A STRAWBERRY INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR A COLD CLIMATE, DIRECT-MARKETING REGION
Strawberries are an important retail crop for small farms in the Northeastern United States. Historically, the crop was intensively managed, using fairly high levels of pesticides to control insect and disease pests, including tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris), strawberry bud weevil (Anthonomus signatus), two spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) and gray mold (Botrytis cinerea). Because the crop is sold fresh and frequently pick your own, tolerance to pests is low and potential exposure to pesticide residue is high. Consumers coming to the farms frequently expressed concerns regarding pesticide use. In 1993, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension initiated a strawberry integrated pest management (IPM) program to address the concerns of both farmers and consumers regarding pesticide use on this crop. The program introduced pest monitoring techniques, including weekly scouting, and economic action thresholds developed in the Northeastern United States. The program now serves over 50 farms statewide, and has worked with neighboring states to provide information throughout the region. Nine sites within Maine are now monitored during the growing season and regularly updated information is delivered to growers throughout the state via weekly newsletters, e-mail, and web sites. Annual pre-season grower meetings provide information on monitoring and management technologies. Applied research is an important part of this program, cooperating with growers to evaluate plant pest resistance, low risk pesticide efficacy and biological controls to reduce pest populations. Evaluations indicate that nearly all participating growers have modified their pesticide use as a result of the program. Most have seen an improvement in the crop quality and profitability, and a reduction in consumer concerns.
Handley, D.T. and Dill, J.F. (2009). A STRAWBERRY INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR A COLD CLIMATE, DIRECT-MARKETING REGION. Acta Hortic. 842, 645-648
Fragaria × ananassa, Lygus lineolaris, Anthonomus signatus, Tetranychusurticae, insect monitoring, action threshold