Location: Application Technology Research Unit
2013 Annual Report
During 2012 growers ranking of pesticides and forms that validated and edited pesticide/pest data were also implemented. Similarly, the database started to be populated with efficacy data from various sources (i.e. IR4 program public database). An additional tool implemented in 2012 is a graphical tool to forecast the mean development time of pest life stages by using the mean average temperature. Green house pest developmental time information from entomological journals is being used to for this application.
The decision support system and database were both presented as an oral paper in Entomological Society of America national meeting in November 2012 for feedback from peer scientists. The feedback provided is being used to further improve the decision support system.
Experiments to determine the developmental time of greenhouse pests on different host plants were conducted during 2013. For this purpose four greenhouse rooms were conditioned with drippers, artificial lighting and shade cloth and were kept at 4 different temperatures to measure the effect of temperature on developmental time. Each room was equipped with insect cages which housed host plants. A total of four replicates from 9 host species arranged in a randomized block design were tested to measure their effect on the developmental time of whiteflies. Whiteflies were followed individually to different leafs of the plants from egg to adults. Data entry and analysis are being conducted after which differences will be modeled and incorporated in an insect simulation tool which accounts for differences in the rate of variability. Similarly, samples from the plant tissues were taken at the end of the experiment and amino acid and mineral content analysis will be carried to determine the factors enhancing or inhibiting whitefly development. A second run to measure developmental time will be conducted in the fall of 2013. Similarly testing of the decision support system by greenhouse and nursery growers and entering pesticide information in the database will be done during this year.
This project addresses critical elements for the development of precision sprayer technology envisioned in ARS parent project Objective 1 “Develop precision sprayers that can continuously match canopy characteristics to deliver agrichemicals and bio-products accurately to nursery and fruit crops”.