New York State IPM Program

February 15, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Canny Climatologist Codes his way to Excellence in IPM Award

Canny Climatologist Codes his way to Excellence in IPM Award

Keith Eggleston and NYSIPM’s Dr. Juliet Carroll

Keith Eggleston, a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) received our Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award at the 2019 Empire State Producers’ Expo in Syracuse, in January.

Begun in 1995 by NYSIPM, the Network for Environment and Weather App’s (delivers weather information from farm-based weather stations from Minnesota to New Hampshire to North Carolina and feeds it into ore than 40 pest forecasting and crop production tools. NEWA’s weather data summaries and IPM forecasts give farmers the best information to make scientifically based decisions about how to manage pests. NEWA is highly valued by New York fruit and vegetable growers, largely thanks to Keith’s diligence and expertise.

How did Mr. Eggleston help? He wrote the code for the IPM forecast models on NEWA’s website, newacornell.edu. Successful? Yes! These IPM tools work so well that NEWA expanded from around 40 to over 600 weather stations and from one state to 14. The pest forecasts help farmers in NY and other states predict when pests might strike and how severe the assault may be – saving them from both spraying and losing sleep.

Keith’s colleagues cheer his insights into the nuances of climate data and his eternal vigilance regarding bug fixes, stalled models, and metadata rescue. He has been called miracle worker, tech guru, and the glue that binds the NRCC to the NEWA. Keith Eggleston makes sure that users are happy and NEWA data and model outputs are of the highest quality.

NEWA’s Dan Olmstead

Dan Olmstead, NEWA coordinator, credits Keith’s understanding of programming languages, weather, climate, and the NEWA users themselves as the foundation of the collaborative success of the project. He adds, “Keith’s real strength comes from his endless patience, calm thinking, collaborative spirit, and tenacity—all of which creates synergy… NEWA continues to grow rapidly because the tools Keith built stand the test of time and end-user scrutiny.”

Art DeGaetano, director of the NRCC, concurs. “Among the scientists involved with NEWA, Keith is the trusted voice …concerning how a model should be implemented, the design of the model, or even the proper data to use, Keith’s respectful expertise is the catalyst for reaching common ground and achieving excellence.”

Eggleston has a unique perspective on agriculture—his father was a Vocational Ag teacher and FFA Advisor; he himself a member of the agricultural fraternity, Alpha Zeta, at Cornell University. “I have always had an affinity for agriculture and have found it very satisfying to be able to help develop models that will be useful in the farming community,” he said.

Congratulations Keith!

Keith and NYSIPM Director, Dr. Jennifer Grant

For more on our Excellence in IPM Winners, visit the NYSIPM Website.

Today’s post by Mariah Mottley Plumlee, mmp35@cornell.edu

January 23, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on NEWA “Survey Says…”

NEWA “Survey Says…”

In late 2018, NEWA’s Coordinator, Dan Olmstead, and its creator, Dr. Juliet Carroll, concluded an assessment of a 2017 user survey. They, and the NEWA State Coordinators, reviewed user demographics, website content needs, and user experience before passing it on to Cornell’s Survey Research Institute.

The electronic survey included a subset of questions first asked in the 2007 survey. A summary of the 398 participants from 14 states provided a clear picture of NEWA’s impact. A more detailed summary has been shared in four posts at the NEWA Blog http://bitly12UatlMMW

Here’s the bottom line:

-NEWA is a reliable and trusted source of information among uses.

-All respondents said they would recommend NEW to other growers.

-NEWA provides reliable IPM information to support responsible management practices, enhance decision-making, and increase awareness of risks.

-96% of users say NEWA improves the timing of pesticide applications.

-NEWA has a positive impact on IPM practices.

 

Dan Olmstead presents a NEWA Workshop at the recent Empire State Producer’s Expo

 

Fewer vegetable than fruit models are available on NEWA. Cabbage maggot and onion maggot models are popular among growers (Fig. 2). Use percentages were based on the number of respondents to disease and insect model questions, which were 35 and 20, respectively. NEWA vegetable tool development is an area for future growth. In addition, promotion and education on how to use existing vegetable tools would increase use.

Dr. Juliet Carroll, Fruit IPM Coordinator, NYS IPM Program, NEWA founder

When putting the above statements into dollar figures, consider this:

Growers are saving money on an annual basis—an average of $4329—by reducing use of pesticide spray.

Estimated savings from crop loss, again on average, was $33,048.

Who uses NEWA? 75% are growers and 60% of them manage diversified farm operations.

20% of respondents managed farms smaller than 10 acres.

57% of respondents managed farms between 11 and 1000 acres.

4% had farms greater than 1000 acres.

Most NEWA growers grew apples, but a majority produced two or more commodities such as other tree fruit, grapes, berries, and tomatoes. Existing fruit and vegetable forecast tools will soon be joined by additional tools for field crops and ornamentals.

NEWA also provides links to other tools such as NOAA radar maps, USDA drought maps and websites that target particular problems like late blight or cucumber downy mildew.

FOR A FULL RECAP:

The 2017 NEWA user survey: understanding grower impact, needs, and priorities

The 2017 NEWA survey: current and potential users

The 2017 NEWA survey: IPM impact

The 2017 NEWA survey: use of models, tools, and resources

The 2017 NEWA survey: discussion and future directions

Using weather data is a primary part of IPM. Learn more about NEWA by following the YOUR NEWA BLOG and visit NEWA to see for yourself how this important resource.

July 10, 2018
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on New Field Crops and Livestock Coordinator Joins NYS IPM

New Field Crops and Livestock Coordinator Joins NYS IPM

Greetings!  I’m Jaime Cummings, the new Field Crops and Livestock Coordinator at NYS IPM. My job? To work with field crop and livestock farmers on more than 3 million acres statewide who grow corn, hay, and other field crops and contribute to New York’s livestock industry. These farmers know all too well the problems that come with insect, disease and weed pests—problems that can change year to year.

They need IPM. Which means that each person who lives in New York and eats or drinks anything produced on a farm also needs IPM.

Jaime Cummings

Meet Jaime Cummings. Farmers, you’ll be seeing a lot of her soon.

My background is in plant pathology, and I come from Cornell’s Field Crops Pathology program. While there I focused on field research for dealing with plant diseases and mycotoxins (aka fungal toxins). I also provided diagnostics for statewide disease surveys on all major field crops. Along the way I also earned my Certified Crop Advisor certification (CCA) for the Northeast.

Integrated Pest Management for Field Crops and Livestock

Field crop and livestock farmers in New York face problems both new and old. For starters, unpredictable weather patterns can favor a different spectrum or intensity of disease and pest problems that vary from one year to the next. Meanwhile, invasive pests of all sorts are ever knocking at our borders. It’s critical to know not only how to address each issue, but also know when it’s economically feasible and environmentally responsible to do so. IPM scouting networks and forecasting methods help us better understand pest levels. This in turn helps farmers use well-defined thresholds for making solid management decisions.

And of course, IPM works for organic and conventional farmers alike. They all know there are no silver bullets or one-size-fits-all management strategies when it comes solving disease or pest problems—which is why we need to integrate pest management strategies for the best success. Any approach to managing pests and protecting crops that minimizes health and environmental hazards by the most economical means should be thoughtfully considered and implemented.

The goal? To prevent problems in the first place. True, sometimes nature tosses us a wild card we couldn’t have guessed at. Regardless—IPM helps farmers avoid wasteful treatments while offering other options that are good both for the environment and the farmer’s bottom line.

Looking Forward

Want to learn about IPM options for your farm? Please email me at jc2246@cornell.edu.  And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the weekly field crops pest report http://blogs.cornell.edu/ipmwpr/ to stay up to date on statewide scouting and management updates.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you and wish you a safe and productive season.

May 12, 2016
by Mary M. Woodsen
1 Comment

April Was the Cruelest Month: Hard Freeze in Fruit Orchards

Imagine a winter rather like this past one. A winter where February behaved like March (mostly) and March impersonated April. A delight to be sure. But not for the fruit grower with an eye on the weather. Not in New York; not anywhere in the Northeast or parts of the upper Midwest, for that matter. If growers made it through that sudden plunge on Valentines Day (which wiped out the peach crop in the upper Hudson Valley and several other northeastern states), it was time to start worrying all over again. Because along came April — an ordinary April. An April with nighttime temps that dropped like a stone in a well.

"Old temp" means the lowest temperature blossoms can endure, undamaged, for 30 minutes.

“Old temp” is the lowest temperature blossoms can endure, undamaged, for 30 minutes.

Whether they grow apples or pears, cherries or blueberries, growers might (even now) have reason to worry. They’ll likely get a decent crop this year if their orchards are sited on slopes with good air drainage, just-right soils that help slow bud-break, and the moderating influence of nearby lakes or oceanfront. And then there’s the simple fact that, for apples and pears (peaches too) at least, one viable blossom per cluster is about all a tree needs for a good crop. The trees might lose 90 percent of their blossoms, but growers don’t have to go back and thin them when the trees set fruit — Mother Nature just did it for them. (This rule of thumb doesn’t work for cherry or blueberry growers, though what mix of varieties they grow can make a big difference at harvest time.)

Growers in the most vulnerable locations did any or all of these four things:

  • Checked their Extension specialists’s email posts for advice.
  • Stocked up on fuel for smudge pot or burn piles.
  • Prayed for a temperature inversion.
  • Put up wind towers or called their helicopter pilot.

The Extension specialist (in this case Peter Jentsch, senior Extension associate at Cornell’s Hudson Valley Research Lab) probably said that smudge pots or small, strategically placed fires — 40 to 60 per acre — could help, raising ground temperature just enough to squeak by. “Strategically” means on the upwind side of the block. “Squeak by” means raising ground temps by about 3°. If 3° won’t do it, he would’ve said, don’t bother. And minus a temperature inversion — a canopy of slightly warmish air blanketing the cold air below it — don’t set up the wind machine or call the helicopter pilot. All it would do is blow more frigid air around, drying out buds and growing tips.

Smudge pots, strategically placed, can help raise temperatures just enough to make a difference.

Smudge pots, strategically placed, raise temperatures just enough to make a difference.

If there’s an inversion, those heaters and small fires might also have helped. Note that Jentsch didn’t say “bonfire.” Too hot a blaze could punch through to the inversion layer, depleting it. And growers who work on a big-enough scale might have turned on their wind machines or called an experienced pilot, because when it’s not too windy it could be worth a trip to the skies. The premise: a helicopter hovering overhead pulls down that warmish air. The ‘copter’s thermometer tells where and how the temperature shifts as it gains altitude. Depending on how much it shifts and how thick the canopy is, the decision is — is it worth paying big bucks to mix up?

April is past; May has begun. Jentsch is in touch with growers and other Extension specialists all through the Hudson Valley and beyond. “It’s not all the doom and gloom,” he says. “Growers with the best sites and mix of crops seem to be doing all right.” Still, it’s sobering to think about the effect two days at the wrong time can have, Jentsch says. “For the growers who got hammered, it can throw a their livelihood into a tailspin for many months to come.”

So there you have it — an April rather like this one. Normal in every way but one — that it followed so mild a winter.

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