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October 5, 2016, Guelph, Ont – A potato IPM training module has been launched and can be found on the Ontario CropIPM website.
The module is a great educational tool with information for the common insect pests, diseases, viruses and disorders of potatoes in Ontario. For each pest or disease, summarized information can be found in the Beginner tab and more detailed information can be found under the Advanced tab. In the “often confused with” section of the entries you can view side-by-side photos of insects, disease, and disorders that cause similar symptoms. You can also find more information on soil diagnostics, weed identification, herbicide injury, and links to additional resources.
Make sure to bookmark the page today and use it as a resource for any IPM and pest related issues on potatoes.
April 28, 2016, Charlottetown, PEI – Christine Noronha, an entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Charlottetown Research and Development Centre, has designed an environmentally green trap that could be a major breakthrough in the control of wireworms, an increasingly destructive agricultural pest on Prince Edward Island and across Canada.
In this exslusive webinar hosted by Potatoes in Canada magazine, Christine will share details about the Noronha Elaterid Light Trap (NELT). Don't miss the opportunity to ask questions and learn more from Christine Noronha.
Date: May 12, 2016
Time: 2 p.m. ADT (1 p.m. EDT)
March 14, 2016, Prince Edward Island – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada entomologist Dr. Christine Noronha has designed a simple and environmentally green trap using hardware store items that could be a major breakthrough in the control of wireworms, an increasingly destructive agricultural pest on PEI and across Canada./span>
The Noronha Elaterid Light Trap, or “NELT”, is made with three pieces - a small solar-powered spotlight, a plastic white cup and a piece of screening. The light is set close to the ground to attract the source of the wireworms, the female click beetles that emerge from the ground in May and June. Each of these beetles can lay between 100 and 200 eggs that produce the larvae known as wireworms. In a six-week test with 10 traps, more than 3,000 females were captured in the plastic cups, preventing the birth of up to 600,000 wireworms. The screening prevents beneficial predator insects from being caught in the trap.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Office of Intellectual Property is trademarking the trap name and design and work is underway to find a manufacturer who might be interested in mass-producing the trap.
The NELT is the latest in a series of wireworm control measures being developed by a team that includes Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the PEI Potato Board, the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Cavendish Farms, the PEI Horticultural Association, growers and consulting agronomists. Wireworms live in the soil and drill their way through tuber and root crops like potatoes and carrots. The PEI Potato Board estimated wireworm damage to the province’s potato crop alone at $6 million in 2014.
To learn more about the NELT, be sure to sign up for an exclusive webinar with Christine Noronha, hosted by Potatoes in Canada magazine, on May 12.
March 1, 2016 - A new invasive vinegar fly is threatening Ontario’s soft-skinned berry and tender fruit crops. But thanks to the Ontario Farm Innovation Program (OFIP), researchers and farmers are learning more about Spotted Wing Drosophila and how they can keep the pest from destroying their fruit.
Unlike common vinegar flies that are attracted to spoiled fruit, Spotted Wing Drosophila goes after healthy fruit just before harvest. It lays eggs underneath the skin of intact fruit, and as the larvae feed, the fruit tissue breaks down and becomes soft and leaky, resulting in decreased fruit quality and yield.
“Spotted Wing Drosophila has been on the radar in North America since 2010 and it was first identified in Ontario late that year following identification in other provinces and in the United States,” explains Hannah Fraser, horticulture entomology program lead with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“It’s a new pest so we lacked a lot of knowledge on how it behaves in Ontario and how it moves across the landscape,” she adds. “And growers lacked awareness of the pest such as how to manage it and what kind of damage it can do. It takes a long time to learn about a new pest and we collaborate with researchers across Canada, the United States and Europe.”
Fraser and other researchers gathered information on the population dynamics of the fly in Ontario, investigated techniques to track risk and assess management strategies, and developed a platform for timely and efficient communication to growers and consultants.
Baited traps were used to monitor activity in all of Ontario’s major fruit growing areas. Weekly fruit samples were collected at some sites to track infestation levels. Salt tests with ripe fruit were used as a quick method to assess infestation levels at harvest and gauge the effectiveness of pest management strategies.
“The early regions of discovery are in Southwestern Ontario and Niagara, but we have found them as far north as New Liskeard,” says Fraser. “Through weekly blogs and newsletters, we can let growers know when Spotted Wing Drosophila is active and can recommend control measures they can take.”
This includes making changes to crop management, such as tightening of picking schedules, crop sanitation, well-timed insecticide sprays, and better post-harvest handling to preserve fruit quality.
Fraser says although they’re still learning about the pest, the information gathered so far has increased understanding of its behaviour in Ontario and helped growers manage its presence here.
In addition to trapping for adults, fruit should also be sampled at harvest to determine whether the fly is present on-farm and to avoid sending infested fruit to market, and salt water tests will help determine whether changes to sanitation or spraying schedules should be made, Fraser says.
“Because of research we’ve been able to do through this project, growers can strengthen pest management to avoid catastrophic loss and continue to produce great quality berries. If you don’t manage this pest, you can lose your crop,” she adds.
For the Ontario Berry Growers, the OFIP support was invaluable. Research into emerging pests is cost prohibitive for individual growers and allowing the organization to access funds to address this immediate, on-farm research need on behalf of all growers in the province means information can be gathered and shared quickly and effectively.
Feb. 29, 2016, Ontario – Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says the 2016 provincial budget continues to expand on growth on innovation and the agri-food sector, with a specific priority of investing in rural infrastructure. | READ MORE
December 9, 2015 - Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) have received a $173,151 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study novel, non-spray control methods for invasive fruit pests.
The two-year project will examine the use of small nylon pouches that hang from trees and/or bushes. The pouches are treated with insecticides and filled with attractants such as pheromones or food to lure and kill the insects on contact.
Organic pest management expert Matthew Grieshop, tree fruit entomologist Larry Gut and postdoctoral research associate Juan Huang will examine the use of these pouches on three pests:
- Spotted-wing drosophila is a small vinegar fly native to east Asia that was first detected in California in 2008. Since then, the pest has spread across the country, damaging tree fruit crops and costing growers an estimated $700 million per year.
- Brown marmorated stink bug, also from Asia, attacks fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops in Michigan and around North America.
- Codling moth, native to Eurasia, is the primary pest facing the apple industry in Michigan.
The project will allow researchers to determine which attractants work best and how long each pest must be in contact with the insecticide to receive a lethal dose. Grieshop indicated that the project model was taken from research conducted with mosquito netting.
“We’ve been working on the attract-and-kill project for three seasons,” Grieshop said. “It was originally funded by MSU’s Project GREEEN [Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs] and commodity groups. The first season was really the development and testing of the technique. The second was working with various pests such as Japanese beetle and Oriental fruit moth. It has worked well, and we’ve gotten great data. We hope to have the same type of success with these other pests.”
Laboratory testing and fieldwork will be conducted. Researchers must determine in the lab how long each species needs to be exposed to the insecticide to suffer 100 percent mortality. Then, in the field, cameras will monitor wild insects’ interactions with the nylon bags.
The initial work isn’t compatible with organic farming because the test insecticide is not National Organic Program (NOP)-compliant. However, eventually the researchers want to determine if NOP-compliant insecticides could be substituted.
“My hope is that, by expanding our attract-and-kill technique to more pests, we can identify some key insect behavioral characteristics that can predict whether this type of approach is likely to succeed for many pests,” Grieshop said. “The most exciting aspect of this pest management technique is that, by bringing the pest to the insecticide rather than broadcasting the insecticide and hoping that the insect will contact it, we are developing pest management tactics that are both economically and environmentally conscious.”
September 3, 2015, St. Paul, MN — Since 1988, the Compendium of Grape Diseases has been one of the most vital and prolific resources on grape disease management in the English language. The book has helped thousands of vineyard owners and their staff to identify and treat grape diseases through vivid disease images, thorough descriptions, and trusted management recommendations.
The newly released Compendium of Grape Diseases, Disorders, and Pests, Second Edition was produced to serve these needs and more for the wine-, table-, and juice-grape industries. This latest edition was expanded to include the latest diagnostic and management information for diseases, plus insect pests and abiotic disorders such as environmental stresses. In total, it packs 375 detailed images and management recommendations for nearly 70 diseases, insects, and disorders of grape into more than 230 pages.
This vital reference is ideal for vineyard staff and consultants, as well as researchers, extension agents, and diagnosticians who are working to ensure these delicate crops make it safely through the growing season.
The new edition is nearly twice the size of the previous book and is organized in four sections:
- Part one covers diseases caused by biotic factors. It particularly addresses commonly occurring diseases caused by fungi and oomycetes, bacteria, phytoplasmas, viruses and virus-like agents (including nematode-transmitted viruses), and nematode parasites of grapevines.
- Part two discusses mites and insects that cause disease-like symptoms in grapes. Coverage includes leafhoppers and treehoppers, mealybugs, thrips, and much more.
- Part three discusses disorders caused by abiotic factors, with special emphases on chimeras, environmental stresses, nutritional disorders, the various causes of shriveled fruit, and pesticide toxicity.
- Part four offers two new sections that will help users save money and minimize pesticide use. The first – Grapevine Fungicides – discusses fungicides and cultural practices in the context of minimizing disease resistance. The second – Spray Technology for Grapevines – which emphasizes cost saving techniques and practices, helps users minimize pesticide use and ensures the chemical hits its target, not elsewhere in the environment.
The Compendium of Grape Diseases, Disorders, and Pests, Second Edition also includes an introduction that provides helpful overviews of the grape plant, its worldwide cultivation and varied uses, its history, rootstocks, morphology, and developmental stages.
Appendices include an updated list of common grapevine disease names caused by microbes, nematodes, and viruses; as well as a guide to the many equivalent names given to grapevine diseases and disorders in the English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish languages.
An expanded glossary of more than 800 terms is also used in the book, along with a comprehensive index to make this resource accessible to anyone working in the grape industry, including diagnosticians, extension specialists; consultants; scientists; vineyard managers and staff; juice, fresh fruit, and raisin producers; and students.
July 28, 2015 - While we do not yet know whether brown marmorated stink bugs will be an economically important pest for specialty crops in Ontario, it is a good idea for specialty crop growers to monitor for this pest.
BMSB will feed on an extremely wide range of crops, including several specialty crops growing in Ontario (e.g. okra and many tree nuts).
A list of crops on which BMSB feeding has been observed in the United States can be found at http://www.stopbmsb.org/where-is-bmsb/host-plants/.
For more information on BMSB in Ontario, see this article from Hannah Fraser, OMAFRA Entomology Program Lead for Horticulture -> https://onvegetables.com/2015/07/28/brown-marmorated-stink-bug-update-distribution-monitoring-and-research/
July 22, 2015, Kelowna, BC – The spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest that targets cherries and other fruit, is showing up in higher numbers this year in the Okanagan. Homeowners growing backyard fruit are being encouraged to take action to prevent infestations from spreading to local orchards.
“Spotted wing drosophila is a fruit fly. It looks like the regular ones you find around rotten bananas, but this one has developed in such a way that the female has an egg laying device that looks like a saw so it can go after ripening fruit. It can lay its eggs in the ripening fruit and that is why it is such a big problem,” says B.C. Ministry of Agriculture entomologist, Susanna Acheampong. READ MORE
June 16, 2015 – As the effectiveness of the primary chemical weapon against the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) starts to wane, new ways to manage this pest are needed where potatoes are intensively grown, according to an article in the the Journal of Integrated Pest Management.
Neconicotinoid insecticides have been successfully used since 1995 to fight the beetle, but their effectiveness has been waning in some areas. While resistance is increasing, Anders Huseth, a postdoctoral associate at North Carolina State University, notes that it may not spread to all areas where potatoes are grown. Areas where potatoes are not grown year after year on the same soil are less likely to see insecticide-resistant potato beetles. READ MORE
June 3, 2015, Woodstock, Ont – The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is hosting a blueberry pest management workshop for growers, scouts and consultants June 11.
The event is being held at the Woodstock OMAFRA office, Unit 1 – 401 Lakeview Drive, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Topics to be covered include general scouting procedures (what to look for through the season), using traps for cranberry and cherry fruitworm, management of canker diseases, blueberry maggot and regulations, SWD identification (flies, larvae, damage, salt tests) and brown marmorated stink bug identification.
Cost is $20 at the door and includes refreshments and a light supper. Please pre-register.
May 15, 2015, Clarington, Ont – Algoma Orchards is the largest independently owned apple grower and packer in Canada. With more than 1,000 acres and another 50 growers in Ontario, they supply apples and apple juice to many parts of the world year round. To make this happen efficiently, Algoma has a 100,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art packing and sorting facility that can pack 800 boxes of apples an hour.
Codling moth is the most common pest found in apple orchards and an issue that every apple and pear farmer has to deal with. Controlling this insect is tricky, largely due to their feeding habits. Pesticides have been the traditional form of control, but that comes with a few drawbacks, including a hold on re-entry into the field for workers due to toxicity regulations, killing of other useful insects like pollinators, high cost and the potential health risk to the consumer.
A new option for farmers is the use of pheromones. Semios CM-Plus pheromone confuses the male codling moth during its reproductive flight so that it is unable to find the female to fertilize the eggs, thus diminishing the pest population. While pheromones have been used in agriculture before, the ways in that they were deployed were neither efficient nor reliable, until now.
Algoma Orchards was one of 50 farms in Canada to embark on a trial to measure the effectiveness of these pheromones. A control block of 30 acres continued with conventional pest management while 35 acres were setup with 42 pheromone dispensers.
“Typically dispensers are hung in one tree per acre, but the farmer informed us of a hot spot, so we doubled up in this area,” said Jordan Hazell, Semios field biologist.
To monitor this hot spot and other key areas, three camera-equipped insect traps were added and controlled remotely with the aid of a unique patented wireless network. Traditional wireless networks for tree crops have never been reliable, as leaves interfere with the typical radio wave.
“Now that we have conquered this hurdle, tree crop farmers are able to see the field conditions remotely at any time and can now utilize both real-time and historical on-site information to make more informed decisions,” concluded Hazell.
The pheromones are in aerosol form and are turned on just prior to the predicted moth flight. The traps aid in this decision and also give peace of mind knowing that no moths are yet in flight prior to the pheromones being turned on. Codling moth are most active from dusk to dawn so in this case the dispensing of pheromones was set from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. on a 15-minute dispensing interval.
Through the online user interface called Semioslive, Algoma had access to the status of the field from any device with an Internet connection. This meant the growers could remotely view trap catches, on-site weather data, and monitor or adjust the dispensing schedule remotely, alongside Semios, which monitors the system 24/7. The ability to remotely control each dispenser means the pheromones are only in use when needed, so they last longer, making it a very cost effective pest control solution.
The system took Semios 12 hours to setup and ran for the duration of the growing season from May to September. Since Algoma’s trial site was being utilized for registering Semios CM-Plus, delta traps containing codling moth lures were installed evenly at a density of 1.4 traps/acre. This gave a very detailed look at where moth pressure was the highest and was used to validate consistent pheromone coverage across the entire block. These traps were manually inspected weekly and a moth count was recorded for each trap. The lure contained in each delta trap represents a female, so if the male moths cannot find the traps, it indicates they cannot find the females, meaning the pheromones are effective. Trap shutdown, which is the reduction in trap catch observed between the Semios CM-Plus and control blocks, is the standard measurement for mating disruption. In Algoma’s case, the trap shutdown was 97 per cent, with only 0.17 moths caught in a trap on average over the entire season.
Damage assessments were also conducted by visually inspecting 10 randomly selected apples on 100 different randomly selected trees (1,000 apples in total) in each block. When exterior damage to an apple was observed, the apples were cut open to inspect for larvae or subsequent damage to confirm if codling moth was the culprit. Damage assessment for the Semios CM-Plus block was zero.
“The pheromones worked so well in the trial field that we didn’t need to use any pesticides,” said Manus Boonzaier, farm manager for Algoma Orchards. “The control block in which no pheromones were used required multiple sprays.”
Algoma plans to continue using pheromones as part of their pest control management.
Scientists and gardeners alike study and examine plants for outward signs of damage caused by disease and insects. Often, this damage takes the shape of areas chewed by insects that are easily observed.
However, much of the important responses plants make to insect bites take place out of sight. In one of the broadest studies of its kind, scientists at the University of Missouri recently studied how plant genes responded to insects that harm them. They found that plants can recognize attacks from diverse kinds of insects, such as caterpillars and aphids, and that plants respond differently to each attack. Identifying these defense genes could allow plant breeders to target specific insect species when developing pest-resistant crops.
“It was no surprise that plants responded differently to having their leaves chewed by a caterpillar or sucked by an aphid,” said Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, an investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri and lead author on the paper. “What surprised us was how different plant responses were to each of the caterpillars and aphids. The plants could clearly tell insects apart – they really seem to ‘know’ who’s attacking.”
Results showed that Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard, recognizes and responds differently to four insect species. Two caterpillar species were placed on the plants and encouraged to chew on their leaves. Researchers also allowed two species of aphids, or small insects that pierce plants with needle-like mouthparts, to attack the plants. Then those plants were examined on the genetic level to gauge their responses.
The team, which also included scientists from the University of British Columbia and The Pennsylvania State University, found that plants responded differently to both species of caterpillars and both types of aphids and determined that plants had different genetic responses in all four cases. Additionally, insects caused changes on the signaling level that triggered genes to switch on and off helping defend plants against further attacks.
“There are 28,000 genes in the plant, and we detected 2,778 genes responding to attacks depending on the type of insect,” said Jack Schultz, director of the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri and a co-author on the study. “If you only look at a few of these genes, you get a very limited picture and possibly one that doesn’t represent what’s going on at all. Turning on defense genes only when needed is less costly to the plant because all of its defenses don’t have to be ‘on’ all the time.”
A sister study, led by Erin Rehrig, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri at the time of publication, showed that attacks by both caterpillars and beet armyworms increased plant hormones that trigger defense responses. However, plants responded quicker and more strongly when fed on by the beet armyworm compared to the cabbage butterfly caterpillar indicating again that plants can tell the two insects apart.
“Among the genes changed when insects bite are ones that regulate processes like root growth, water use and other ecologically significant processes that plants carefully monitor and control,” Schultz said. “Questions about the cost to the plant if the insect continues to eat would be an interesting follow-up study to explore these deeper genetic interactions.”
The study, Transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to chewing and sucking insect herbivores, and its sister study, Roles for jasmonate- and ethylene-induced transcription factors in the ability of Arabidopsis to respond differentially to damage caused by two insect herbivores, were published in Frontiers in Plant Science and funding was provided by the National Science Foundation.
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2017 Muck Crops ConferenceWed Apr 12, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
2017 Canadian Produce Marketing Association ConventionTue May 09, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
2017 Potato Growers of Alberta Golf TournamentThu Jul 06, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
18th Annual Enology & Viticulture Conference & Trade ShowMon Jul 17, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM