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International IPM Program Drives Sustainable Management of Tomato Leafminer

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Since 2012, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International’s Plantwise program has guided growers in 10 Latin American countries on managing Tuta absoluta (larva shown here), a devastating lepidopteran pest of tomatoes, and substituting or complementing chemical control with more sustainable strategies. (Photo by Marja van der Straten, NVWA Plant Protection Service, Bugwood.org)

By Yelitza C. Colmenárez, Ph.D., and Donna Smith

The lepidopteran pest Tuta absoluta is one of the world’s most devastating phytophagous species affecting tomato plants and fresh tomatoes, causing high levels of crop production loss, especially when no control strategies are implemented. Tuta absoluta—sometimes known as the tomato leafminer, tomato pinworm, or tomato moth—continues to cause crop losses in the Americas, where it originates, but more recently it has invaded production areas in Europe, Asia, and Africa, owing to the globalization of commerce and trade, which, along with other factors, is considered responsible for the increase in invasive species.

Given T. absoluta‘s economic importance, management strategies have mainly focused on pesticides with a wide range of organic micropollutants that negatively impact the environment, mostly due to biomagnification and bioconcentration. Thus, more sustainable strategies need to be used alongside chemical control, including biological control agents such as parasitoids, predators, and entomopathogenic microorganisms; botanical insecticides; and pheromones and plant resistance.

In an article published in May 2022 in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management (JIPM), researchers at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International and several universities in Latin America detail case studies in sustainable management efforts for T. absoluta through CABI’s Plantwise program. (Co-author of this article Yelitza C. Colmenárez, Ph.D., is lead author of the report in JIPM.)

Tuta absoluta Management From a Plantwise Perspective

Plantwise is a global program led by CABI that helps farmers handle plant health problems through a national network of plant clinics, established in each country through which the program is implemented. The clinics are run by trained plant doctors, from whom farmers can obtain practical advice. During its 10-year implementation, there were more than 3,700 plant clinics in 34 countries around the world, where plant doctors provided diagnoses and management advice for any problem and any crop, benefitting farmers who need help with the plant pests and diseases affecting their crops.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Plantwise was operational in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.

In Bolivia, plant clinics were considered a standard procedure to enhance the technical abilities of extension officers and farmers, and there is evidence that they have led to increased crop yields and quality. Likewise, in Costa Rica efforts have been made to implement plant clinics in collaboration with key institutions in the country.

All Plantwise countries have developed pest management guides called “Green and Yellow Lists” with the help of experts in entomology, phytopathology, nematology, and acarology, as well as agricultural extension agents from different institutions (e.g., public universities, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and research institutes) to develop precise advice on dealing with some of the most important pests.

two men, one standing and one squatting, both wearing green hats, look at a large pile of green and red tomatoes on a tarp on the ground
a person wearing a white jacket and a green hat holds a tomato in their left hand and takes a closeup picture of the tomato with a camera in their right hand, while standing in a field of tomato plants
four people stand at an open-air booth with a sign above that reads "Clinica de Plantas"

The plant clinics have allowed researchers to determine the distribution of T. absoluta and identify the tomato cultivars most frequently associated with this pest in Bolivia and Costa Rica; it has been found to be most widespread in the department of Santa Cruz, followed by Cochabamba (five localities), Chuquisaca, Tarija, and Tiraque in Bolivia, while in Costa Rica it has been reported from Alajuela Province, where T. absoluta feeds on eight cultivars.

In Bolivia, T. absoluta management recommendations evolved greatly between 2012 and 2018. When the plant clinics were first established, farmers were predominantly advised to use chemical control; from 2012 onward, however, chemical use diminished and soon stabilized, reaching levels between 35 percent and 49 percent of recommended treatments. Meanwhile, alternative management strategies (e.g., biological, ethological, and cultural controls) began to increase in Bolivia, thanks to the influence and recommendations of the plant clinics.

During Plantwise implementation, the technicians who delivered this advice to the farmers when visiting the plant clinics were also trained in integrated pest management (IPM) and were thus familiarized with more sustainable methods of managing the key pest population. Cultural control-based recommendations, including lower-leaf pruning and elimination of crop residues and infested fruits, among others, have shown a steady increase since 2014. They reached levels of 35 percent and 31.8 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively, similar to the 2016 chemical control levels. Ethological control recommendations, such as the use of pheromone traps, showed a discrete increase from 2014 to 2016 (12 percent to 15 percent), but in 2017 and 2018 reached a range of 25 percent to 27.1 percent.

two farm workers stand in a field near a table, on which sits a white plastic jug with its sides cut and opened upward as flaps; the jug is a pheromone trap
closeup view of a white plastic jug with its sides cut and opened upward as flaps; the jug is a pheromone trap

As demonstrated in Bolivia and Costa Rica, the Plantwise program has brought substantial change to the ways in which farmers deal with pests, including T. absoluta, based on substituting or complementing chemical control with more sustainable strategies, due partially to the plant doctors’ recommendations.

Positive performance outcomes can impact the extension advisor’s ability to efficiently carry out a given task, giving them the confidence to perform similar tasks in the future. Reducing the overuse of insecticides in tomatoes alongside a higher IPM adoption rate provided a great case study illustrating the importance of field extension professionals in advising growers. It proved the importance of investing in technology transfer to improve food quality and, from a broader perspective, overall quality of life.

The positive results presented through the case studies shared in JIPM should encourage governments to invest more money in these basic principles. It is certainly much more efficient than attempting to mitigate the consequences associated with the misuse of pesticides, such as pollution, public health issues, and pest resurgence, among other problems.

Read More

Sustainable Management of the Invasive Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae): an Overview of Case Studies From Latin American Countries Participating in Plantwise

Journal of Integrated Pest Management

Yelitza C. Colmenárez, Ph.D., is director of the CABI Brazil Centre and regional coordinator of Plantwise in Latin America and the Caribbean, based in Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil. Email: y.colmenarez@cabi.orgDonna Smith is a communications manager at CABI Switzerland.

This article is adapted from an article originally published on the Plantwise Blog. Republished with permission.

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International Plant Protection Congresses

The International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS), together with local organizations and societies, convenes the International Plant Protection Congress every 4 years. The next Congress is in Athens, Greece in July 2024 (postponed due to the pandemic). We are now announcing the request for applications to host the XXI IPPC to be convened in 2027. For details regarding past congresses – click here

The important dates for an application to host this Congress are:
December 31, 2023:
Applications due.
March, 2024: Decision made by IAPPS Executive Committee.
May, 2024: Agreement between IAPPS and the LCO (Local Congress Organizer).
July, 2024: Winning bidder promotes their 2027 IPPC at Athens 2024 IPPC

For details on making an application and a Guide for applying to host the IPPC-2027 see:

https://www.plantprotection.org/application-details-for-ippc-2027

For further information contact:

Prof. E. A. ‘Short’ Heinrichs

Secretary General and Membership Manager, IAPPS

Phone: 402-890-7496

Email: eheinrichs2@unl.edu

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ENDURE NEWS, Issue 36, December 2022

Welcome to the 36th edition of ENDURE News, the electronic newsletter from ENDURE. Please feel free to share this newsletter with colleagues.

  • e-PIC: On the road again
    Following a break caused by Covid-19, Philippe Delval and Solène Batard from ACTA, France’s association of agricultural technical institutes, have hit the road, facilitating a series of thematic days across the country as part of the campaign to encourage the uptake of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
  • IWMPRAISE: Newsletter and resources
    Although the IWMPRAISE project has now officially ended, it leaves behind an extensive selection of resources for all those interested in Integrated Weed Management (IWM). As the project’s final external newsletter makes clear, these include but are not limited to an IWM tool, tool sheets offering complementary information to the IWM tool, how-to inspiration sheets, e-learning modules, IWM games and scientific publications.
  • IPMWorks: Watch the videos!
    With the IPMWorks Resource Toolbox scheduled to open later this year, the Horizon 2020 project’s YouTube channel is beginning to fill up with introductions to some of its hubs and coverage of some of the events that have been held.
  • IPM Decisions platform goes live!
    The IPM Decisions platform is now live, offering an open access one-stop shop for decision support in Integrated Pest Management. The Horizon 2020 project, involving a number of ENDURE partner organisations, says the platform will provide farmers, consultants and researchers with a wide range of Decision Support Systems and weather data from across Europe.
  • SmartProtect: Platform news and more!
    SmartProtect, the Horizon 2020 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) thematic network bringing together 16 partners from 12 countries, has produced its second newsletter. It brings readers up to date with the network’s key aim, which is “to stimulate knowledge flow in the regional Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKISs) across the EU and connect these on the innovative potential of advanced methodologies for IPM in vegetable production, integrating precision farming technologies and data analytics”.
  • RustWatch: Get the app and participate
    While the RustWatch project (Wheat Rust Early Warning) officially ended in October, an early warning campaign will again be carried out in 2022 and 2023 using the project’s rust survey crowdsource application.
  • ABIM: Big attendance and award winners
    This October’s Annual Biocontrol Industry Meeting (ABIM) attracted more than 1,550 visitors from 53 nations to Basel, Switzerland. The event provides the opportunity for businesses to showcase new products, to discuss market opportunities, present new research and learn about the latest regulatory situation.
  • Legume Hub: Join the community
    The Horizon 2020 Legumes Translated project has helped to ensure that the European legume development community continues to thrive with the launch of the European Legume Hub knowledge platform.
  • New hope for Flavescence dorée control
    Researchers at Agroscope in Switzerland have successfully cracked the genome of Flavescence dorée, raising hopes that new ways of controlling the serious vine disease may be possible.
  • IWMPRAISE: Final guide to trials
    With the five-year IWMPRAISE (Integrated Weed Management: PRActical Implementation and Solutions for Europe) project due to finish this autumn, the 39 partners have produced the 2022 and final edition of its guide to the project’s Experimental Trials in Europe.
  • Updates on greenhouse and indoor crops
    Researchers from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands have reported that greenhouse strawberry production is possible almost year-round with a minimal use of fossil fuels and chemical plant protection products.  
  • Resistant vine team scoops award
    A team working on resistant vines at France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) has received the Science with an Impact award at the organisation’s annual Lauriers prizes, in which winners are selected by an international jury.
  • Fungi for sustainable production
    Agroscope, ENDURE’s Swiss partner, has shared the findings of a pan-European study detailing the adverse effect plant protection products have on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), reducing their ability to supply plants with phosphorus via their roots.
  • Whiteflies acquire multiple plant genes
    Building on recent studies revealing the transfer of two plant genes to the genome of the silverleaf whitefly, French researchers have established that some 49 plant genes have been transferred to the genome of one of the world’s major pests.
  • Long-term experiments: Meeting future challenges
    The Association of Applied Biologists is organising an event focusing on long-term experiments (LTEs) from June 20 to 22, 2023. Hosted by Rothamsted Research in the UK, the three-day conference will “focus on using LTEs to meet current and future challenges in agriculture”.
  • Agrifood sector considers diversification measures
    Italian researchers from the Horizon 2020 Diverfarming project have conducted a consultation on the benefits and barriers to the adoption of multiple cropping systems and sustainable management practices identified as suitable for improving diversification in the country’s cereal crops.
  • Joint seminar for ERA-Net Cofund projects
    Projects from the SusCrop and FACCA SURPLUS ERA-Net Cofunds are holding a joint status seminar meeting early next year as part of an outreach seminar for international collaboration.
  • Be inspired: IWM in oilseed rape
    The latest inspiration sheet from IWMPRAISE, the project addressing Integrated Weed Management (IWM), details the seven trials conducted in three French regions on combined mechanical and chemical weeding in oilseed rape (OSR).
  • Events: Get organised for 2023!
    Next year’s events calendar is filling up nicely, with some conference organisers opting to hold hybrid live and virtual events to attract wider audiences. These include the Association of Applied Biologists’ event focusing on long-term experiments, which is being hosted by Rothamsted Research in the UK from June 20 to 22 2023, and the 8th edition of the Global Conference on Plant Science and Molecular Biology (GPMB 2023), which is being held in Valencia, Spain and virtually next September.
  • To find out more about ENDURE, visit: www.endure-network.eu
  • To get in touch with ENDURE, use the contact form

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‘Bug ninja’ helps growers conquer insects

UCANRWFP-UCANR-eric-middleton.jpeg

When he’s not on TV, ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Eric Middleton works in IPM for the University of California Cooperative Extension.

Saoimanu Sope | Jul 29, 2022

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Jan 18, 2023 to Jan 20, 2023

What do University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources and the sports entertainment reality television show, “American Ninja Warrior,” (ANW) have in common?

That would be Eric Middleton, also known as the “Bug Ninja” to fans of the show, which follows competitors as they try to navigate a grueling obstacle course.

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Middleton describes himself as a “full-time entomologist and part-time ninja warrior.” When he is not training for ANW, Middleton works as an integrated pest management (IPM) advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in San Diego County.

“Broadly, I like to think of IPM as increasing your knowledge and diversifying your tools so that you rely on pesticides a lot less for conventional agricultural practices,” he explained.

Middleton’s own background is anything but conventional. His popularity on the hit TV show can largely be attributed to his unique culinary tastes in insects. During season 10 of ANW, Middleton struck a deal with the show announcers, Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, claiming that if he completed the obstacle course, the pair would have to eat an insect of his choosing.

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Spoiler alert: Iseman and Gbaja-Biamila did have to eat tempura-fried tarantula and scorpion thanks to Middleton, who says that he has also tried the two delicacies.

A part of his backstory on ANW includes b-roll of Middleton prepping and eating his favorite – a tempura-fried tarantula. During his on-camera interview, he explained that insects offer nutritional value and can be a viable source of protein when countering climate change’s effect on food sources.

Inspired by mom

Studying bugs and becoming an entomologist was not a career path Middleton always had in mind. Rather, it was a realization that became more apparent the more time he spent with his mother.

“I grew up in Utah. My mom is a geologist, and I spent a lot of time with her out in the field,” he said. “She was always looking at rocks. Rocks aren’t the most interesting to me so I would find things more interesting to look at, like bugs.”

It was not until he began college that Middleton decided he would become an entomologist. “I really wanted to learn more about the natural world, and insects are a good way to do that because they’re so involved in natural processes and ecosystems,” he explained.

Middleton earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

One of Middleton’s fondest memories while attending the University of Minnesota is when he designed and taught an undergraduate course on insect warriors. Middleton wanted a course that would “engage undergrads in a way that would get them interested in entomology.”

Leveraging his stardom from ANW, Middleton based the course on how insects were used in warfare. Students who took the course were intrigued and genuinely wanted to learn why insects make such formidable warriors or athletes. 

Managing the mealybug

While working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Middleton focused on developing management options for the Lebbeck mealybug in Florida citrus.

Now that he has relocated to San Diego, Middleton expressed excitement for the diversity that comes with living in southern California, which includes working with citrus, floriculture, avocado growers, small farms, or all the above.

“What’s really interesting about working with UC ANR is the fact that you could work with almost anything you want,” he explained. “It also provides a great opportunity to do research that’s applicable and impactful to a diverse group of people.”

One of the challenges that Middleton is already mindful of is prioritizing needs. Floriculture and nurseries, for example, face many challenges. Given that they are two of the biggest industries in the area, focusing on them alone can lead to other aspects becoming more neglected.

When asked how he plans to address the challenges ahead, Middleton said that it all comes down to intentionality and, ideally, conducting research that becomes standard practice. One of Middleton’s goals is to essentially identify pest management practices that are beneficial for the environment.

“It’s broad, but I’d really like to make regenerative agriculture, ways of producing food or other commodities, more sustainable,” he said.

Momentum from ANW

Meanwhile, he continues to build momentum for his work from his participation in ANW – using the platform to challenge people’s perspectives about the natural world and applying his ninja skills to overcome obstacles that California growers face.

If you cannot find Middleton in the office or field, try tuning into the latest season of ANW. His results are still under wraps, but the nation will find out just how determined the “Bug Ninja” is soon enough.

Middleton is based out of the UCCE office in San Diego and can be reached at egmiddleton@ucanr.edu.

Source: University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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Climate change means farmers in West Africa need more ways to combat pests

by Loko Yêyinou Laura Estelle, The Conversation

worm on corn
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

The link between climate change and the spread of crop pests has been established by research and evidence.

Farmers are noticing the link themselves, alongside higher temperatures and greater variability in rainfall. All these changes are having an impact on harvests across Africa.

Changing conditions sometimes allow insects and diseases to spread and thrive in new places. The threat is greatest when there are no natural predators to keep pests in check, and when human control strategies are limited to the use of unsuitable synthetic insecticides.

Invasive pests can take hold in a new environment and cause very costly damage before national authorities and researchers are able to devise and fund ways to protect crops, harvests and livelihoods.

Early research into biological control methods (use of other organisms to control pests) shows promise for safeguarding harvests and food security. Rapid climate change, however, means researchers are racing against time to develop the full range of tools needed for a growing threat.

The most notable of recent invasive pests to arrive in Africa was the fall armyworm, which spread to the continent from the Americas in 2016.

Since then, 78 countries have reported the caterpillar, which attacks a range of crops including staples like maize and has caused an estimated US$9.4 billion in losses a year.

African farmers are still struggling to contain the larger grain borer, or Prostephanus truncatus Horn, which reached the continent in the 1970s. It can destroy up to 40% of stored maize in just four months. In Benin, it is a particular threat to cassava chips, and can cause losses of up to 50% in three months.

It’s expected that the larger grain borer will continue to spread as climatic conditions become more favorable. African countries urgently need more support and research into different control strategies, including the use of natural enemies, varietal resistance and biopesticides.

My research work is at the interface between plants, insects and genetics. It’s intended to contribute to more productive agriculture that respects the environment and human health by controlling insect pests with innovative biological methods.

For example, we have demonstrated that a species of insect called Alloeocranum biannulipes Montr. and Sign. eats some crop pests. Certain kinds of fungi (Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana), too, can kill these pests. They are potential biological control agents of the larger grain borer and other pests.

Improved pest control is especially important for women farmers, who make up a significant share of the agricultural workforce.

In Benin, for example, around 70% of production is carried out by women, yet high rates of illiteracy mean many are unable to read the labels of synthetic pesticides.

This can result in misuse or overuse of chemical crop protection products, which poses a risk to the health of the farmers applying the product and a risk of environmental pollution.

Moreover, the unsuitable and intensive use of synthetic insecticides could lead to the development of insecticide resistance and a proliferation of resistant insects.

Biological alternatives to the rescue

Various studies have shown that the use of the following biological alternatives would not only benefit food security but would also help farmers who have limited formal education:

  1. Natural predators like other insects can be effective in controlling pests. For example I found that the predator Alloeocranum biannulipes Montr. and Sign. is an effective biological control agent against a beetle called Dinoderus porcellus Lesne in stored yam chips and the larger grain borer in stored cassava chips. Under farm storage conditions, the release of this predator in infested yam chips significantly reduced the numbers of pests and the weight loss. In Benin, yams are a staple food and important cash crop. The tubers are dried into chips to prevent them from rotting.
  2. Strains of fungi such as Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana also showed their effectiveness as biological control agents against some pests. For example, isolate Bb115 of B. bassiana significantly reduced D. porcellus populations and weight loss of yam chips. The fungus also had an effect on the survival of an insect species, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), known as the cotton bollworm. It did this by invading the tissues of crop plants that the insect larva eats. The larvae then ate less of those plants.
  3. The use of botanical extracts and powdered plant parts is another biological alternative to the use of harmful synthetic pesticides. For example, I found that botanical extracts of plants grown in Benin, Bridelia ferruginea, Blighia sapida and Khaya senegalensis, have insecticidal, repellent and antifeedant activities against D. porcellus and can also be used in powder form to protect yam chips.
  4. My research also found that essential oils of certain leaves can be used as a natural way to stop D. porcellus feeding on yam chips.
  5. I’ve done research on varietal (genetic) resistance too and found five varieties of yam (Gaboubaba, Boniwouré, Alahina, Yakanougo and Wonmangou) were resistant to the D. porcellus beetle.

Next generation tools

To develop efficient integrated pest management strategies, researchers need support and funding. They need to test these potential biocontrol methods and their combinations with other eco-friendly methods in farm conditions.

Investing in further research would help to bolster the African Union’s 2021–2030 Strategy for Managing Invasive Species, and protect farmers, countries and economies from more devastating losses as climate change brings new threats.

Initiatives like the One Planet Fellowship, coordinated by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, have helped further the research and leadership of early-career scientists in this area, where climate and gender overlap.

But much more is needed to unlock the full expertise of women and men across the continent to equip farmers with next generation tools for next generation threats.

Provided by The Conversation 

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

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Combatting soil-borne pathogens and nematodes vital for food security

   Delhi Bureau  0 Comments CIMMYT  9 min read

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08 November 2022, Mexico: The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) coordinated the VIII International Cereal Nematode Symposium between September 26-29, in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies and Bolu Abant Izzet Baysal University.

As many as 828 million people struggle with hunger due to food shortages worldwide, while 345 million are facing acute food insecurity – a crisis underpinning discussions at this symposium in Turkey focused on controlling nematodes and soil-borne pathogens causing reduced wheat yields in semi-arid regions.

A major staple, healthy wheat crops are vital for food security because the grain provides about a fifth of calories and proteins in the human diet worldwide.

Seeking resources to feed a rapidly increasing world population is a key part of tackling global hunger, said Mustafa Alisarli, the rector of Turkey’s Bolu Abant Izzet Baysal University in his address to the 150 delegates attending the VIII International Cereal Nematode Symposium in the country’s province of Bolu.

Suat Kaymak, Head of the Plant Protection Department, on behalf of the director general of the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (GDAR), delivered an opening speech, emphasizing the urgent need to support the CIMMYT Soil-borne Pathogens (SBP) research. He stated that the SBP plays a crucial role in reducing the negative impact of nematodes and pathogens on wheat yield and ultimately improves food security. Therefore, the GDAR is supporting the SBP program by building a central soil-borne pathogens headquarters and a genebank in Ankara.

Discussions during the five-day conference were focused on strategies to improve resilience to the Cereal Cyst Nematodes (Heterodera spp.) and Root Lesion Nematodes (Pratylenchus spp.), which cause root-health degradation, and reduce moisture uptake needed for proper development of wheat.

Richard Smiley, a professor emeritus at Oregon State University, summarized his research on nematode diseases. He has studied nematodes and pathogenic fungi that invade wheat and barley roots in the Pacific Northwest of the United States for 40 years. “The grain yield gap – actual versus potential yield – in semiarid rainfed agriculture cannot be significantly reduced until water and nutrient uptake constraints caused by nematodes and Fusarium crown rot are overcome,” he said.

Experts also assessed patterns of global distribution, exchanging ideas on ways to boost international collaboration on research to curtail economic losses related to nematode and pathogen infestations.

A special session on soil-borne plant pathogenic fungi drew attention to the broad spectrum of diseases causing root rot, stem rot, crown rot and vascular wilts of wheat.

Soil-borne fungal and nematode parasites co-exist in the same ecological niche in cereal-crop field ecosystems, simultaneously attacking root systems and plant crowns thereby reducing the uptake of nutrients, especially under conditions of soil moisture stress.

Limited genetic and chemical control options exist to curtail the damage and spread of these soil-borne problems which is a challenge exacerbated by both synergistic and antagonistic interactions between nematodes and fungi.

Nematodes, by direct alteration of plant cells and consequent biochemical changes, can predispose wheat to invasion by soil borne pathogens. Some root rotting fungi can increase damage due to nematode parasites.

Integrated managementFor a holistic approach to addressing the challenge, the entire biotic community in the soil must be considered, said Hans Braun, former director of the Global Wheat Program at CIMMYT.

Braun presented efficient cereal breeding as a method for better soil-borne pathogen management. His insights highlighted the complexity of root-health problems across the region, throughout Central Asia, West Asia and North Africa (CWANA).

Richard A. Sikora, Professor emeritus and former Chairman of the Institute of Plant Protection at the University of Bonn, stated that the broad spectrum of nematode and pathogen species causing root-health problems in CWANA requires site-specific approaches for effective crop health management. Sikora added that no single technology will solve the complex root-health problems affecting wheat in the semi-arid regions. To solve all nematode and pathogen problems, all components of integrated management will be needed to improve wheat yields in the climate stressed semi-arid regions of CWANA.

Building on this theme, Timothy Paulitz, research plant pathologist at the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), presented on the relationship between soil biodiversity and wheat health and attempts to identify the bacterial and fungal drivers of wheat yield loss. Paulitz, who has researched soil-borne pathogens of wheat for more than 20 years stated that, “We need to understand how the complex soil biotic ecosystem impacts pathogens, nutrient uptake and efficiency and tolerance to abiotic stresses.”

Julie Nicol, former soil-borne pathologist at CIMMYT, who now coordinates the Germplasm Exchange (CAIGE) project between CIMMYT and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) at the University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute, pointed out the power of collaboration and interdisciplinary expertise in both breeding and plant pathology. The CAIGE project clearly demonstrates how valuable sources of multiple soil-borne pathogen resistance in high-yielding adapted wheat backgrounds have been identified by the CIMMYT Turkey program, she said. Validated by Australian pathologists, related information is stored in a database and is available for use by Australian and international breeding communities.

Economic losses

Root-rotting fungi and cereal nematodes are particularly problematic in rainfed systems where post-anthesis drought stress is common. Other disruptive diseases in the same family include dryland crown and the foot rot complex, which are caused mainly by the pathogens Fusarium culmorum and F. pseudograminearum.

The root lesion nematode Pratylenchus thornei can cause yield losses in wheat from 38 to 85 percent in Australia and from 12 to 37 percent in Mexico. In southern Australia, grain losses caused by Pratylenchus neglectus ranged from 16 to 23 percent and from 56 to 74 percent in some areas.

The cereal cyst nematodes (Heterodera spp.) with serious economic consequences for wheat include Heterodera avenae, H. filipjevi and H. latipons. Yield losses due to H. avenae range from 15 to 20 percent in Pakistan, 40 to 92 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 23 to 50 percent in Australia.

In Turkey, Heterodera filipjevi has caused up to 50 percent crop losses in the Central Anatolia Plateau and Heterodera avenae has caused up to 24 percent crop losses in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The genus Fusarium which includes more than a hundred species, is a globally recognized plant pathogenic fungal complex that causes significant damage to wheat on a global scale.

In wheat, Fusarium spp. cause crown-, foot-, and root- rot as well as head blight. Yield losses from Fusarium crown-rot have been as high as 35 percent in the Pacific Northwest of America and 25 to 58 percent in Australia, adding up losses annually of $13 million and $400 million respectively, due to reduced grain yield and quality. The true extent of damage in CWANA needs to be determined.

Abdelfattah Dababat, CIMMYT’s Turkey representative and leader of the soil-borne pathogens research team said, “There are examples internationally, where plant pathologists, plant breeders and agronomists have worked collaboratively and successfully developed control strategies to limit the impact of soil borne pathogens on wheat.” He mentioned the example of the development and widespread deployment of cereal cyst nematode resistant cereals in Australia that has led to innovative approaches and long-term control of this devastating pathogen.

Dababat, who coordinated the symposium for CIMMYT, explained that, “Through this symposium, scientists had the opportunity to present their research results and to develop collaborations to facilitate the development of on-farm strategies for control of these intractable soil borne pathogens in their countries.”

Paulitz stated further that soil-borne diseases have world-wide impacts even in higher input wheat systems of the United States. “The germplasm provided by CIMMYT and other international collaborators is critical for breeding programs in the Pacific Northwest, as these diseases cannot be managed by chemical or cultural techniques,” he added.

Road ahead

Delegates gained a greater understanding of the scale of distribution of cereal cyst nematodes and soil borne pathogens in wheat production systems throughout West Asia, North Africa, parts of Central Asia, Northern India, and China.

After more than 20 years of study, researchers have recognized the benefits of planting wheat varieties that are more resistant. This means placing major emphasis on host resistance through validation and integration of resistant sources using traditional and molecular methods by incorporating them into wheat germplasm for global wheat production systems, particularly those dependent on rainfed or supplementary irrigation systems.

Sikora stated that more has to be done to improve Integrated Pest Management (IPM), taking into consideration all tools wherever resistant is not available. Crop rotations for example have shown some promise in helping to mitigate the spread and impact of these diseases.

“In order to develop new disease-resistant products featuring resilience to changing environmental stress factors and higher nutritional values, modern biotechnology interventions have also been explored,” Alisarli said.

Brigitte Slaats and Matthias Gaberthueel, who represent Swiss agrichemicals and seeds group Syngenta, introduced TYMIRIUM® technology, a new solution for nematode and crown rot management in cereals. “Syngenta is committed to developing novel seed-applied solutions to effectively control early soil borne diseases and pests,” Slaats said.

It was widely recognized at the event that providing training for scientists from the Global North and South is critical. Turkey, Austria, China, Morocco, and India have all hosted workshops, which were effective in identifying the global status of the problem of cereal nematodes and forming networks and partnerships to continue working on these challenges.

Also Read: Agriculture and the agricultural economy is the strength of India: Union Agriculture Minister

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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Insect Pest Management

Insect Pest Management

Insect pests are a major concern in fields and warehouses. It is estimated that about 35% of crops all over the world are destroyed by them

Post by DR. ARSHED IQBAL DAR on Friday, November 11, 2022

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In the prehistoric period, the cave man used the smoke of certain plant leaves as protective methods against mosquito bites. When it was discovered that only certain species of Anopheline and Culicine mosquitoes transmit malaria and filariasis and that they are ecologically dependent on specific conditions which are required for their perpetuation and survival, a planned anti-vector disease with control method would be required. However, long before the development of organic insecticides, natural substances derived from plants, the ‘first generation insecticides’ like pyrethrum, retenome and so on were successfully employed in insect control.

But, as a result of the introduction of new insecticides and other causes, the use of pyrethrum, retenome and other natural products was reduced and the discovery of synthetic second generation insecticides- DDT, HCH, Malathion and so on was an outstanding advancement towards the control of mosquitoes and other vector borne diseases in a more effective and economical manner in rural and other areas. But, synthetic organic insecticides although highly efficacious against target species of insects can be detrimental to a variety of animal life including man. In addition to its adverse environmental effects from conventional insecticides, most of the major mosquito vectors and pests have become physiologically resistant to many of these compounds on prolonged application.

Insect pests are a major concern in fields and warehouses. It is estimated that about 35% of crops all over the world are destroyed by them. They cause severe damage to stored grains and processed products by reducing their quantity and nutritional quality making them unfit for human consumption and agricultural purposes. Estimated loss of the world’s supply of stored grains from insect damage ranges from 5-10% of world production. The tropical countries alone suffer a loss of 20% due to unfavourable climatic and storage conditions. It is estimated that every year at least 500 million people in the world suffer from one or the other tropical disease that include malaria, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, dengue, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis of late chikungunya, a serious mosquito borne epidemic has gained momentum in India. These diseases not only cause high levels of morbidity & mortality, but also inflict great economic loss and social disruption on developing countries such as India and China. India alone contributes around 40% of global filariasis burden & the estimated annual economic loss is about 720 crore.

Due to great economic losses caused by stored grain pests, control of infestation in warehouses, factories, ships and mills is of main interest to food manufacturers and distributors. Around the world, residual chemical insecticides are mainly the method of choice for the control of stored grain insects. But, extensive use has made the strains resistant to many of them. In addition they result in environmental contamination and health problems. In overcoming these problems, biopesticides have gained immense importance in recent grain protection technology because of their medicinal, anti-fungal, antibacterial and insecticidal properties. Humans have used plant parts, products and metabolites in pest control since early historic times. Plants are the chemical factories of nature, producing many chemical, some of which have medicinal and pesticidal properties. By using plant parts in early historic times, man has been able to control certain pests with these remedies quite successfully.

Mosquito control is a difficult task due to a variety of factors including the development of insecticides resistant in target population, the high cost of new insecticides and concern over environmental pollution. While it is likely that chemical insecticides will continue to be required for mosquito control, an increased emphasis is being placed all over the world on the development of suitable alternatives to control vector borne diseases. Secondary metabolites are diverse natural products synthesized by the plants for their defence. Several mosquito species belonging to genera Anopheles, Culex and Aedes are vectors for the pathogens of various diseases like malaria, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis (JE), dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever. Thus, one of the approaches for control of these mosquito borne diseases is the interruption of diseases transmission by killing or preventing mosquitoes to bite human beings.

Herbal products with proven potential as insecticide or repellent can play an important role in the interruption of transmission of mosquito-borne diseases at the larvicidal individual as well as at the community level. Some herbal products such as nicotine tabacum, anabasine & lupinine, the alkaloids extracted from Russian weed Anabasis aphylla, rotenone from Derris eliptica and pyrethrums from Chrysanthemum cinererifolium flowers have been used as natural insecticides even before the discovery, development and use of synthetic organic chemicals with persistent residual action not only overshadowed the use of herbal products against mosquitoes but also become the major weapon for mosquito control. This has necessitated the search for development of environmentally safe, biodegradable, low cost, indigenous method for vector control, which can be used with minimum care by individual and communities in specific situations.

An extensive review of phytochemical from plants has been published against mosquitoes. Members of the plant families- Asteraceae, Cladophoraceae, Miliaceae, Oocytaceae and Rutaceae possess various types of activity against many species of mosquitoes. Some important phytochemical  products such as pyrethrum, clerris, quassia, nicotine, hellebore, anabasine, azadirachtin d-limonene, camphor and terpenes have been used as insecticides. These are major groups of insecticides of plant origin that were used in developed countries before the advent of synthetic organic insecticides.

In spite of the wide spread recognition that many plants possess insecticidal properties only a handful of pest control products directly obtained from plants are in use because of number of reasons. Botanical used insecticides presently constitute 1% of the world insecticidal market. With the view to discourage further aggravation of environmental pollution through the use of synthetic insecticides, it is imperative to explore the abundant natural plant resources and replace the intrinsically hazardous chemicals through natural plant products. Since the higher plants to be used as the agents for controlling insect pests and vectors for disease are associated largely with their innate quality of being systematic and relatively easily biodecomposable, hence their judicious exploitation, planned cultivation and appropriate preservation to use at the time of need should be the frontier area of research.

(Author is an Assistant Professor of Zoology, Department of Higher Education Jammu and Kashmir) 

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Otto: the IPM scouting and yield forecasting greenhouse robot

The Biobest, ecoation and Bogaerts partnership has resulted in the an autonomous IPM scouting and Yield Forecasting robot for greenhouses. The Belgian-Canadian claims it’s world’s first autonomous IPM scouting and Yield Forecasting robot. 

The autonomous robot, OTTO, is equipped with ecoation’s 360 “Virtual Walk” camera, a Universal Model for object detection, 3D climate and light measurement per sqm and a patented multi-modal “Plant Health Sensor” that can flag various crop health issues at early stages and inform growers for further investigation. The robot can navigate the greenhouse autonomously and it can work during the day and night.


ecoation

OTTO is a member of a suite of offerings that provides autonomous “Find & Fix” solutions for greenhouses. Bogaerts has already introduced UVc robots for disease control. The partnership will soon bring a spot-treatment sprayer solution and biological dispersal robots (T-Bot) that work seamlessly with the collaborative technology ecosystem. This ecosystem includes mobile platforms, trap scanning technology, IPM and Yield forecasting solutions, greenhouse drones, and robots for other labour-intensive tasks such as harvesting and deleafing. The ecosystem is designed in such a way that growers can easily migrate all of the existing historical data that they collected manually or through other platforms to the new ecosystem without missing valuable insights and have control over all of the greenhouse AI and robotics solutions in one place.


ecoation

“Our core philosophy is to provide the best solution that addresses the needs of the industry. Quality and customer support are in our DNA and when that is mixed with innovation and forward-looking design and development, it results in a platform that can become a staple in the industry,’ says Dr. Saber Miresmailli, Founder and CEO of ecoation. “To be able to offer the best solution, one needs to work with the best providers. Therefore, we chose Bogaerts and Biobest as our partners. We aspire to provide the highest level of quality and service.” He continued.

“With ecoation, we have reached an important milestone. Now we have a clear and digital overview of the plant health in the greenhouse.” Says Joris Bogaert, CEO of Bogaerts Greenhouse Logistics. “Bogaerts has been eagerly awaiting to interface this information with the Qii-Jet TA spray machines, allowing us to spray just the spot of the greenhouse with the right pesticide. This will save time, reduce labour costs and save on pesticides, helping to make the world more green. We are eager to install the first application in practice.”

For more information:
Ecoation
www.ecoation.com
info@ecoation.com        

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Board Game Teaches the Challenges, Uncertainty of IPM

ENTOMOLOGY TODAY  LEAVE A COMMENT

A group of entomologists developed the board game Pest Quest (electronic version shown here) to bring to life the complex agricultural scenarios and decision-making inherent in integrated pest management. Learn how the game was developed and try it yourself through a new article published in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management. (Image by Max Helmberger, Ph.D.)

By Max Helmberger, Ph.D., and Tim Lampasona, Ph.D.

Tim Lampasona, Ph.D.

Max Helmberger, Ph.D.

All it takes is one look at Facebook to see agriculture has a misinformation problem. Claims run rampant that genetically modified organisms cause cancer or that farmers gleefully poison their crops with pesticides; yet, with people in industrialized economies increasingly disconnected from their food and those who grow it, this shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, we, along with Max Helmberger’s doctoral advisor at the time Matt Grieshop, Ph.D., began design work on Pest Quest, a co-operative board game about bringing peace and profit to a pest-plagued farm. Our two goals for the game were to teach some aspects of integrated pest management (IPM) in undergraduate classroom settings and to provide laypeople who play the game a basic understanding of how insect pest management decisions in agriculture are made and an appreciation for the often-harsh economic realities of modern agriculture. We share the game and our suggestions for its use in educational settings in an article published in September in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management. (To try Pest Quest yourself, see the online version or a print-and-play edition.)

Pest Quest uses a semi-random assortment of face-down “field cards” to represent a field of crops, with a variable cultivar that players can choose. These cards are hidden to players and may contain natural enemies, pollinators, or pest infestations of varying severity. Players have a limited ability to “scout the field” and reveal these hidden cards, and then they must make critical management decisions based on the limited information. There is always a risk of under spraying a highly infested row or accidentally damaging populations of beneficial species! Because of these risks, players are incentivized to smartly allocate their insecticides, neither drenching the field in poison nor leaving it to the proverbial wolves. The result? Players (hopefully) gain a first-hand understanding of the IPM concept known as the economic threshold—i.e., the level of pest density or damage that equals or exceeds the cost of management.

A group of entomologists developed the board game Pest Quest (tabletop version shown here) to bring to life the complex agricultural scenarios and decision-making inherent in integrated pest management. Learn how the game was developed and try it yourself through a new article published in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management. (Photo by Max Helmberger, Ph.D.)

Original designs for the game were mechanically intense, requiring a lot of math for players to determine the extent of pest damage across their field. These were refined into a more elegant and user-friendly game experience through repeated prototyping and playtesting with a diverse audience of game designers, casual gamers, researchers, and students. The resulting product is accessible to people with varying degrees of game experience, as well as complete novices to the worlds of IPM and entomology. That said, the game can still be challenging, with plans that seem optimal based on players’ available information blowing up in their faces as a pesticide application fails or undetected pests wreak havoc. Even we, the game’s creators, don’t always turn a profit when we play, so in this way the game simulates agriculture’s inherent difficulty and uncertainty.

In fall 2021, we brought the game into a non-majors entomology course taught by Amanda Lorenz, Ph.D., at Michigan State University, aiming to evaluate its effects on student understanding of IPM via pre-assessment surveys before they played the game and post-assessment surveys afterward. Though this instrument did not detect significant improvements in student learning above the course as a whole, in our JIPM article we offer insights and suggestions for more effective implementation in future courses.

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Pest Quest: A Game of Strategy, Uncertainty, and Sticky Traps 

Journal of Integrated Pest Management

Max Helmberger, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the Biology Department at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. Email: maxwell.helmberger@gmail.comTim Lampasona, Ph.D., is an entomologist and professor of biology at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Email: tlampasona@vassar.edu.

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A group of entomologists developed the board game Pest Quest (electronic version shown here) to bring to life the complex agricultural scenarios and decision-making inherent in integrated pest management. Learn how the game was developed and try it yourself through a new article published in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management. (Image by Max Helmberger, Ph.D.)

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A new study showed that by following action thresholds to determine when to apply insecticides to control onion thrips, farmers made 2.3 fewer applications per season while maintaining yields and bulb size.

NY onion growers can keep yields while cutting chemical use

By Sarah Thompson  Cornell Agritech

August 1, 2022FacebookTwitterEmailShare

A surprise finding from new research on controlling pests and disease in New York commercial onion fields will enable the state’s producers to cut their use of synthetic chemicals without sacrificing yield.

The study, conducted by scientists at Cornell AgriTech and recently published in the journal Agronomy on May 28, showed that by following action thresholds to determine when to apply insecticides to control onion thrips – a major annual pest – farmers made 2.3 fewer applications per season while maintaining yields and bulb size. Action threshold is the density of the pest in a crop that requires a control measure to prevent the population from increasing to a level that will cause economic loss.

The results of more than three years of field trials also showed that farmers could use 50 to 100% less fertilizer without reducing yields.

“Plots with no fertilizer had no difference [compared to plots with full and half amounts],” said Max Torrey ’13, whose 12th generation family farm in Elba, New York was a trial site for the study. “People were skeptical, but this evidence gives us a lot more confidence in what we need to use.”

Growing onions in the western New York climate requires intensive cultivation and heavy reliance on synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. It’s also done exclusively on muck soils – the dark, fertile footprints of drained swamps. New York farmers grow nearly all 7,000 acres of the state’s dry bulb onions on the muck.

Onions, an important staple in most kitchens, are the fourth most-consumed fresh vegetable in the U.S., behind potatoes, tomatoes and sweet corn. New York growers have an added advantage with this high value crop due to their close proximity to large markets along the Eastern seaboard. But the market varies widely year to year depending on conditions in other growing regions and demand. Diseases and pests, especially the onion thrips, also eat into New York growers’ profits.

The onion thrips—tiny, winged insects that feed on onion plants – have been on Brian Nault’s radar for years. Nault, the study’s senior author and professor of entomology at Cornell AgriTech, said farmers used to rely on cost-effective weekly insecticide spray programs to control thrips. Then, in the late 1990s, thrips began rapidly developing insecticide resistance, because five to eight generations can be produced per year. Thrips also transmit a virus that can kill onion plants and spread bacteria leading to bulb rot.

To help preserve the effectiveness of remaining insecticides, Nault has been fine-tuning action thresholds so New York onion growers can remain profitable while spraying only when pest populations require it.

“The No. 1 reason farmers give for using action thresholds is mitigating the development of insecticide resistance,” Nault says. “The next new, good chemical tool may not come until 2025. They can’t afford to lose this one.”

In his new study, Nault and postdoctoral researcher Karly Regan aimed to further hone their integrated pest management strategy for onion thrips. They knew growers who continued using weekly spray programs instead of action thresholds were taking a significant risk by increasing the likelihood of resistance developing. But Nault also found studies that showed reducing fertilizer amounts could potentially reduce pests in certain crops. He added the factor in test trials.

Nault and his grower partners were amazed to find that the amount of fertilizer applied to an onion at planting had no impact on thrips population levels, bulb rot, or on onion bulb size and yield.

“We didn’t expect this, but it has an even bigger potential impact,” Nault said. “Reducing fertilizer use in commercial farming is beneficial to the environment for so many reasons, especially water and soil health.”

If all New York onion growers used action thresholds, Nault says they’d see a cumulative annual savings of $420,000 in pesticide costs. Already, he’s seen many growers reduce their fertilizer use this year by between 25 and 50% – a major change from applying a blanket amount to every field. Scouting for thrips and soil sampling each year are a little more work, but Torrey says he anticipates saving at least $100 per acre in chemical costs on his 2,200 acres of onions, in addition to the ecological rewards.

“The muck is our livelihood and our future,” Torrey said. “We must take care of it. Now we finally have a proven way to reduce costs and make New York onion growers even more competitive and sustainable.”

This research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Specialty Crop Research Initiative.

Sarah Thompson is a writer for Cornell Agritech.

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How Biocontrols Offer Growers a New Approach to Integrated Pest Management

Carol MillerBy Carol Miller|July 15, 2022

  • Not long ago, the agriculture industry approached biologicals much like they did conventional controls. “A lot of the objectives in the early days of the biological industry was to look at one single component and see how it affected the yield output of a crop,” says Shannon Pike, Business Development Manager at Agrauxine by Lesaffre.

Now the industry understands many factors — some still unknown — work together to protect crops.

“We’re dealing with nature, and nature is very sensitive,” Pike says. “The things that are not seen by us are very, very recognizable to the small elements in nature. Diversity is really the key. Diversity in the soil and the diversity of microorganisms that live on and within the plant is most important.”

To Pike, the best pest control program is holistic.

“Biocontrol products in general will aid the plant’s ability to ward off pests. [Control] products that are also designed for the soil and improving the soil diversity increases the ability of the plant to draw from the soil to help itself. A healthy plant is able to redirect insects and pathogens easily,” Pike says.

Biological products can be incorporated into every stage of production, he says.

“There’s something that can be imported into a protocol for a crop, from prior to seeding all the way to up to harvest time and even afterwards,” Pike says.

For more of this discussion, continue reading the entire article featured as part of our special Global Insight Series report on Biological Crop Protection.

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Carol Miller is the editor of American Vegetable Grower, a Meister Media Worldwide publication. See all author stories here.

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Avatar for Lee Roberts Lee Roberts

 says:

July 16, 2022 at 7:36 pm

Roll back fertilizer prices to 1984 with “SNX30 fertilizer supplement”. Listen to what 3 agronomists, a past Board Member of the New York Farm Viability Institute (and farmer), a Georgia Corn Commission Board Member (and farmer), top NCGA corn yield winners, soil structure and nutrient manager and other farmers say about the unmatched benefits of the “SNX30 fertilizer supplement”. If you can’t believe them, who can you believe? As one farmer said – It almost feels like cheating.

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