New York State IPM Program

April 26, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Local Girl Scouts Troop Hosts Dr. Betsy Lamb of NYS IPM to Learn About Pollinators

Local Girl Scouts Troop Hosts Dr. Betsy Lamb of NYS IPM to Learn About Pollinators

Today’s Post is by Jaime Cummings

Girl scouts troop 40001 in Trumansburg, NY is working on their Bronze Award, which involves planning and establishing a pollinator-friendly community garden for raising awareness about the importance of pollinators in agriculture, our landscape, and community.  The girls have spent nearly 20 hours preparing for their garden, including researching the best flowers to grow, planning the layout of the garden, learning about the more than 500 species of pollinators in NY, planting seeds of many perennial flowers that benefit pollinators, and writing letters to community leaders requesting a site for the garden to raise awareness in the community.

On Earth Day, Dr. Betsy Lamb of the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program was invited to share her horticultural expertise and passion for pollinators with the girl scouts.  Dr. Lamb shared examples of the many bees, flies, butterflies, moths, bats and hummingbirds who pollinate our native, ornamental and agricultural crops in NY.  The girls learned how bees see in the ultraviolet spectrum and that many flowers are specifically designed with their particular pollinators in mind to maximize reproduction.  Dr. Lamb provided many samples of fresh flowers for the girls to dissect and to learn about flower anatomy and biology as it pertains to the various methods of pollination, which was a big hit with the girls!  She also gave some tips on garden establishment to ensure success.

The girls shared their plans for the garden with Dr. Lamb, who was impressed by the knowledge of the girls and the wide range of beneficial blooms they had selected to plant.  The garden will include 13 different types of flowers, selected with different bloom types and flowering times to feed and support pollinators from spring to fall, along with an informational sign on the benefits of pollinators and beneficial insects to our community.  The garden will be established this summer for the Trumansburg community to enjoy for years to come.  This sort of hands-on learning, fostered by Dr. Lamb, will not soon be forgotten by these girl scouts!

Post provided by Jaime Cummings   NYSIPM Field Crops and Livestock IPM Coordinator and Girl Scout Leader.

Thanks to Dr. Betsy Lamb, NYSIPM Ornamental IPM Coordinator

***NYSIPM staff are looking forward to photos of this pollinator garden so we hope to share them with you all as well!

 

October 17, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Seed Selection for Resistance to Insects and Diseases

Seed Selection for Resistance to Insects and Diseases

Today’s post is authored by  Jaime Cummings, NYS IPM Field Crops and Livestock

Whether planting a home garden or a one hundred acre soybean field, it’s important to consider all the pest, weed and disease issues that may occur during the growing season.  We have many tools in the IPM toolkit to help us manage these issues, including crop rotation, hand weeding, reliance on natural predators, and use of exclusion barriers, insect traps and pesticides.  But one of the most important cultural practices everyone should consider as a first line of defense against pests and diseases is genetic resistance in the varieties you select to grow.

Selective breeding, or genetic modification, for improved harvests has been occurring since the beginning of agriculture, and all modern crops have been modified in some way from their wild ancestor plants.  Think about corn, also known as maize, as one familiar example.  All modern corn was derived from the ancestral grass called teosinte through selective breeding by our ancestors (Figure 1).  Many advancements in breeding methods and technologies have developed in recent decades, but the goal is the same:  To develop elite varieties that are well-adapted to specific regions with resistance to common diseases and pests to achieve high yields.  We now have a wide range of corn varieties and hybrids with different maturities, different colored and sized kernels, and different levels of resistance to a wide variety of pests and diseases (Figure 2).  Some modern corn hybrids even have specific traits or genes that enable them to tolerate certain herbicides or to ward off some insect pests.  All these breeding advancements have resulted in improved yields and decreased pesticide use.  And there are many other disease resistance genes that have been discovered and integrated into many corn varieties.  These too have significantly reduced farmers’ reliance on pesticides for managing diseases and the harmful mycotoxins produced by some pathogenic fungi.

Figure 1. 

Teosinte is the wild plant that all modern corn originated from 8,700 years ago.  (Image from National Geographic)

Figure 2. 

Diversity in corn varieties developed through selective breeding efforts.  (Image from USDA)

Corn is just one example among all the crops we grow with options for genetic resistance to numerous pests and diseases.  We have similar opportunities when selecting varieties for our fruits, vegetables and grains (Figures 3 and 4).  Choose wisely and consider the advantages of selecting varieties with resistance.  Many insects and diseases plague our crops that are challenging to manage, with or without the natural or synthetic pesticides used in organic or non-organic agricultural systems.  To improve your chances of success in minimizing losses, consider all the strategies of integrated pest management, starting with the seeds you select to plant.

Figure 3. 

Tomato varieties that are susceptible (left) and resistant (right) to late blight.  (Image from Cornell University, Martha Mutschler)

Figure 4.

Soybean varieties that are susceptible (left) and resistant (right) to aphids.  (Image from University of Minnesota)

Whether developed through traditional selective breeding methods or high-tech genetic engineering, all of our crops have been modified from their original form to provide us with improved feed, fiber and fuel yields.  When selecting varieties to plant in your garden or on your farm, take advantage of these breeding advancements, and consider choosing varieties with resistance to the pests and diseases that are commonly problematic in your area.  You’ll be glad you did when you have fewer bugs chomping on your crops and fewer losses to those unsightly molds and mildews.

 

Jaime Cummings

Jaime Cummings

Field Crops and Livestock IPM Coordinator

524 Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, 14853
Jaime works with growers, dairy and livestock producers, extension educators, research faculty and staff and industry counterparts to promote the adoption of IPM practices for insect, disease and weed management for all field crops and livestock. Her work includes research and educational outreach throughout New York State.

 

October 5, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on “She Had a Field Day” More with New Field Crops Coordinator, Jaime Cummings

“She Had a Field Day” More with New Field Crops Coordinator, Jaime Cummings

On Thursday, September 6, forty-five farmers attended a free Corn Plot Field Day in Cochecton, N.Y., where IPM staffers Jaime Cummings and Ken Wise gave two presentations. Event sponsors included Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County (CCESC), Cochecton Mills, and Delaware Valley Farm & Garden.

Jaime Cummings, newly minted NYS Livestock and Field Crops Integrated Pest Management Coordinator, discussed two aspects of corn pests—worms and leaf diseases. A field trial tour of over a dozen varieties preceded the discussion and assessment.

Jaime Cummings

As invited speaker, Jaime came with plenty of experience, but admits that while discussing insect pests, she was particularly glad for Ken’s presence and his over twenty years with the IPM program. Three major insect pests were discussed: Western bean cutworm, corn rootworm and common army worm.

Common Armyworm Damage

The second talk centered on corn foliar diseases including gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, eyespot, and common rust.

Both northern corn leaf spot and gray leaf spot are present here.

Attendees learned about the biology and lifecycles of each disease and pest, and IPM management tactics. To aid identification and further understand the impacts on yields, farmers examined samples of insects and diseased leaves.

Western Bean Cutworm

Since starting her position in July, Cummings has been ‘boots on the ground’ in corn and soybean fields across the state, offering IPM options that help extension educators and farmers identify and manage diseases and pests. From rating a soybean white mold variety trial in western NY to searching for the soybean cyst nematode in central NY, and this corn field day in eastern NY, Cummings has jumped in with both feet to help NY field crop and livestock farmers.

Later this year, Jaime will be speaking at multiple events including these two CCE grower meetings: soybean white mold in Herkimer County, and soybean cyst nematode in Cayuga County.

Soybean White Mold

For more about Jaime, visit our welcome post!

To keep up with ALL aspects of the NYS IPM Program, please consider following our Facebook page  and Twitter account

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