Central Coast Vegetable IPM Project (CCVIPM) - Intensive Insect Management on Lettuce and Celery Crops, California
The $1.6 billion-a-year lettuce and celery industry along California's Central Coast, which accounts for 60 percent of the nation's supply, faces insect problems that no individual grower or pest control advisor (PCA) can solve alone.
The purpose of this project is to implement, document and evaluate an industry-wide insect pest management system for head lettuce, leaf lettuce and celery in the Central Coast of California that will lead to significant economic and environmental benefits. Insect pest management has become increasingly difficult in the Salinas and Pajaro valleys due to problems with a recently introduced pest, the pea leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis), a persistent complex of leafminers, Lygus bugs, loopers and armyworms, an increase in insect resistance and a resulting decrease in beneficials due to the frequency of pesticide applications. It's a regional production system that no longer works. In addition to these problems, the Food Quality Protection Act is likely to alter the availability of pesticides upon which the current system relies. The project seeks to increase the adoption of IPM practices on 30 percent of head lettuce, leaf lettuce and celery acreage by the end of the third year. It will include 11 commercial-size implementation plots throughout the Central Valley (220 acres), a farmer and pest control advisor education program and a comprehensive evaluation and documentation effort.
Project goals and objectives
This project set out to develop and evaluate an environmentally friendly, economically viable, pest management approach to the pea leafminer, Liriomyza huidobrensis, which attacks young celery and lettuce plants. Then the project shifted gears to deal with the critical problems emerging from the appearance of a new pest, the lettuce aphid, Nasonovia ribis-nigri. The goal of this project was to control the insects more effectively by refining, validating and sharing a commercial-scale integrated pest management system that can be adopted by a high percentage of the coastal lettuce and celery industry.
More than 20 growers participated in the project, using the experimental pest control program on 46 field demonstrations covering 667 acres. These included 29 head lettuce, 10 romaine, and 7 celery fields from Watsonville to Oxnard. This acreage conservatively represented a risked investment of $2 million. In these fields, the reduction in the number of applications of organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethroids for the IPM treatments compared to the standard was 87 percent for head lettuce, 88 percent for romaine, and 72 percent for celery.