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Michigan Apple IPM Implementation Project

Project Period:

3 years 7 months 1998-06-01 - 2002-02-01

Principal Investigator:

The Michigan Apple IPM Implementation Project (MAIPMIP) is a multi-year public-private partnership which includes Michigan apple growers, private consultants, Michigan State University researchers and extension specialists, the Gerber Products Company, members of the Michigan Apple Research Committee, the Michigan Apple Committee, the Michigan IPM Alliance and Novartis. Apple growers in Michigan deal with over 26 different insect species and differing weather and soil conditions in the state's five apple growing regions. The project will develop a more biologically and environmentally sound pest management system that also meets the customer's demand for high quality fruit. Project collaborators will also educate and train growers, increase the skills and numbers of consultants and develop new information-gathering methods.

The core of the MAIPMIP was the implementation and documentation of selective IPM programs on farms in each of five MI growing regions. The MAIPMIP also established grower standard practice blocks as comparison programs, where available. Funding from MAIPMIP industry partners enabled the Michigan Project Team to establish eight demonstration orchards one year in advance of the official start of the project. The MAIPMIP grew from 47 growers participating directly on 877 acres in 1999 to 106 growers participating directly on more than 8,300 acres in 2001. To reduce the use of organophosphates, the team promoted block-specific orchard scouting, a greater reliance on new, reduced risk insecticide chemistries and pheromone mating disruption. Project acreage was managed in conjunction with a consultant or scout, engaging most of the private firms that provide these services to Michigan apple growers. Growers selected options that they and their consultants felt were appropriate for their specific farm and pest situation. Total OP use was reduced by 49 percent, 25 percent and 30 percent in 1999, 2000 and 2001, respectively. IPM orchards used a mean of 4.16 lbs of OP active ingredient compared to 6.30 lbs of OP active ingredient in conventional blocks. Along with significant increases in the number of growers who used mating disruption, many growers used reduced-risk materials (36 percent more growers used SpinTor, 23 percent more used Confirm, and 20 percent more use Bacillus thuringiensis; of materials registered after the start of the project, 83 percent report using Intrepid, 20 percent report using Avaunt, 13 percent report using Esteem and 5 percent report using Actara (registered summer 2001)). Despite the decreased use of OPs, overall control of key insect pests was as good or better than that achieved in conventional programs. Based on economic analyses, the selective IPM programs were economically competitive with grower standard programs when average or better yields were achieved, particularly when greater than 50 percent of the harvested fruit was destined for fresh markets. Also, as a direct result of the project, 55 percent of the growers report using predictive models and 84 percent of them are using the more precise timing advocated by the project team. The project team also developed a scouting handbook, A Pocket Guide for IPM Scouting in MI Apples, which has been widely accepted in the United States and Canada with almost 2,000 copies distributed so far.

If the 106 growers in the project expand their IPM practices to include all of their orchard acreage, the potential impact of the project will be approximately 20,000 acres, over 40 percent of the apple acreage in Michigan.

American Farmland Trust