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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Commodity Protection and Quality Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Implement an area-wide IPM program that will reduce navel orangeworm damage, aflatoxin contamination, and broad-spectrum insecticide use throughout the Central Valley. 2. Collect baseline data characterizing the experimental plots in terms of NOW population density, historic levels of damage, sanitation efficacy, and the cost of current practices. Compare the efficacy of current and proposed NOW management programs using cost/benefit analysis. 3. Identify key variables responsible for both consistent control and program failure and analyze the relative importance of these variables using epidemiological/epizootiological statistics. 4. Expand an existing damage prediction model for Nonpareil almond damage that is based on Kern County data, to the other growing regions in the Central Valley; and develop a damage prediction model for pollenizer varieties of almonds and validate the model in the different growing regions. 5. Determine the role played by NOW movement among multiple hosts on the efficacy of the new management practices demonstrated. 6. Create NOW damage databases using grower-provided data that can identify high-risk areas for each commodity within a county and utilize these databases to develop a better understanding of the distribution of both NOW infestation and aflatoxin contamination within and between counties. 7. Work with farm advisers and an advisory council to develop educational programs and training materials to instruct growers on the strategies demonstrated in the area-wide proposal.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Establish and implement an areawide pest management research and action program for navel orangeworm management which (a) results from a stakeholder partnership and collaboration dedicated to the demonstration and areawide adoption of navel orangeworm control technologies; (b) demonstrates the positive impacts and advantages of such a program through enhanced grower profits, reduced worker risks, an enhanced environment, and a proven superiority of area-wide adoption; and (c) achieves a mature navel orangeworm management system so end-users, consultants and other interested parties will be left with an operation program that will meet the overall goals through its wide-scale adoption. This will require the development of a unified effort between Federal, State, local and private interests, and whose participants will be involved in the program from conception to adoption.

3. Progress Report:
Mating disruption to manage the navel orange worm, a lepidopteran pest of almonds, was expanded to 30,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley. Optimal insecticide application was demonstrated in the San Joaquin Valley. The efficacy of Intrepid, Belt, Proclaim and Altacor was demonstrated in both almonds and pistachios, enabling these new chemistries to be used to support mating disruption or as stand alone treatments. The importance of sanitation to reduce navel orangeworm damage was demonstrated in field trials as well as the linkage of navel orangeworm damage and aflatoxin contamination.

4. Accomplishments
1. Improved monitoring for navel orangeworm using egg traps. Navel orangeworm (NOW) is the principal insect pest of U.S. almonds. Egg traps, the current method of monitoring NOW, are expensive and unreliable. ARS Researchers at Parlier, California, with University of California and private industry collaborators, found pistachio meal to be as effective as the currently used bait and determined the number of traps needed to reliably detect egg-laying. Monitoring with pistachio meal has been adapted on tens of thousands of acres of almonds, and will help prevent NOW damage to almonds, worth >$2.3 billion per year and planted on >800,000 acres in California.

2. Duration of control of insecticides in pistachios. Considerable uncertainty exists about the duration of navel orangeworm control provided by newly registered insecticides in pistachios. California pistachios are a valuable crop (500+ million pounds) and are increasing in importance. An ARS researcher at Parlier evaluated 4 classes of newly registered insecticides for 8 weeks after application. Several insecticide classes, alone or in combination, provided control for more than 5 weeks. This will enable growers to revise their control strategies in order to optimize timing and reduce damage, which in turn will increase profits.

3. Ovicidal and neonate activity of insecticides in almonds. Almonds are the largest California nut crop (>1.9 billion pounds) and the navel orangeworm is the primary pest during production. The degree of ovicidal, neonate and adult activity of the newly registered insecticides in almonds has not been established and this information is necessary to improve control. One class of narrow spectrum insecticide was shown by an ARS researcher in Parlier to be toxic to navel orangeworm eggs while another class killed adults. Their use will replace broad spectrum insecticides and reduce environmental disruption.

4. Optimizing insecticide applications. It has been established for more than 20 years that optimal sprayer speed for control of navel orangeworm in almonds and pistachios should not exceed 2 mph, yet many applications are conducted at speeds > 2.5 mph. Demonstration trials were conducted by an ARS researcher from Parlier to reinforce the importance of spraying at 2 mph. Coverage improved when two banks of nozzles were used at each position. Improved coverage will reduce damage and increase profit.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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