Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/10/2010
Publication Date: 11/10/2010
Citation: Johnson, D., Lewis, B., Bryant, R.J., Rom, C., Friedrich, H., Pszczolkowski, M. 2010. Organic fruit production needs and pest management practices in the southeastern United States. Acta Horticulture Proceedings. 873:37-44. Interpretive Summary: Organic agriculture is becoming important to consumers. However, due to hot and humid conditions in the spring and summer, organic production in the Southeastern states can be limited due to a high incidence of disease and insect infestations. In 2004, two projects were funded to address the needs of organic fruit production in the Southern Region and to develop a sustainable method to control pests. The first research project showed that adult green June beetles, which infest grape vineyards, were attracted to multiple yellow funnel traps baited with a lure of five-component volatile blend, 50% isopropanol, or 91% isopropanol. In 2007, 41,669 beetles were captured showing the potential of this biocontrol method for mass trapping without the use of pesticides. The second project showed that the adult plum curculios, which infest apple trees, were attracted to dispensers releasing volatiles of an aggregation pheromone. It was found that unbaited trees had significantly less damage than the baited trees. This suggests that trees on the perimeter of an orchard could be baited, thus diminishing pest damage to the majority of the apple orchard. Also, demonstration blocks in Arkansas showed that early and late season generations of codling moth (CM) and Oriental fruit moth (OFM) could be controlled using a naturally occurring virus and bacteria when integrated with mating disruption, which resulted in less than 1% fruit damage at harvest. The results of these projects will be beneficial to researchers and farmers interested in growing fruit using fewer pesticides.
Technical Abstract: In 2004, client-based focus groups identified several needs for organic fruit production in the Southeastern USA: establish “go-to” personnel to increase interaction between researchers and organic producers; conduct more science-based research on soil, pest and nutrient management; develop information to be summarized in printed guides on organic production budgets and organic production practices; and strengthen local market development. This study was conducted to evaluate several pest management practices that could be adapted for organic fruit production. Demonstration blocks in Arkansas showed that early and late season generations of codling moth (CM) and Oriental fruit moth (OFM) could be controlled with CM granulosis virus and Bt when integrated with mating disruption. This resulted in less than 1% fruit damage at harvest. Plum curculio adults disperse into the perimeter of fruit orchards in the spring. When plum curculio adults were attracted to perimeter apple trees baited with dispensers releasing volatiles of grandisoic acid (aggregation pheromone) and one or two kairomone compounds, benzaldehyde and plum essence, they caused significantly more fruit feeding damage in baited trees than on adjacent unbaited trees. Thus, there is potential for using bait trees in apples to focus plum curculio damage. A further advantage occurs with the application of a nematode soil drench to reduce plum curculio larva survival in soil under baited trees. Green June beetle adults feed on ripening fruit. Multiple yellow funnel traps baited with a lure of five-component volatile blend or 91% isopropanol were effective in attracting green June beetles and may have potential for use in mass trapping of this pest.