New York State IPM Program

December 6, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Shopping For Christmas Trees?

Shopping For Christmas Trees?

by Ryan Parker and Brian Eshenaur

When choosing the perfect tree, people usually consider variety, size, and shape. But with the phenomenon of a new invasive planthopper, Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) (SLF), the tree’s origin may be something to think about.

We always suggest fresh-cut trees from New York’s many great tree farms!Christmas tree farm in winter

 

First of all, we’ll say it’s unlikely that SLF will be on your cut tree. Conifers are not a food source for this pest, but egg-laying females are indiscriminate as to where eggs are placed. That’s why we offer a list for travelers making their way through quarantined areas.

Adult spotted lanternfly with covered egg masses on rusty shovel

Adult spotted lanternfly with covered egg masses on rusty shovel Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

Print this list and keep it in your vehicles!

SLF egg mass on tree trunk

Egg mass Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

At this time of year, winter has killed off adults, but their hardy egg masses remain. Although ornamental in appearance, Spotted Lanternfly is one “ornament” you don’t want hatching from their mud-like egg masses and decorating your property this coming spring. SLF causes economic damage to agriculture, forestry and tourism, and is a major nuisance to homeowners. Learn more by visiting our SLF website!

We bring this up because the SLF quarantined areas of Pennsylvania (shown in blue on the map below) happen to be home to many Christmas tree farms (Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill).

distribution map as of November 2019

Distribution map as of November 2019

If you’re buying a pre-cut Christmas tree, ask the seller where their trees came from. If it’s from PA, learn about this pest and inspect the trunk.  But don’t stop there. Get into the habit of citizen science! “Scouting” (actively knowing how, why, and where to look) for pests gives you a critical role in stopping the spread.

eggs and egg mass on bark

Eggs, and covered eggs (egg mass) on bark. Photo: Emily Swackhamer, Penn State Extension

What else can you do?

There are plenty of cut-your-own farms in New York with family-friendly atmosphere where you can get a fresh tree. If you don’t have time for a cut-your-own experience, ask your tree sellers if they’re aware of SLF risk on out-of-state trees. Awareness is key!

photo of Brian Eshenaur

Brian Eshenaur

Here’s some Christmas Tree tips from our own Christmas Tree expert, IPM’s Brian C. Eschenaur:

2019 was an excellent growing season for Christmas Trees.  We had more moderate summer temperatures and good rainfall this year.  Those suitable growing conditions allowed trees to put on healthy new growth, and the fine weather gave Christmas tree growers good conditions to prune trees so they will be in great shape for harvest. This year’s early-November cold snap was also beneficial in “setting” the needles which is good for longer needle retention in some tree species.

Once in a while we hear from people concerned about the “single use” aspect of real Christmas trees.  But considering the alternative of a plastic tree produced, then shipped from overseas, (and eventually ending up in a landfill), real trees have their benefits.  They are a renewable resource and by buying locally you are supporting growers that will continue to maintain their fields which are part of the greenspace we all value.

Choose a variety and shape that fits your needs. Many growers are producing a wide variety of firs, spruces and even old-fashioned pines. Each variety tree offers its own shape, color, fragrance, and even branch stiffness which is important to consider for holding ornaments.

Trees always look smaller in the field so don’t forget the tape measure.  Measure the floor to ceiling height before you go tree shopping and then while choosing so you end up with a tree that fits nicely into your home.

Don’t be afraid to bend the branches and shoots. Green needles should not come off in your hands. Also, the shoots should be flexible. Avoid a tree if the needles are shed or if the shoots break instead of flexing.

If possible, make a fresh cut on the bottom so the tree’s vascular tissue (pipe work) is not plugged and the tree can easily take up water. Then, if you’re not bringing it into the house right away, get the tree in a bucket of water outside.

Once you move your tree inside the house, don’t locate it next to a radiator, furnace vent or other heat source. And always remember to keep water in the tree stand topped off, so it never goes below the bottom of the trunk.

Whatever you choose to do, enjoy your “Holly Jolly Christmas” and hopefully “it’s the best time of the year.”

Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker, NYSIPM Program

Cheers from all of the NYSIPM staff.

 

 

November 27, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Traveling for the Holidays?

Traveling for the Holidays?

Be aware that Spotted Lanternfly could travel back with you!

Are you visiting the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) quarantine zones within certain counties in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Virginia?

If yes, beware! Citizens like you may unintentionally transport Spotted Lanternfly egg masses. While adult activity slows or stops this time of year, egg masses that were deposited on transportable items are a major part of this pest’s hitchhiking ways.

NYSIPM has made a checklist of common items that harbor egg masses (see below).

QUARANTINE MAP as of NOVEMBER 2019.  Click to go to our website to expand or download and print.

distribution map as of November 2019

Please download and print this CHECKLIST (below) and bring it with you as a reminder before traveling back into New York.

Checklist - check these items to ensure you are not bringing SLF with you out of the quarantined areas

Check these items to ensure you are not bringing SLF with you out of the quarantined areas!

This post was provided by Brian Eshenaur and Ryan Parker in cooperation with Penn State, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Map by Karen J. English.

photo of Brian Eshenaur

Brian Eshenaur

Ryan Parker

October 4, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on A Look Back at our Beneficial Habitat Events

A Look Back at our Beneficial Habitat Events

Photo of Betsy Lamb, Amara Dunn and Brian Eshenaur during twilight meetingOn Wednesday September 25th, Dr. Amara Dunn, Dr. Betsy Lamb, and Senior Extension Educator Brian Eshenaur hosted a Beneficial Habitat Open House. Guests could compare establishment methods, see some of the insects caught in our plots, or just enjoy the flowers.

Thursday September 26th was the Planting for Beneficial Habitat Twilight meeting. Attendees learned how habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects show good stewardship of the land. Dr. Dunn explained several methods of establishment, the benefits of hosting pollinators and other beneficial insects, and their impact as biological control.

For more, visit the Bicontrol Bytes Blog Creating Habitat for Beneficial Insects, Summer 2018
Creating Habitat for Beneficial Insects; Project Update End of Year One
Come Visit our Beneficial Insect Habitat Plots ,
Creating Habitat; Starting Year Two  
Photo shows Dr. Amara Dunn speaking with two attendees at the Beneficial Habitat Open House

Dr. Amara Dunn speaks with Cooperative Extension visitors.

Photo shows rows of small evergreen trees at the NYSIPM research plot at Cornell Agritech Fruit and Vegetable Research Farm

Evergreen plantings on the NYSIPM plot, Cornell Agritech Fruit and Vegetable Research Farm

photo shows at least one plot of beneficial habitat plants and part of a row of small evergreens

Does adding beneficial habitat reduce pest pressure on Christmas tree plots? We hope to find out.

photo shows six guests and two speakers from the IPM program standing near one of the habitat plots

Despite stormy skies, the Twilight Event was a success

photo shows Brian Eshenaur and Amara Dunn discussing the research plot

Brian Eshenaur and Amara Dunn address attendees of the Twilight Meeting

Photo shows college students working with insects around a table as Dr. Betsy Lamb directs them.

Keuka College students in Dr. Bill Brown’s Animal Diversity class compare pairs of insect samples. Dr. Betsy Lamb invited them to hypothesize differences in collected insects at varying locations within the plots, and at different times of the year.

Thank you to all who helped make these teaching events possible!

September 10, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Join Our Search for the Next NYS IPM Director

Join Our Search for the Next NYS IPM Director

Do you have a vision for IPM? If yes, seize a rare opportunity to lead a great IPM program. Apply to be Director of the NYS IPM Program at Cornell University, headquartered in Geneva NY. 

photo of five past and present IPM directors on porch of IPM house

Past and present IPM Directors

The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health, and economic risks. We are an internationally recognized program that has conducted extension and research in many agricultural commodities and community settings for more than 30 years.

New York State IPM promotes pollinator protection, systems approaches, and biological control in its mission to reduce risks from pests and pest management.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a continuously evolving approach to pest management that strives to minimize environmental, health, and economic risks in agricultural and community settings. IPM systems can be particularly useful in improving the sustainability and profitability of high-value specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, greenhouses, and nurseries. The integration of newer technologies with existing IPM approaches will generate innovative production systems that help address stakeholder concerns about negative impacts of current pest management approaches, and strengthen New York State’s role as a leader in agricultural and community settings.

photo of Dean Boor and Director Jen Grant

CALS Dean Kathryn Boor and IPM Director Jennifer Grant

The NYSIPM Program is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension. And that puts us under the umbrella of The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Key Responsibilities as Director:

Leading a staff of over 20 IPM and communications specialists. You will be responsible for setting priorities within NYS IPM for extension, research, and communications activities. You will maintain current funding streams while developing new sources from both the private and public sectors. Additionally, you will lead collaboration among NYS IPM staff, Cornell University faculty, and CCE educators to implement IPM in New York State. The job duties include:

  • Conducting extension programming and applied research within your own area of specialization.
  • Researching IPM techniques, including biologically-based and cultural practices for management of disease, insect, weed, and mammalian pests.
  • Communicating IPM impacts and activities to CALS and CCE Administration, local and state government agencies, state legislators, federal agencies, and federal representatives
  • Securing new, and maintaining current, diversified funding sources and associated reporting on program activities and impacts
  • Enhancing the partnerships between the NYS IPM Program, Cornell AgriTech, Cornell’s Ithaca campus, the Cornell Regional Agriculture Specialist teams, and CCE educators across the state.
  • Representing NYS IPM and act as a liaison with CCE, CALS, government agencies, growers, pest control professionals, other IPM practitioners, and other stakeholders.
photo of IPM house in spring

“The IPM House” on the CALS AgriTech campus in Geneva, NY.

This position is full-time and will be located in Geneva, New York. This is a five-year appointment with possible extension depending on funding and performance.

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. degree required in entomology, plant pathology, weed science, horticulture or a closely related field.
  • Must have a strong background in integrated pest management.
  • Be able to design, execute and analyze complex field experiments.
  • 6+ years of related work experience in Extension education and/or research in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Knowledge of the philosophy, objectives, and operation of an informal education system such as Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  • Experience in interpreting, evaluating, and communicating the results of applied research.
  • Skilled at establishing and maintaining professional work relationships and networks.
  • Demonstrated skill in developing written educational materials and conducting in-person training.
  • Ability to incorporate revenue generation into appropriate educational program initiatives including, but not limited to, program fees, partnership development, and grant writing.
  • Experience in writing grant proposals.
  • Experience in budget development and management.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Fundamental competence utilizing current technology as a management and program delivery tool (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Internet and Web development).
  • Ability to work with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty along with faculty in other schools and colleges at Cornell University to develop applied research projects necessary to support a strong extension program.
  • Must hold New York State pesticide applicator certification or be able to obtain certification within one year of hire.
  • Must be able to meet the travel requirements of the position, and have reliable transportation as well as have and maintain a valid and unrestricted New York State driver’s license.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • 6+ years of relevant work experience in a pest management related field.
  • Working knowledge of federal and New York State pesticide laws and regulations.

APPLY NOW. Applications accepted until September 30, 2019: https://nysipm.cornell.edu/about/job-opportunities/

 

September 6, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Weeding Now Reduces Weeds Later

Weeding Now Reduces Weeds Later

Photo shows Dr. Bryan Brown in a soybean field looking at a waterhemp plant.

Dr. Bryan Brown examines a single WATERHEMP plant capable of producing thousands of seeds.

Summer annual weeds start flowering in early August, so it’s important to control them beforehand to prevent seed production. This is true for commercial growers and for homeowners.  One of the most prolific is waterhemp, a bane to growers because it’s also resistant to herbicides. According to our INTEGRATED WEED MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST, DR. BRYAN BROWN, waterhemp is likely resistant to herbicide Groups 2, 5, and 9 in NY.

photo of top of mature waterhemp plant

That’s why Bryan is collaborating with growers and researchers around the state to investigate other controls, including cultivation, cover cropping, and even a device that zaps weeds with electricity. Funding for this work was provided by the Farm Viability Institute.

“Here we’re removing waterhemp that survived some of our herbicide treatments in soybeans. Because this trial is done in a grower’s field and we don’t want it to spread, we’re removing it before it sets seed (up to 500,000).”

Soybean grower? Here’s what Bryan and Regional Field Crops Specialist, Mike Hunter explained in their CORNELL FIELD CROPS Blog:

While other pigweed species have short hairs on their stems, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have smooth stems. The best way to distinguish waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is to rip off one of the lower leaves. Another characteristic of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is separate male (pollen producing) and female (seed producing) plants. Herbicide resistance traits can transfer by pollen, which has allowed these weeds to develop resistance faster.

To prevent these weeds from taking hold, growers are also recommended to start weed-free with tillage, followed by a 2-pass program of residual and post-emergence herbicides that utilizes several effective sites of action. Foliar applied herbicides should be used when these weeds are less than four inches tall. Since these weeds emerge over a broader timeframe than most weeds, mid-season residual herbicide applications should be considered, along with increased planting density or tighter row spacing to help close the canopy earlier.

photo shows close up of water hemp stalk with small leaves

Waterhemp weed showing growth pattern.

If you do find yourself with escapes of these weeds, it makes economic sense to go hand-rogue those weeds out of your fields rather than deal with 200,000 to one million seeds in your soil from each weed. If there are too many to bag up by hand, consider sacrificing that patch of your crop by mowing and tilling the area before the weeds produce seed. Avoid harvesting these areas. Combines are especially good at spreading weed seeds. If you must harvest these areas, know that combines can carry 150 pounds of plant material even you think it’s empty, so check out some of the great online videos on how to clean them out after going through weedy fields.

The weakness of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is the short lifespan of their seeds in the soil. Of those that don’t germinate, very few will survive in the soil for more than four years. So, if you can keep it under control for four years, you won’t have much of it after that. But as one Pennsylvania grower put it, “the cheapest way to control Palmer amaranth is to never get it in the first place.” So, it’s important to make sure that your seed, feed, bedding, and equipment are clean from the start.

Photo of Dr. Bryan Brown with waterhemp weeds we removed from a soybean field.

Dr. Bryan Brown works with growers, extension educators, industry leaders, and researchers to address knowledge gaps in weed IPM and develop programming to improve adoption of effective weed management practices. His work covers all agricultural crops throughout New York.

logo of New York Farm Viability Institute

Thank you, NY Farm Viability Institute

August 29, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Accepting Nominations for 2019 Excellence in IPM Awards

Accepting Nominations for 2019 Excellence in IPM Awards

This graphic is a replica image of the Excellence in IPM Award plaque given awardees.

 

Exceptional people are everywhere — innovators and natural leaders whose work really does change the world. With IPM, it’s about intelligent pest management — about supporting and protecting New York’s agricultural and urban communities as they cope with pests and pesticides both. Each year we award people or organizations who:

  • develop new tools and tactics to speed the adoption of IPM
  • encourage demonstrations of IPM methods on their farms
  • promote IPM in their businesses, schools, and communities
  • bolster the adoption of IPM practices through their organizations or educational programs
Photo shows Dr. Jennifer Grant awarding a plaque to Mike Hunter for his Excellence in IPM Award.

NYSIPM DIrector, Dr. Jennifer Grant awards Mike Hunter his Excellence in IPM award during a recent field crops meeting.

We Give Awards: IPMers Who Make a Difference

The NYS IPM Program (nysipm.cornell.edu) seeks nominations of people working in agricultural IPM (fruit, vegetables, ornamentals, and livestock and field crops) and in community IPM (schools, homes, landscapes, turf, and municipalities). New Yorkers involved in communicating about IPM through the media are also eligible.

Criteria for Nomination:

Candidates for an Excellence in IPM Award are individuals or organizations whose IPM work in New York State deserves special recognition. Excellence in IPM Awards recognize effort in:

  • developing new IPM tools;
  • implementing or evaluating IPM methods in their operations, businesses, or organizations;
  • encouraging demonstrations and adoption of IPM;
  • promoting IPM and bolstering the adoption of IPM practices; or
  • educating others about IPM.
Photo shows Excellence in IPM Award winner Keith L. Eggleston and NYSIPM Fruit IPM Coordinator, Dr. Juliet Carrol

Excellence in IPM Award winner Keith L. Eggleston with NYSIPM Fruit IPM Coordinator, Dr. Juliet Carroll

IPM award winners work with the NYS IPM Program, commodity groups, Cornell Cooperative Extension, private organizations, schools, the NYS pest control industry, and in other settings to help develop and promote the use of IPM.

For more information visit our website or use this link for nominations.

Curious about 2018’s awardees?

 

August 5, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on NEW PEST = NEW PEST PAGE

NEW PEST = NEW PEST PAGE

Looking for information on that tick that recently killed 5 cows in North Carolina? The Asian Longhorned Tick is also in NY and may threaten our dairy and livestock industries. Thanks to NYSIPM’s Field Crops and Livestock team, we welcome you to visit our new page to learn more about this serious pest and learn where you can get livestock ticks identified.

As much as we enjoy doing what we do at the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program, there are already plenty of pests to go around. Unfortunately, here’s our newest one found on our  INVASIVES page:  ASIAN LONGHORNED TICK. Haemaphysalis longicornis; ALT.

**Look for the NYS IPM booth at Empire Farm Days for more information or conversation about this tick and how it may affect your farm.

ALT is a special concern to livestock farmers!

greatly magnified photo of Asian Longhorned Tick.

Mouthparts of Asian longhorned tick collected in Hudson Valley, NY by drag cloth. Ventral view. Photo Credit: Matt Frye, NYS IPM Program

Note: If you’re looking for long horns on this tick’s head, you’ll be disappointed. The common name is thought to come from either the spiky points on the tick’s scutum (aka shoulders), or from the points on the side of the head.

Acronyms abound in all parts of our lives. In our ‘business’, common names can be strikingly similar (Spotted Wing Drosophila, SWD, or Spotted Lanternfly, SLF) (Asian Longhorned Tick, Asian Longhorned Beetle) (Black-legged Tick, BLT, Longhorned Tick, ALT, Lone Star Tick, LST).  Hopefully by now you know IPM as Integrated Pest Management.

Biology

  • One parthenogenic female (reproduces without males) can produce hundreds or thousands of offspring
  • Cold temperature tolerance creates potential for establishment in the northeast
  • Broad host range – but prefers cattle
  • Attaching to birds and wildlife allow ALT to spread quickly over an increasing area
  • Preferred habitat:  pastures, meadows
asian longhorned tick
Asian longhorned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis 
Asian longhorned tick has short mouthparts similar to the dog tick, but its lack of any white mottling helps identify it.

Distribution

  • Native to Eastern Asia, invasive ALT became the highly problematic ‘cattle tick’ on Australia and New Zealand livestock
  • Since the 2017 discovery in New Jersey, it’s now in New York and many Northeastern states

map showing New York counties in which asian longhorned tick has been found

Impact: ALT damages livestock health and impairs milk production

  • Severe infestation causes anemia or death from blood loss
  • ALT feeding can transmit bovine theileriosis and parasites that cause babesiosis
  • Theileriosis can significantly reduce milk production and kill calves
sheep's ear infested with asian longhorned ticks
Closeup of ear from a 12-year-old female Icelandic sheep supporting all life stages of Haemaphysalis longicornis in Hunterdon County, NJ.

Management

  • Monitor livestock regularly for ticks – collect and submit suspicious ticks for identification
  • Typical tick insecticide treatments—ear tags, sprays, dips, pour-ons and powders—are effective against ALT
cattle with calves, many have ear tags
Livestock on pasture are particularly vulnerable to tick infestations. Check pastured animals regularly.

IPM for livestock ticks

  • Inspect animals regularly for ticks
  • When indicated, use timely application of insecticides
  • Minimize tick habitat in pasture and feedlots by keeping grasses and weeds trimmed
  • Pasture rotation
  • Deer exclusion limits re-introduction of ticks from wildlife
  • Chickens and guinea fowl in pastures eat adult ticks, but typically not nymphs
  • Opossums eat vast amounts of ticks

Consider following our WEBSITE, THINK IPM BLOG, FACEBOOK PAGE, FLICKR, or TWITTER to access all the latest news not only on this invasive pest but all our activities: 

IPM is as broad as our selection of photos. On farms, vineyards, orchards; in schools, nursing homes, playgrounds; in your own home, lawn, or garden—IPM is foundational to sound, careful, economical ways of dealing with pests.

Our Mission: The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health, and economic risks.

 

 

July 31, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Onion Growers Put Skin in the Game, Earn Excellence in IPM Award

Onion Growers Put Skin in the Game, Earn Excellence in IPM Award

Elba onion growers, Matt Mortellaro, Guy Smith, Chuck Barie, Emmaline Long, and Mark and Max Torrey received an Excellence in IPM Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program. The six are muck onion farmers in Elba, NY who meet weekly during the growing season for what is known as Muck Donut Hour, to discuss crop protection tactics.

Photo of recipients of Excellence in IPM Awards and Cornell staff.

Elba muck onion growers received their awards for Excellence in Onion Integrated Pest Management from New York State IPM in a small roadside ceremony appropriately at Muck Donut Hour this week. Flanked by Brian Nault, Cornell Onion Entomologist on the left, and Christy Hoepting, Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program Onion Specialist on the right are award recipients, Chuck Barie (CY Farms), Peter Smith (filling in for award winner Guy Smith with Triple G Farms), Emmaline Long (CY Farms), Matt Mortellaro (G. Mortellaro & Sons), Jennifer Grant (Director of NYIPM) and Max Torrey, Torrey Farms. Missing from photo was Mark Torrey.

Onions grown in muck soil—organically rich former swampland where production practices are unique and intense—are one of the most valuable crops in New York, with an average value of $34.6 million. In the Elba muck and surrounding pockets in Orleans, Genesee, and Livingston counties, eight farms produce 40% of the New York onion acreage on 3,000 acres. Mortellaro, Triple G, CY, and Big O farms account for almost 75% of that production.

In 2005, onion thrips infestations were nearly uncontrollable in New York. Populations of the vegetable-loving insect were resistant to multiple insecticides, and the hot and dry conditions created a worst-case scenario, causing crop losses exceeding 30%. The Elba muck growers helped Cornell researchers conduct dozens of research trials and host large-scale demonstrations on their land, in an attempt to understand the biology, ecology, and management of thrips. “The result culminated in a practical thrips management program, which includes regular scouting of onion fields followed by sparing use of insecticides designed to minimize resistance”, said Brian Nault, Professor of Entomology at Cornell AgriTech.

The Elba growers are now able to successfully manage their thrips infestations. They average between 1- 4 fewer insecticide applications and have saved an average of $113/acre, which is approximately $6,000-$226,000 per farm per year. In addition to regular scouting, the other key tool in the IPM arsenal is information exchange and discussions at the Muck Donut Hour, which Christy Hoepting, Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Vegetable Program, describes as a way she keeps her ‘finger on the pulse’ of the pest complex each year.

Photo shows someone holding a glazed donut with a background of an onion muck field.

Muck Donut Hour is a long-standing tradition.

A CCE tradition for over twenty years, the Muck Donut Hour is held weekly during the growing season. There growers and researchers discuss the latest research findings, scouting and spray reports. Hoepting notes the willingness of the muck onion farmers to entrust their crops to Cornell’s research, and their transparency in sharing spray records. She continues: “the Elba growers are undeniably brave; to so wholeheartedly adopt IPM practices demonstrates the extent of their faith in Cornell’s research on their farms. The risk of a pest spiraling out of control in a high-value onion crop is frightening. Clearly, these growers believe in solid science and go above and beyond to support it.”

Photo shows Christy Hoepting in an onion field.

CCE Educator Christy Hoepting

Steven Beer, Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, says, “without the cooperation of the Elba onion growers, it is not likely that so many IPM-themed tactics would have been adequately tested under real grower conditions. They set the standard for other growers.”

The Elba muck onion farmers are: Matt Mortellaro, a third generation muck farmer and co-owner of G. Mortellaro & Sons, with his brother Paul. “Matt is a fearless leader in adopting IPM strategies. He is committed to sustainable onion production and environmental stewardship, and is a strong advocate of onion IPM,” adds Hoepting. Guy Smith, a fourth generation muck farmer, owns Triple G Farms with his brother Greg and nephew Peter. Guy represents the Elba growing region on the board of directors for the New York Onion Research and Development Program. Chuck Barie and Emmaline Long are Crop Production Managers for CY Farms LLC, which grows 120 acres in Batavia and Elba. Chuck has been responsible for planting, spraying, irrigating and harvesting the onions for over twenty years. Emmaline joined the farm in 2014, after graduating from Cornell; she scouts CY’s entire onion acreage weekly, including counting thrips, to implement IPM. Together, she and Chuck make pest management decisions. CY has the ability to micro manage every 5-20 acre onion field based on each area’s precise pest management needs. Mark and Max Torrey are a father and son onion growing duo, and 11th and 12th generation farmers with Torrey Farms Inc. Max serves as the General Manager for Torrey’s onion operation, Big O Farms. As the largest grower in Elba, the Torrey’s pest management practices affect everyone, Hoepting adds, “Their commitment to implementing resistance management strategies and following IPM spray thresholds has been instrumental in preserving the longevity of insecticides remaining effective against thrips.”
The award will be presented to the pioneering growers during their Muck Donut Hour on July 30.

NYSIPM develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people use methods that minimize environmental, health and economic risks. The award honors individuals who encourage the adoption of IPM in their businesses, schools, communities, and farms, and who develop new tools and tactics for sharing these practices. Learn more about Integrated Pest Management at nysipm.cornell.edu.

Media contact: Vegetable IPM Educator Abby Seaman
FOR HI RES PHOTOS

Article written by Mariah Courtney Mottley

July 16, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Senior Worm Wrangler Safeguards North Country Crops, wins Excellence in IPM Award

Senior Worm Wrangler Safeguards North Country Crops, wins Excellence in IPM Award

Press Release by Mariah Courtney Mottley. Media contact: Jaime Cummings

Elson Shields, a Cornell entomology professor, received an Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) at Cornell University’s Aurora Farm Field Day on the Musgrave Research Farm. NYSIPM develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health and economic risks. The award honors individuals who encourage the adoption of IPM in their businesses, schools, communities, and farms, and who develop new tools and tactics for sharing these practices.

Elson Shields

Elson Shields, right, and Charles Bornt, left, Extension Vegetable Specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture team. Elson is explaining the process of EPN application for a biocontrol project to suppress wireworms in the field. Photo: T. Rusinek.

The alfalfa snout beetle, an invasive pest, is a perennial threat to north country alfalfa. In the absence of any registered insecticides for this pest, growers are forced to only use cultural and biological controls. Shields found success protecting alfalfa from the snout beetle with the use of native entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs). Nematodes are tiny worms that parasitize and eventually kill the beetle larvae, and stay in the soil to infect future generations of the pest. Shields pioneered the use of nematodes that persist in the soil, and has been able to control snout beetles as long as six years after a single application of EPNs.

Shields has taught growers to rear the EPNs and to apply them to their own crops. Dr. Shields is also exploring ways to use these beneficial nematodes to protect specialty crops. He works with agribusiness consultants in the private sector and other researchers in the public sector. His effective strategy with persistent EPNs has been featured in trade journals such as Growing Produce, Good Fruit Grower and Dairy Herd Management. He received an Entomological Foundation Award for Excellence in IPM in 2013, and his promotion of persistent EPNs is being widely adopted.

Dr. Shields is seen in this photo as he speaks with a group of growers.

Dr. Elson Shields speaks with farmers about his Northern New York Agricultural Development Program alfalfa snout beetle research at a field day in Belleville, NY. Photo courtesy of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

By studying the persistence of nematodes applied to alfalfa through a crop rotation that included several years of corn, Shields observed that EPNs were also helping to control the corn rootworm, on their vacation time from alfalfa. Through collaborations with horticultural researchers, Shields is working on applying persistent EPNs as biological controls in crops such as strawberry, cranberry, sweet potato and turf. He is also studying the potential for using these techniques on greenhouse ornamentals.

Margaret Smith, Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University, commends Shields’ willingness to question standard pest management orthodoxy and to follow research results wherever they might lead. She continues, “Elson’s snout beetle IPM effort is an exemplar of an outstanding public sector pest management program. Shields has done pioneering, innovating, and broadly effective research on an array of crops. His record of success will be hard to match.”

Laura McDermott, Regional Extension Specialist, says: “Dr. Shields’ work with native entomopathogenic nematodes is some of the most exciting applied research I’ve been involved with in my 30-year extension career. This integration of a biological control method as a way to manage difficult soil-borne insect pests is inexpensive, effective, and truly sustainable. Elson ALWAYS has the growers in the forefront of his mind. His efforts to teach farmers how to raise and apply these nematodes is testimony to his understanding of their abilities.”

“New York Agriculture, including the dairy, vegetable and fruit industries, have benefitted greatly from Elson’s vision and willingness to go above and beyond what is expected,” says Teresa Rusinek, Extension Associate for Vegetable Production in Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County.  She continues, “I’ve observed at our field meetings and farm demo work that growers easily understand the system and readily adopt the biocontrol strategies Elson’s developed.”

July 12, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on North Country Cutworm Crusader Mike Hunter receives an EXCELLENCE IN IPM Award

North Country Cutworm Crusader Mike Hunter receives an EXCELLENCE IN IPM Award

Press Release by Mariah Courtney Mottley. Media contact: Jaime Cummings

 

Fields Crop Specialist Mike Hunter is seen near a trap meant for pests entering this field corn plot.

Field crops specialist Mike Hunter works with the Cornell Cooperative Extension North Country Regional Ag Team.

Mike Hunter, a field crops specialist in the Cornell Cooperative Extension North Country Regional Ag Team, received an Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) at Cornell University’s Aurora Farm Field Day. Hunter was supposed to receive the in January at the crop congress meeting in Watertown but dangerous snowstorms delayed the presentation. NYSIPM develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health and economic risks. The award honors individuals who encourage the adoption of IPM in their businesses, schools, communities, and farms, and who develop new tools and tactics for sharing these practices.

Photo shows a western bean cutworm larva in the tip of a corn cob.

Western Bean Cutworm is a destructive corn pest.

Hunter has served the farming communities of Jefferson and Lewis counties for over 17 years as a field crops specialist. His personal experience on his family’s farm and in the private sector of agricultural business has inspired his passion for practical crop production and pest management solutions. He is considered an expert on weed management and the Western Bean Cutworm (WBC), an insect that recently invaded the North Country, and has spent years monitoring the pest and giving talks about it here and in Canada.

In 2017, Hunter was one of the first people in New York to encounter a population of WBC that were resistant to the CryF1 toxin that is incorporated into genetically modified corn. The WBCs are the larvae of a Noctuid moth notorious for causing significant yield and quality losses to corn and dry beans – the cutworm made its debut here in the Empire State in 2009. Of Hunter’s on-farm efficacy trials, Kitty O’Neil, an extension specialist in Canton NY, said, “the results were so clear and important, and Mike’s expertise is valued so highly, he was invited to speak at nine different winter field crop meetings across NY and Ontario last winter.” She continues, “Mike’s generosity and willingness to teach others has massively multiplied his impact.”

Photo shows Dr. Jennifer Grant awarding a plaque to Mike Hunter for his Excellence in IPM Award.

NYSIPM Director, Dr. Jennifer Grant awards Mike Hunter his Excellence in IPM award during the recent annual Aurora Field day at Musgrave Farm.

Hunter has collected data from pheromone trapping and field scouting, and made IPM recommendations for farmers suffering with WBC. Stephen Eisel, of the Copenhagen, NY farm where Hunter first identified the resistant pest reported, “Mike Hunter has been a great help to my farm…. We treated the fields following Mike’s recommendations and the fields recovered perfectly. Thanks to Mike and his IPM expertise, I was able to avoid a big and costly problem for my farm.”

In his role helping farmers with their crops, Hunter has also been a champion of using native beneficial nematodes (EPN) as a biological control for the alfalfa snout beetle, an invasive pest that causes much concern for farmers in the north country. Nematodes are tiny worms that parasitize and eventually kill the beetles, and stay in the soil to infect future generations of the pest. Hunter has researched the feasibility of applying EPNs to the soil via liquid manure—an application method that many farmers are excited to embrace.

Michael Kiechle, a farmer in Philadelphia NY, noted, “Over 10 years ago, Mike diagnosed a problem with Alfalfa Snout Beetle over the phone, confirmed it through farm visits and introduced me to the nematodes for control. I now have a pretty decent alfalfa crop… Mike followed up his reasoning with relevant research, and made contact with other researchers and agronomists on my behalf… He is knowledgeable, he understands agriculture and can adapt solutions to the unique needs of the farm.”

Ken Wise extension educator with NYSIPM said, “Mike takes time for everyone and helps them in a respectful and informative way.”

Learn more about Integrated Pest Management at nysipm.cornell.edu.

Post by Mariah Courtney Mottley

 

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