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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #426211

Research Project: Integrated Orchard Management and Automation for Deciduous Tree Fruit Crops

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

2016 Annual Report

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.

Progress Report
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.


Review Publications
Glenn, D.M. 2016. Effect of highly processed calcined kaolin residues on apple productivity and quality. Scientia Horticulturae. 201:101-108.
Ferraz, T., Netto, A., De Oliveira Reis, F., Pecanha, A., De Sousa, E., Machado Filho, J., Rodrigues, W.P., Glenn, D.M., Campostrini, E. 2015. Relationships between SAP-flow measurements, whole-canopy transpiration and reference evapotranspiration in field-grown papaya (Carica papaya L.). Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology. DOI: 10.1007/s40626-015-0049-z.
Leskey, T.C., Khrimian, A., Weber, D.C., Aldrich, J.C., Short, B.D., Lee, D., Morrison, W.R. 2015. Behavioral responses of the invasive Halyomorpha halys (Stal) to traps baited with stereoisomeric mixtures of 10,11-Epoxy-1-bisabolen-3-OL. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 41:418-429.
Acebes-Doria, A.L., Leskey, T.C., Bergh, C. 2016. Injury to apples and peaches at harvest from feeding by Halyomorpha halys (Stal) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) nymphs early and late in the season. Crop Protection. 89:58-65.
Leskey, T.C., Agnello, A., Bergh, C., Dively, G.P., Hamilton, G.C., Jentsch, P., Khrimian, A., Krawczyk, G., Kuhar, T.P., Lee, D., Morrison III, W.R., Polk, D.F., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Shearer, P.W., Short, B.D., Shrewsbury, P., Walgenbach, J.F., Welty, C., Whalen, J., Weber, D.C., Wiman, N. 2015. Attraction of the invasive Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) to traps baited with semiochemical stimuli across the United States. Environmental Entomology. DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvv049.
Lee, D., Leskey, T.C. 2015. Flight behavior of foraging and overwintering brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research. doi: 10.1017/S0007485315000462.
Acebes-Doria, A.L., Leskey, T.C., Bergh, J.C. 2015. Development and comparison of trunk traps to monitor movement of Halyomorpha halys nymphs on host trees. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 158:44-53.
Acebes-Doria, A.L., Leskey, T.C., Bergh, C. 2016. Host plant effects on Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) nymphal development and survivorship. Environmental Entomology. 45:663-670.
Joseph, S.V., Nita, M., Leskey, T.C., Bergh, J.C. 2015. Temporal effects on the incidence and severity of brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) feeding injury to peaches and apples during the fruiting period in Virginia. Journal of Economic Entomology. 108(2):592-599.
Joseph, S.V., Stallings Jonathan, W., Leskey, T.C., Krawczyk, G., Polk, D., Butler, B., Bergh, J.C. 2014. Spatial distribution of brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) injury at harvest in mid-Atlantic apple orchards. Journal of Economic Entomology. 107(5):1839-1848.
Morrison III, W.R., Cullum, J.P., Leskey, T.C. 2015. Evaluation of trap designs and deployment strategies for capturing Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. doi: 10.1093/jee/tov159.
Harris, C., Abubeker, S.U., Yu, M., Leskey, T.C., Zhang, A. 2015. Semiochemical production and laboratory behavior response of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha Halys. Journal of Insect Physiology. 10(1):e0140876.
Hock, V., Chouinard, G., Lucas, E., Cormier, D., Leskey, T.C., Zhang, A. 2015. Behavioral responses of plum curculio (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) to different enantiomer concentrations and blends of the synthetic aggregation pheromone grandisoic acid. Journal of Economic Entomology. 108(2):549-558.
Morrison III, W.R., Lee, D., Short, B.D., Khrimian, A., Leskey, T.C. 2015. Establishing the behavioral basis for an attract-and-kill strategy to manage the invasive Halyomorpha halys in apple orchards. Journal of Pest Science. doi: 10.1007/s10340-015-0679-6.
Lee, D., Park, C., Seo, B., Boiteau, G., Vincent, C., Leskey, T.C. 2014. Detectability of Halyomorpha Halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) by portable harmonic radar in agricultural landscapes. Florida Entomologist. 97(3):1131-1138.
Glenn, D.M., Gasic, K. 2015. Influence of within year treatments and between year environmental differences on peach leaf ash and carbon isotopic discrimination responses. Scientia Horticulturae. 193:258-260.
Miller, S., Tworkoski, T., Hott, C.F. 2015. Shade effects on growth, flowering, and fruit of apple. Journal of Applied Horticulture. 17(2):101-105.
Tworkoski, T., Fazio, G., Glenn, D.M. 2016. Apple rootstock resistance to drought. Scientia Horticulturae. 204:70-78.
Mayer, N.A., Reighard, G., Bridges, W., Glenn, D.M. 2014. Prunus rootstocks influence stem water potential, C/N ratio and shoot ash content in peach. Acta Horticulturae. 1058:365-373.
Castro, F., Campostrini, E., Netto, A., Gomes, M., Ferraz, T., Glenn, D.M. 2014. Portable chlorophyll meter (PCM-502) values are related to total chlorophyll concentration and photosynthetic capacity in papaya (Carica papaya L.). Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology. DOI 10.1007/s40626-014-0018-y.
Tworkoski, T., Fazio, G. 2015. Effects of size-controlling apple rootstocks on growth, ABA, and hydraulic conductivity of scion of different vigor. International Journal of Fruit Science. doi: 10.1080/15538362.2015.1009973.
Morrison III, W.R., Mathews, C.R., Leskey, T.C. 2016. Frequency, efficiency, and physical characteristics of predation by generalist predators of brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) eggs. Biological Control. 97:120-130.