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Demonstration/Evaluation of IPM Protocols for Cucurbits 1997

Project Leader: Abby Seaman

Objectives:

1. Set up five split-field demonstrations comparing current grower practices with the recommended IPM protocol in pumpkins, winter squash, summer squash, cucumbers, or melons.

2. Establish baseline information on grower insect and disease management practices in cucurbits.

3. Compare pest populations, pest management costs, and crop quality in the grower-managed and IPM-managed portions of the fields.

Results:

IPM demonstrations were conducted in five fields: two pumpkin, two melon, and one zucchini. One of the melon fields did not require any insecticide or fungicide applications, and fruit quality was very good. In the other melon field, fruit size and quality were lower, probably due more to stress than pest pressure. Insecticide and fungicide applications to that field were called for by the IPM thresholds.

One of the pumpkin fields was sold as U-pick and was treated with a reduced IPM program that involved one more fungicide application than the grower typically applied. There was somewhat improved handle quality in the IPM portion of the field, though the difference was not statistically significant. The other pumpkin field was sold for retail sales, with higher quality requirements than the U-pick field. Fewer applications of fungicide were made in the IPM-managed area than in the grower-managed area. There was not much difference between the two areas in crop quality at harvest. Bacterial leaf spot was present in both pumpkin fields and caused crop losses before harvest of up to 26%, with additional losses after harvest likely. More information is needed about this disease in order to successfully practice IPM in pumpkins.

In the zucchini field an attempt was made to determine whether fungicide applications could lengthen the useful life of a zucchini planting started under plastic for early market. Results were inconclusive.