Washington is known worldwide for its apples. To remain globally competitive it is crucial for the state’s apple industry to continue producing quality, pest-free fruit despite the phase-out of widely used organophosphate (OP) insecticides. WSU’s Pesticide Management Transition Project is helping them make the transition.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out the use of azinphos-methyl, the pesticide most used to control the key apple pest, the codling moth, by 2012 for health and environmental reasons. The agency is facing pressure to accelerate the phase out.
Apple industry leaders and the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee are working together to help growers switch to OP alternatives for pest control.
Thanks to funding from the state Legislature, the Pest Management Transition Project is using education and outreach to help growers transition to managing pests using ecologically based Integrated Pest Management strategies.
WSU’s TFREC in Wenatchee is implementing the transition project, where director Jay Brunner is a pioneer and leader in developing effective IPM strategies.
Project manager Keith Granger established fourteen separate implementation units distributed geographically across the principal fruit growing regions of the state. The units held regular local meetings in 2008 that directly involved nearly 200 people representing an influence of 42,600 acres of apple. Target audiences included growers, farm managers and crop consultants. Three field days were held in June to share research-based information on successfully implementing IPM strategies.
The project informally surveyed growers through the implementation units to establish base line data on the use pest management practices, and to track the effectiveness of the project’s education, outreach and training efforts as it helps growers transition to more environmentally friendly pest management approaches.
For more information visit http://pmtp.wsu.edu