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April 13, 2010  By Dan Woolley

Dr. Rob Smith is in it for the long haul.

Dr. Rob Smith is in it for the long haul.

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researcher is currently entering his third year of trials seeking viable alternatives to organophosphate insecticides, a project supported by the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association (NSFGA).


The noose is tightening around organophosphate use, explained Dr. Smith at a recent meeting of the NSFGA, adding that Guthion is still on track to be removed from the market by 2012. On the plus side, several new products are available to growers for management of codling moth and apple maggot, two pests accounting for 60 per cent of the spray applications in Annapolis Valley orchards.

Dr. Smith will be examining several products during the 2010 season, including Calypso, Imidan, Delegate, Intrepid and Assail.

When trialing with new products, trapping and monitoring for insects is very important, he said. “When you get 50 to 70 apple maggot captured in an orchard, the amber light should go on.”

Dr. Smith has four orchards of semi-dwarf rootstocks and various varieties in his trials, all located within a 10-mile radius of one another in the Annapolis Valley. Despite the close location, rainfall in the area can be quite variable, he said, adding the amount of rainfall can influence the control capability of the product applied. As an example, Calypso is highly water-soluble and its impact can be diminished by rainfall, Dr. Smith explained, while Imidan is somewhat rain-fast.

When it comes to application timing, it is important to observe insect behaviour in the orchard, said Dr. Smith. With any of the newly registered products, it is important to apply them before the adult insects can lay their eggs, he explained.

During his 2009 trials, Dr. Smith’s worst loss rate using the newly registered products was one-half of one per cent. He experienced no loss due to apple maggot as no infected apples were ever found in the trial orchards, “A good, encouraging sign.”

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