Continued Reduction of Organophosphates and the Implementation of an Organic Pest Control Program in Pear
Over the last ten years the Oregon State University Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center has aided the southern Oregon pear industry in reducing the number of organophosphate applications from four to one and overall synthetic pesticide use by 74%. This was accomplished by educating growers about pest identification, orchard scouting, selecting the product least harmful to beneficial organisms when responding to a problem, having a support group to aid in dec9,500ision making and implementation, by demonstrating the new technologies of codling moth mating disruption, application of weather data to the decision process, and use of new less toxic chemistry when responding to pest problems.
In the last two years new monitoring technology for codling moth, new pesticide chemistry and implementation ideas have been developed in pear that could help growers move closer to organic growing. Replacing the one organophosphate application that is currently used to supplement codling moth mating disruption with treatments of codling moth granulosis virus, and by replacing the use of neonicotinoids, that cause flare-ups of secondary pests, with products such as soaps, horticultural mineral oils and kaolin particle film, we believe organic pear production is possible. However, the key to successful introduction of such a program is the demonstration to and engagement of the grower community during the implementation and problem-solving phase of the project.
Project goals and objectives
The three goals of this project are to demonstrate to area orchardists: 1) the positive impacts of full investment in integrated pest management; 2) the efficacy of new technologies and products for pest management operations and decision-making; and 3) that organic methods can be successfully adopted.
Increase use of per esters for monitoring female codling moth from 0% to 30% of the acreage
Have representatives of 95% of the acreage participating in training programs (currently 70%)
Better educate 5 area orchardists on organic options and increase acreage from 0% to 10%
Over 50% of the pear acreage is currently utilizing CMMD along with a number of other organic techniques such as granulosis virus for codling moth control and the inorganic material Surrond (i.e. kaolin). Just over 30% of the acreage is using a lure containing pear ester for monitoring codling moth.
Biweekly forum meetings were attended by individuals representing over 90% of the pear acreage, an increase over previous years.
While adoption of organic methods did increase substantially, we did not meet our targets of 5 growers and 10% of the acreage as we currently have 4 growers and only 5% of the acreage utilizing organic production methods. A combination of factors likely contributed to our falling short of those targets: moving to organic production entails a major commitment of effort; organic certification is an added expense; and the market premiums for organic fruit have, in some instances, diminished. However, the trend towards adoption of IPM methods and alternatives to OPs will help growers in the future as the use of high risk insecticides becomes more restricted and in some cases (i.e. azinphos methyl) phased out entirely; and orchardists who are interested in growing pears organically may be able to use the current IPM methods demonstrated here as means of moving their pest management practices in that direction.