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Results from Small IPM Demonstrations and Field Research Projects in the Capital District 2001

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Project Leader(s): John Mishanec, Area IPM Vegetable Educator, Eastern NY

Abstract: It is important to educate vegetable growers with new ideas. New ideas are transmitted best when people are able to see those ideas in practice. Field research, demonstrations, meetings and data collection took place in Saratoga, Washington, Rensselaer, Columbia, Albany and Schoharie Counties. Since there is a large distance from one end of this area to the other end, field demonstrations were done multiple times, on different farms in different counties. This approach necessitated small demonstrations to make specific educational points. The summer field research and demonstration projects included:

A demonstration of the late blight prediction model utilizing a weather station in Washington County

The demonstration was held at the Albert Shelton potato farm. The Late Blight Forecasting (LBF) model is based on hours of relative humidity (RH) over 90%, average temperature (Av Tp) and total precipitation (Total prcp). The data collected from the weather station is formulated into severity values (SV). The first spray occurs when 18 severity value units have been accumulated. In our demonstration, the grower applied his first spray when the potato plants had 4 leaves. Using the Late Blight Forecasting model, after the first spray, subsequent sprays are applied when 6 or more severity value units have been accumulated. The grower used a conventional system of spraying weekly on a 7 day schedule. Using the LBF model, one spray was saved. The brake down of the weather station coincided with the driest weather of the summer. The grower continued to spray his fields weekly till mid September. It did not rain after the middle of August and using the LBF model; the grower could have felt confident in stretching out his spray interval. When the weather is wet, the LBF model calls for sprays as needed. When the weather is dry, the LBF indicates a longer period of time between sprays can occur. This is common sense. By having a good tool in the weather station and the LBF model, growers can have more confidence in making good management decisions thus saving time and money.

A Trichogramma wasp demonstration for the control of European Corn Borer in Sweet corn

The trichogramma wasp demonstration took place on two farms, one in Washington County and the other in Albany County. Our release of trichogramma wasps was timed, with the help of Pheromone traps, for the first spike of the european corn borer (ECB) flight. This spring was a cool one and ECB did not start to fly till the second week of June. Doing it this way we had very good luck finding ECB egg masses on early corn.

Every where we looked we found at least 60-80% infested egg masses. The grower in Washington County abandoned his fields for personal reasons but the grower in Albany County was successfully impressed to only apply one spray to his early corn. ("Early corn is too valuable to take a chance on.") Harvest evaluations showed the corn to be totally clean from ECB damage. As a result of this demonstration, we learned we got the best results from timing the trichogramma release to the ECB flight and the grower gained confidence in this technology.

A Spintor low toxicity insecticide demonstration in sweet corn using reduced rates to reduce costs.

Over the years, a number of low toxicity, biological insecticides have come onto the market. Trials of these products have not always shown good results against the three main sweet corn insects, european corn borer (ECB), fall army worm (FAW) and corn ear worm (CEW). Spintor, produced by Dow, a fermented product, originally came on the market in 1999. In 2000, the trial was set up with four participating commercial sweet corn growers. Those results showed Spintor was comparable to Warrior in effectiveness against both european corn borer and corn ear worm. Where Spintor came up short was in a cost comparison with Warrior. For 2001, we wanted to look at lower rates of Spintor to see if we could bring the cost per acre down. Work done by Professor Dick Straub, at the Hudson Valley Lab indicated lower rates of Spintor would work. We tried two and three ounce rates. Spintor at these rates were as effective as Warrior. The 3oz. rate of Spintor makes it more cost comparative with Warrior but it is still more expensive. Using the 2oz. rate of Spintor against the 3oz. rate of Warrior makes Spintor more reasonable. All the participating growers said they would reconsider using Spintor on their farms knowing the cost was more comparative with Warrior. Lower toxicity comes at a higher price.

A demonstration of insect and disease resistant varieties of vine crops

Powdery mildew resistant varieties of vine crops were obtained and planted at the Valatie research farm in Columbia County and participating farms in Saratoga County. The demonstration was part of the late-season vine crop twi-light field meetings. Growers saw the quality of the varieties as compared with traditional varieties. Growers are just beginning to learn about the resistant varieties available in the various vine crops. This demonstration showed that beyond the well-know pumpkin varieties, other crops are now gaining PM resistance.