Large-Scale Delivery of IPM Information to Increase Adoption of Reduced-Risk Practices in Michigan Vineyards
The objectives of this project are to: 1) Broadly demonstrate the economic feasibility and pest control efficacy of reduced-risk IPM practices, 2) Train grape growers and other vineyard decision-makers on the optimal use of vineyard-specific IPM practices that minimize reliance on broad-spectrum pesticides and 3) Publish a printed and electronic Vineyard IPM Workbook, with a self-assessment component. Using this approach, we expect to achieve measurable reduction in pesticide use on the farms of growers participating in this project and across the industry, with a measurable increase in grower adoption of selective insecticides and reduced-risk disease controls. Measurement will be conducted at the customer-level and the market-level using individual spray records and access to an industry-wide pesticide database. This project will help ensure the long-term safety of grape production in the Midwest for the environment, growers and workers. Online delivery of the developed information through an established grape IPM specific website will enhance distribution of this information and long-term adoption of IPM programs in this industry. Finally, this project will improve the ability of grape growers to successfully join the NRCS EQIP program to support vineyard IPM practices.
Project goals and objectives
The use of regular scouting, monitoring, and decision-making needs to be increased across the industry to ensure that pests are being targeted at times when the maximum economic return can be realized. To achieve this, our first goal is to increase by 75% the self-directed use of regular scouting by growers using MSU Extension materials, so that growers can make their own pest management decisions. This goal will require an integrated program that combines demonstration of an IPM program in grower-cooperator vineyards with multiple routes for technology transfer. Our second goal is to demonstrate the efficacy of reduced-risk pesticide options to the target market, to significantly increase their adoption.
Over two growing seasons, the growers responding to surveys increased the level of scouting their own vineyards from 67 to 82% and also an increase in the number of acres scouted. There was a 28% increase in the proportion of Michigan grape growers accessing MSU’s grape-specific website for information on pest management and grape production information. By the end of this project 44% of growers in SW Michigan and 77% of growers in northwest Michigan reported using the internet to access MSU’s IPM information. The www.grapes.msu.edu website has experienced rapid growth during this project, with an increasing level of traffic at the posted pages and numerous PDF files that explain pest management or crop production topics being downloaded over 1,000 times.
A dramatic change in perception of reduced-risk pest management tools such as dormant fungicides or selective insecticides was measured during the course of this project. Survey respondents changed from knowing very little about these tactics and not planning to use them at the start of this project to having much greater confidence at the end, as shown by their plan to use or consider using these tactics. For example, there was a 44% increase in the proportion of northwest Michigan growers planning to use a dormant fungicide for disease control and a 39% increase in the proportion of southwest Michigan growers planning to use an insect growth regulator for control of grape berry moth.
www.grapes.msu.edu now receives over 90,000 hits/week
The grapes.msu.edu web site traffic has increased dramatically during this project. In May 2006, the website received 29,025 hits, and this has increased to 90,500 in May 2008. The cultural practices section is the most popular, with the information on pest scouting pages second. This indicates a significant number are accessing the resources available on the site. In addition, the site has been linked to other sites around the U.S., and receives a high level of traffic from the eastern states and California. PDF files posted here have also been downloaded in high volume, with 4987 downloads of Dr. Zabadal’s material on trellis design, 3,645 downloads of the MidWest Grape PMSP document, and 1739 downloads of Dr. Isaacs’ talk on Japanese beetle management in vineyards.