Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research
Project Number: 6618-22000-039-33-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Dec 1, 2012
End Date: Jul 31, 2013
1) Assist in training sessions to teach producers, crop advisors, Extension personnel, and scouts how to use AgScouter. 2) Assist in the evaluation the utility and benefits of using AgScouter to base management actions through case studies of the of the whitefly-transmitted viruses Tomato yellow curl virus and Squash vein yellowing virus and the thrips-vectored viruses Tomato spotted wilt virus.
1) AgScouter has already been developed for Florida (with the exception of the management module) but has yet to be widely implemented and, thus, we can immediately begin to hold training workshops in Florida. We will coordinate directly with University of Florida extension, personnel from Glades Crop Care and ZedX to organize several workshops open to growers, production managers, independent scouts, University extension, and agricultural interests to demonstrate and teach individuals how to use AgScouter. Initial workshops will be held in Immokalee, Florida at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center and in Wimauma, FL at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. We will also offer individual training sessions for interested growers, grower groups, and scouting companies. For example, we will extend offers to hold informal workshops to major tomato producers such as Lipman Produce (formerly Six L’s), Gargiulo, and Pacific Tomato who have actively supported development of this system. At all workshops, we will fully demonstrate how to operate AgScouter and provide literature, contact information, and general pricing options for the equipment necessary to operate AgScouter. Because most growers hire scouts to scout their crops, all that needs to be done is to convince growers to participate in the program by allowing their scouts to use AgScouter and make their data available. And finally, we will discuss options on how to obtain funds (e.g., small business grants) to equip their scouts and pay for future services. 2) It will be impossible to fully evaluate how use of regional scouting data impacts pest populations, pesticide usage, and factors associated with pesticide inefficiency during the short funding period. However, many notable changes should be evident within the 3-5 year period following the implementation of AgScouter. We plan to document these changes by comparing historic pest and disease data with new data collected after the implementation of AgScouter on cooperators farms. For prior year data, a five year database of bi-weekly whitefly density estimates and TYLCV incidence in southwest Florida will be used as baseline data. New data will be collected after AgScouter is put into place with the cooperation of growers and their scouts. Lastly, a survey of grower’s attitudes will be conducted at workshops prior to and after the implementation of AgScouter.