritech systems, like B.C. DAS, can help our growers produce better fruit with fewer environmental impacts. We look forward to continued collaboration with all project partners, old and new.”
B.C. DAS is a collaboration between industry partners, including the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program, B.C. Tree Fruits, B.C. Cherry Association, B.C. Fruit Growers Association, and the provincial and federal governments.
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