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Site-Specific Weather Networks, Improved Pest Models, and Automated Insect Trapping for Improved Pest Forecasting

Grant Recipient:

Washington State University
Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center
24106 N. Bunn Road
Prosser, WA 99350

Project Period:

March 1, 2003 to October 31, 2004

Principal Investigator:

F. J. Pierce, Center for Precision Agricultural Systems, Washington State University

Downloads:

Good Fruit Grower April 1007 Weather Network.doc (28 KB)

Description
Innovative IPM programs, such as mating disruption (MD) in codling moth and powdery mildew management, depend upon localized data on weather and insect or pathogen activity in order to optimize the application of limited pesticide pest management alternatives. Areas such as the Wenatchee Valley lack adequate weather data and are in need of publicly- supported weather networks to service the smaller, family owned farms who cannot afford them. Furthermore, automated insect sensors are needed to improve data collection on insect activity. The goals of this project are to implement a network backbone in the Wenatchee Valley and Wahluke/Royal Slopes, reduce pesticide use by improving insect/pathogen model predictions in pome and stone fruits, and to design and test automated insect sensors. The network backbones will be implemented through WSU Wenatchee and Royal City school system in cooperation with the North Central WA Fieldmen’s Association and operated as part of AgWeatherNet™ located at WSU Prosser. Five new insect models will be deployed for use in the agricultural weather networks in WA along with improved models for powdery mildew management in stone and pome fruits. An affordable electronic insect trap will be generically designed and field tested that uses insect specific lures within an entry chamber equipped with a device that senses insect passage into the trap. This project will enable growers to access site-specific weather data to better utilize pest forecasts thereby improving their IPM options as well as provide the data needed for irrigation scheduling, frost protection, and harvest management.

Project goals and objectives
The goals of this project are to implement a weather monitoring network backbone in the Wenatchee Valley and Wahluke/Royal Slopes, reduce pesticide use by improving insect and disease pathogen model predictions in pome and stone fruits, and design and test automated insect sensors. The project coordinators estimate that 150 customers will use their weather station information and at least 15 will agree to test the electronic insect traps. This could potentially affect the management practices of more than 3,000 growers on 195,000 acres and help them reduce pesticide use and implement alternative control strategies.

Specific performance targets:
1. Reduce pesticide use in pome and stone fruit production by improving weather data quality and availability in underserved production areas in conjunction with improved model predictions and new monitoring sensors. The intended result is increased reliance on IPM models for both pests and diseases.
2. Increase reliability of MD and decrease cost of monitoring by automating insect population monitoring for codling moth and leafrollers.
3. Facilitate the adoption of weather-driven, biorational pesticide decision support.

Outcomes
They continue to install new weather stations for growers and install new repeaters. As of June 2004, they had added 1 base, 4 repeaters, 7 weather stations, 6 pest stations on AgWeatherNet and converted 11 PAWS stations to AgWeatherNet, all privately funded. They also continued to upgrade the AgWeatherNet website, adding and testing new pest and disease models and improving the user interface. The new models help growers control powdery mildew on grape, cherry fruit fly and codling moth. They continue to test electronic pest sensors. One design incorporates an optical sensor and the other uses a piezo film to detect the impact of a falling insect. So far, they have tested and refined several generations of electronic pest traps. They still feel “counting” insects through sensors will work.

Project Links
weather.wsu.edu./

As of 5/4/07, the AgWeatherNet (AWN) provides access to the raw data from the Washington State University PAWS & AWN weather network. The AWN includes 91 weather stations located mostly in the irrigated regions of eastern Washington State providing 15 minute weather data update approximately once an hour. The AWN network is administered and managed by the AgWeatherNet Program located in Prosser, WA and has been available only by subscription until now. You must register to gain access to the AWN raw data. Once registered, you can log in at any time to view or download data.

American Farmland Trust