2005 Annual Report
The research project has five multidisciplinary objectives:.
The research program falls under National Program 304 (30%), Crop Protection and Quarantine and NP 305 (70%), Crop Production, and addresses goals 1 and 3 of the National Program Action Plan. Specifically these are:
GOAL 1 - Enhance economic opportunities for agricultural producers.
Objective 1.1 - Provide the Science-Based Knowledge and Technologies to Generate New or Improved High Quality, Value-Added Products and Processes to Expand Domestic and Foreign Markets for Agricultural Commodities; 1.1.2: Provide higher quality, healthy foods that satisfy consumer needs in the United States and abroad.
Objective 1.2 - Contribute to the Efficiency of Agricultural Production Systems; 1.2.5: Provide producers with scientific information and technology that increase production efficiency, safeguard the environment, and reduce production risks and product losses; 1.2.6: Improve the understanding of the biological mechanisms that influence plant growth, product quality, and marketability to enhance the competitive advantage of agricultural commodities.
GOAL 3 - Enhance protection and safety of the Nation's agriculture and food supply.
Objective 3.2 - Develop and Deliver Science-Based Information and Technologies to Reduce the Number and Severity of Agricultural Pest, Insect, Weed, and Disease Outbreaks; 3.2.5: Provide fundamental and applied scientific information and technology to protect agriculturally important plants from pests and diseases. This research should result in new methodologies that will reduce chemical and mineral release from agricultural activities, the environmental impact of tree fruit production and pesticide residues on food products, while providing improved fruit quality for the consumer and sustainable tools for growers. The results will provide new knowledge, methods and economic information for crop production in traditional, small farm, and organic farming systems allowing for a more sustainable U.S. agriculture. Alternative insect control products have been developed, such as the particle film, Surround, and sugar esters. New methods of orchard management enhance biological control of orchard pests, improve fruit quality and yield, reduce weed competition, and reduce the amount of pesticides and fertilizers applied in the orchard system. The incorporation of plant bioregulators into orchard systems reduces excess vegetative growth and habitat for insect pests while increasing spray efficiency and so reduces the amount of pesticides needed to control a pest.
2005. Develop data set for Carbon partitioning model.
2006. Establish plantings to evaluate growth and carbon partitioning in various planting systems.
2007. Establish seasonal patterns in plant hormones and carbon partitioning.
2008. Develop recommendations for more efficient orchard systems.
Sub-objective 2 - Minimize arthropod stress to enhance productivity and fruit quality.
2005. Establish ability of natural enemies to control and develop novel lures and trap designs for orchard pests.
2006. Evaluate trap designs and lures in experimental orchards.
2007. Establish movement patterns of natural enemies and evaluate traps and lures in commercial orchards.
2008. Develop an orchard plan based on biological control and behaviorally based tools.
Sub-objective 3 - Mitigate nutrient, water and pest damage on fruit quality with new subsurface irrigation and fertigation technology in conjunction with novel weed control and orchard floor management systems.
2005. Establish plantings to evaluate new apple production systems.
2006. Incorporate new orchard floor management techniques into production systems trial.
2007. Evaluate compost utility in production systems
2008. Demonstrate improved fruit quality from production research.
Sub-objective 4 - Develop automation systems for production and post harvest practices of deciduous tree fruits to improve fruit quality, labor productivity, and reduce costs. 2006. Explore sensors and techniques for fruit identification, location, maturity, and quality. 2007. Computer Vision: Refine the computer vision system efficiency and reliability. Fruit Maturity Sensor: Assess the reliability of the nondestructive sensor to predict apple fruit maturity. 2008. Computer Vision: Transfer Technology. Fruit Maturity Sensor: Transfer Technology.
Dogwood borer (DWB) has become a serious wood-boring pest of commercial apple production, leading to a general decline in health of infested trees and premature tree death but there are no reliable alternatives to replace trunk-drench applications of the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos to control this pest. The female sex pheromone of DWB was identified, as well as an inhibitory compound that significantly reduces the response of male DWB to the female sex pheromone, thus opening the door for alternative control strategies such as mating disruption. The inhibitory compound was dispersed in apple orchards to determine if we could disrupt mate-finding using this inhibitor rather than using traditional mating disruption technology. We successfully disrupted mate-finding by male DWB using the inhibitor. This is the first time in commercial agriculture that an inhibitory compound rather than a sex pheromone shows significant promise for use as a control strategy.
Performance of novel peach tree growth habits. Increasing yield and quality of deciduous fruit crops results in greater market value. We confirmed the superior yielding capacity associated with the upright peach tree growth habit planted in high density systems compared to traditional low-density peach plantings and upright trees continued to produce larger sized fruit than pillar or standard growth habit trees, confirming earlier findings. These results will result in new peach production systems that will increase yield and peach quality.
Pest susceptibility of new apple cultivars. New apple cultivars require specific pest management strategies to minimize pesticide use. A four year study to examine the insect susceptibility of newer apple cultivars in the NE-183 regional project demonstrated significant differences among cultivars for both foliage and fruit feeding pests in which: 'Cameo' ranked highest for pest susceptibility when foliage and fruit pest ratings were combined; 'Honeycrisp' had a high level of susceptibility to Japanese beetle, plum curculio, and apple maggot, three very important pests in the mid-Atlantic region; and 'GoldRush', a scab resistant cultivar ranked among the least susceptible to foliage pests. In addition, we demonstrated a positive and significant correlation between day of harvest and percent fruit injury from codling moth/oriental fruit moth and tufted apple bud moth/redbanded leafroller, with later maturing cultivars experiencing higher injury levels. This knowledge will result in cultivar specific pest management that will increase pesticide usage efficiency.
Apple trees with diverse canopies respond differently to size-controlling rootstocks. There is minimal understanding of how rootstocks reduce tree size and increase yield per tree. Yield, crown dimensions, and monthly growth and development of current-year shoots were measured in apple trees with architecturally-distinct scion characteristics (upright and spreading growth forms) that were grafted on different size-controlling rootstock. We found a large number of interactions between scion with different growth habits and different size-controlling rootstocks indicating that rootstocks may differentially regulate components of apple tree growth and architecture. The information will increase our understanding of mechanisms that control fruit tree growth.
Documentation of differences in stink bug preferences for apple cultivars. Stink bug damage is an increasing problem in the mid-Atlantic region and poses a significant economic cost to apple production. We documented consistent differences in stink bug preferences for apple cultivars from thirty-one apple cultivars evaluated in collaboration Keith Yoder, Virginia Tech, Winchester over two years and in two locations. These results provide growers with a non-chemical alternative for controlling stink bug damage to apple fruit through cultivar selection.
Discovered a decrease in biological control in the presence of external nectar source. Biological control of tree fruit pests is a sustainable pest control strategy. We discovered a decrease in biological control in the presence of external nectar source. These results indicate the possibility that providing alternative food sources for natural enemies may not increase biological control as has been expected. This research was done under an award from USDA, CSREES, NRI as part of project #1931-21220-015-03R. This accomplishment addresses the use of flowers and extrafloral nectaries in crop systems in an attempt to increase naturally occurring biological control and the results are a reminder to other researchers that experiments need to be conducted to verify the assumptions regarding alternate food sources and biological control rates.
Water use efficiency (WUE) in peach can be increased genetically and culturally. Increasing water use efficiency and light utilization are key components of a sustainable tree fruit production system. We found that the interception of light was a key determinant of WUE in standard and narrow leaf peach genotypes. Internal shading of the tree by excessive leaf area reduced daily WUE measured in gas exchange studies. Genetic differences in peach growth types can be selected for factors increasing WUE as well as increased productivity. Future work in peach breeding to improve WUE and productivity must take into consideration light interception, productivity, and WUE in an integrated manner to make real progress in the efficient use of water and light in the orchard environment.
Apple quality is inconsistently improved with a reflective particle film. Increasing apple size and color are key components of improved fruit quality. Experiments were performed over three years to examine the effect that a reflective particle film (PF) treatment had on fruit quality of several apple (Malus x domestica) cultivars in WA and WV. 'Empire' consistently had improved red color with season-long applications of PF materials. 'Gala', 'Fuji', and 'Cameo' inconsistently had greater fruit weight and red color with PF application but PF never reduced the surface red color in apples. Cultivar responses to PF applications were variable due to location and yearly environmental characteristics indicating that while particle film technology has value for insect control and reducing sunburn, it has limited value to enhance fruit color due to the inconsistent response.
1931-21000-015-03R: This report serves to document research conducted under a reimbursable cooperative agreement between ARS and NRI. In a 4-hour cage study the presence of peach extrafloral nectaries decreased the number of aphids eaten by lady beetles; the presence of buckwheat flowers had no effect on number of aphids eaten. These results indicate the possibility that providing alternative food sources for natural enemies may not increase biological control as has been expected. This research was done in cooperation with Shepherd University. This accomplishment addresses the use of flowers and extrafloral nectaries in crop systems in an attempt to increase naturally occurring biological control and the results are a reminder to other researchers that experiments need to be conducted to verify the assumptions regarding alternate food sources and biological control rates. Field studies are continuing to evaluate the effect of peach extrafloral nectar on biological control of tufted apple budmoth and aphids. This project supplements the parent CRIS by providing detailed information on the interaction between biological control and extrafloral nectar, contributing to objective 2a, enhancing natural biological control of insect pests of apple.
1931-21000-015-05S: This report serves to document research conducted under a specific cooperative agreement between ARS and Hawke's Bay Research Centre, New Zealand (NZ). Collaborated with HortResearch, in a phytotron study to examine the role of UV radiation and temperature in apple sunburn. Potted Braeburn apple trees were grown the entire growing season either in the open or beneath a UV exclusion shelter. Nested in this design was the application of Surround Crop Protectant, a material that reflects UV and IR radiation (4 total treatments). The four treatments were each placed in a phytotron environment at either 28/18 or 40/18C. The vapor pressure was held constant at 14 mbars and the light level was 1400 umol/m2/s. Baseline measurements, and measurements at 5 and 10 days were performed on fruit from each of the 4 treatments in each of the 2 phytotrons. The exclusion of UV with a shelter reduced pigment formation in apple, as expected. Fruit grown in the absence of UV and without Surround treatment were more sensitive to UV damage effects on photosystem II. These data will be combined with data from grape and subtropical fruit in a manuscript describing fruit skin responses to UV radiation. This project supplements the parent CRIS by providing detailed information on sub objective 1a. Improve annual cropping and fruit quality through enhanced cultural management strategies and new knowledge in carbon partitioning.
1931-21000-015-06S: This report serves to document research conducted under a cooperative agreement with the Institute for Environmental Studies, Shepherd University. Nectar production from peach extrafloral nectar was found to be greatest in the early morning and also greater June than in July and August. Nectar production also varied among cultivars. Electroantennograms, conducted in collaboration with the Chemicals Affecting Insect Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, showed that the ladybeetle Harmonia axyridis cannot detect volatiles emitted by peach extrafloral nectar. Feeding on nectar by this ladybeetle is therefore a result of foraging along the stem rather than a directed search specifically for the nectar. This project supplements the parent CRIS by providing detailed information on the interaction between biological control and extrafloral nectar, contributing to objective 2a, enhancing natural biological control of insect pests of apple.
1931-21000-015-08R: This report serves to document research conducted under a reimbursable cooperative agreement between ARS and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. This project explores the potential for using a mass trapping strategy to control dogwood borer in commercial apple orchards. Traps baited with the sex pheromone of dogwood borer were deployed in commercial apple orchard blocks at high and low densities prior flight activity to determine if dogwood borer populations can be reduced below damaging levels by trapping large numbers of male moths. Infestation rates by dogwood borer were established prior to trap deployment and were re-evaluated during the midseason. Infestation rates and trap captures from these blocks are being compared with those from a block treated with a conventional organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos and an untreated block. The study is ongoing. This project supplements the parent CRIS by providing detailed information on sub objective 2c, development of behaviorally based monitoring technologies for the indirect wood boring pest, dogwood borer.
New mating disruption technology for the dogwood borer is likely to become available to industry within the next 5 years.
Presentations to the Cumberland-Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference: Miller, S.S., 'Multidisciplinary evaluation of new apple cultivars - horticultural aspects'. Miller, S.S. 'Yield, fruit size, and leaf nutrient content of three peach tree growth habits grown at four spacings and with two training systems'. Miller, S.S. 'Long-term use of Apogee® for 'Nittany' apple on M.9 rootstock – the second year'.
Miller, S. S. 2004. Apple cultivars for the mid-atlantic industry. Pennsylvania Fruit News. 84(10) :20-27 2004 Tworkoski, T., S. S. Miller, and R. Scorza. 'Morphological and hormonal relationships in shoots of pillar and standard peach trees'.Takeda, F., Glenn, D.M., Tworkoski, T. 2005. New strategies for weed control in blackberry plantings. Hortscience. Vol 40(3): 714-719.
Tworkoski, T. 2005. Characteristics and management of peach and apple tree crowns. Proceedings of Plant Growth Regulation Society of America. Vol.32
Leskey, T.C., Zhang, A., Herzog, M. 2005. Non-fruiting host tree volatile blends: novel attractants for the plum curculio (coleoptera: curculionidae). Environmental Entomology. Env. Ent. Vol 34, Pg 785-793 (2005).
Brown, M.W. 2005. Host utilization and phenology of injury by plum curculio (coleoptera: curculionidae) in west virginia. Journal of Entomological Sciences. J. Entomol. Sci. 40(2): 149-157 (2005).
Tworkoski, T., Miller, S.S., Scorza, R. 2005. Effects of pruning on auxin and cytokinin levels and subsequent shoot regrowth among different growth habits of peach. Proceedings of Plant Growth Regulation Society of America. v. 32. p. 46.
Biggs, A., Miller, S.S. 2005. Relative susceptibility of ne-183 apple cultivars to fruit rot pathogens in west virginia. Journal of American Pomological Society. April 2005. Vol 59; Pages 72-77.
Miller, S.S., Hampson, C., Mcnew, R., Berkett, L., Brown, S., Clements, J., Crassweller, R., Garcia, E., Greene, D., Greene, G. 2005. Performance of apple cultivars in the 1995 ne-183 regional project planting: iii. fruit sensory characteristics. Journal of American Pomological Society. January 2005. Vol 59; pages 28-43.
Miller, S.S., Scorza, R. 2004. Performance of pillar and upright form peach trees grown in a central leader or multiple leader orchard system at various planting densities. Meeting Abstract. HortScience 39(4):815,2004
Crassweller, R., Mcnew, R., Azarenko, A., 21 Various Others, Miller, S.S. 2005. Performance of apple cultivars in the 1995 ne-183 regional project planting: i. growth and yield characteristics. Journal of American Pomological Society. 59: 18-27