1: Improve understanding of deciduous tree fruit stress responses and develop cultural strategies and technologies to ameliorate abiotic stress with different tree architectures and rootstock-scion combinations. 1.A. Develop and test novel genetic sources and tree architectures for increased water use efficiency. 1.B. Characterize key biochemical and physiological processes regulating fruit tree architecture and genetic-environmental interactions. 1.C. Develop cultural management practices that include rootstock and shoot architectures that are stress tolerant and improve production efficiency in high density plantings. 1.D. Develop rudimentary apple orchard carbon budget. 2: Develop new devices/technology for dectection and control of invasive and native insects in fruit crops including, but not limited to, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted wing drosophila, and the native plum curculio. 2.A. Identify and utilize attractive behavioral cues, including olfactory and visual stimuli, to develop sensitive monitoring tools and behaviorally-based control strategies within the production system that reduce insecticide inputs to increase profitability and sustainability. 2.B. Develop monitoring and management tools for the invasive brown marmorated stink bug, spotted wing drosophila, and the native plum curculio using the knowledge developed in Sub-objective 2.A. 3: Develop and apply computer vision for mechanization of orchard practices including, but not limited to, pruning. 3.A. Refine computer vision system for three-dimensional shape modeling of trees, including different tree growth habits. 3.B. Integrate computer vision system and robotics for pruning.
This project proposes the development and integration of entomological, horticultural, and engineering technology to solve major problems affecting temperate tree fruit production, the sustainability and environmental impact of tree fruit production, and consumer acceptance of tree fruits. Novel arthropod management techniques will be developed through identification of olfactory or visual cues in order to implement insect behavioral manipulation strategies that will improve monitoring and control of key insect pests. Improved light and water management will be developed through training systems that include different tree growth habits that are amenable to orchard automation and through improved understanding of hormones, rootstocks, and growth habit to optimize carbon partitioning, tree development, and water use efficiency. Future mechanization of orchard operations will be facilitated by newly developed tree management systems to improve light penetration in novel tree growth habits and by algorithms for the visualization of tree branches. The technologies and knowledge developed within this project are components of management systems that integrate behaviorally-based monitoring and management of arthropods, optimal tree architecture, and orchard automation that result in the production of high quality fruit with stable annual yields. The broad base of expertise in the research program will develop and integrate the most appropriate technologies to solve the key problems of tree fruit production. Productive and sustainable tree fruit production systems will benefit both consumers and global competitiveness of U.S. growers.
Laboratory bioassays have been conducted to identify effective toxicants formulated into visually attractive attract-and-kill devices for spotted wing drosophila (SWD) under laboratory conditions. The most effective toxicants are now being screened under field conditions to examine longevity of the attract-and-kill device against SWD under semi-field conditions. We have found that lures formulated with olfactory stimuli are found to be attractive to plum curculio (PC), and effective at creating whole-tree attract-and-kill sites in apple orchards are less so when deployed in peach orchards. Peach fruit are much more attractive to PC and competitive with olfactory lures, necessitating different approaches for dealing with PC in stone fruit. A new prototype system for generating tree shape was designed and constructed. The new system was a smaller version of our existing system and was more appropriate for novice users. It consisted of a small truck, robot, and multiple cameras to account for realistic imaging conditions, and this system was tested in the field in Kearneysville, West Virginia, on different growth habits of peach and pear as well as at partner sites in New York on different growth habits of apple. Our existing system was modified to mitigate problems with robot placement, determined as a result of outdoor testing. When the tree shape is computed with our robotic vision system, the center of the estimated shape must be extracted to determine branching points for later measurement or automation steps. This is usually done by a method called curve skeletonization, however, existing methods were not able to deal with the field conditions present in our data. During the reporting period, we devised a new method for curve skeletonization that can take into account field conditions.
1. Traps baited with the pheromone and pheromone synergist of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) can be used as a guide to make management decisions for BMSB in apple orchards. When cumulative trap captures hit an established threshold, this indicates that a grower must apply an insecticide treatment. In comparison with calendar-based spray programs, this threshold-based approach reduced insecticide applications by more than 40% with no increases in fruit injury. This integrated pest management (IPM) tool for BMSB is now being evaluated in commercial orchards in at least five states and similar approaches for other vulnerable crops such as peaches, tomatoes, and hazelnuts are being explored.
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