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Grape IPM in the Northeast

Setting up a Weather Station

A variety of weather equipment can be used in collecting weather information that is needed to calculate infection periods for black rot (548k pdf file) and powdery mildew (490k pdf file). The equipment can be as simple as a maximum/minimum thermometer and a rain gauge or as complex as an in-field computer that calculates infection periods as they occur. The important thing to remember is which weather conditions need to be monitored to determine infection periods for a particular disease.

The weather conditions that need to be monitored for grape diseases are temperature, precipitation, leaf wetness, and average temperature during periods of leaf wetness. The remaining paragraphs of this article describe weather stations that can be used for monitoring infection periods in grapes.

Basic Weather Station

Maximum/minimum thermometer

Cost: $20 to $35

Rain gauge

Cost: Free to $330

This basic weather station can give a grower all the information that is needed to determine a powdery mildew primary infection period (50°F and 0.1 inch of rain or more) but will not provide the information needed to determine black rot infection periods, which require knowledge of the length of leaf wetness periods and of the average temperature during such periods. This information can be estimated, but accuracy of the estimates is often poor and may result in too many or too few fungicide applications.

Better-than-Basic Weather Station

Recording chart thermometer

Cost: $300 and up

Rain gauge

Cost: Free to $330

This weather station provides accurate temperature information on 24-hour charts over a 7-day period. Hours of leaf wetness must still be estimated, but accuracy of the temperatures measured during the estimated leaf wetness periods is drastically improved over that available with the "basic weather station."

Hygrothermagraphs

Hygrothermagraph

Cost: $ 645 to $1,795

Rain gauge

Cost: Free to $330

Hygrothermagraphs record temperature and leaf wetness information on a 24-hour chart over a 7-day period. When combined with a rain gauge, this equipment will provide all the information needed for monitoring grape diseases.

Data Logger Weather Units

1. Sensor Instruments Field Monitor, Cost: $1,850

2. METOS -COMPACT, Cost: $2,898
3. METOS-DAT Pest Monitor, Cost: $3,990

Data logger weather units continuously collect data on weather conditions and store that information until needed. Data can be downloaded into a file via modem and telephone lines or via portable computers in the field. Some models require hand recording from LCD displays. While many data loggers are being marketed for grapes, those listed above are the ones with which the New York State Grape IPM Program has experience.

In-field Computerized Weather Stations

1. METOS Classic, Cost: $4,250

2. Neogen Envirocaster Cost: $5,000 to $6,000

In-field computerized weather stations contain the software needed to determine infection periods of grape diseases. By walking out into the field and pushing some buttons, a grower can receive information on infection periods and weather conditions for the past 24 hours or for the growing season to date. These weather stations contain computers. The additional cost of these machines does not mean increased accuracy, however. The sensors used to collect weather data can be the same on data logger-style weather stations and on in-field computerized weather stations.