Both established and beginning farmers of diversified vegetable and fruit farms in New England have requested training and tools to help them with whole-farm Integrated Pest Management (IPM). In particular, farmers ask for on-farm training in procedures to scout, trap, and monitor pests as well as pest advisories tailored to reflect their own farms, local, and regional pest pressures. This project will address the need for a scouting and pest advisory network that spans the range of climate zones from north to south in New England and is responsive to seasonal fluctuations in weather and crop conditions. Using field walks and weekly scouting visits at sentinel farms in Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, we will provide growers with hands-on training in IPM methods for key pests and/or diseases in vegetable and fruit crops. With data gathered using a consistent, multi-state (VT, MA and RI) weekly scouting protocol, we will develop a pest advisory system that is suited to each state's needs and also linked among states. For Vermont and Rhode Island, this will establish a foundation for regular IPM pest advisories in fruit and vegetable crops. The impact of field walk training, scouting and the pest advisory system will be to prepare the next generation of IPM farm scouts to be familiar with pest life cycles and able to use available tools to make educated decisions in IPM with a better regional network of pest information.
- Train over 200 farmers in RI, MA, and VT in scouting techniques for key pests during the 2014 and 2015 growing seasons on a diversity of vegetable and fruit crops.
- Further develop a web-based pest advisory system that includes data from multiple states and disseminate the information to more than 1,500 subscribers.
Timeframe: 2014 - 2016
Funded by: Northeast IPM Center