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Tree Fruit: Entomology Extension Projects

Tree Fruit

Promoting the Adoption of New Arthropod Pest Management Practices

Tree fruit production in Virginia has a considerable history and well established approaches to crop production and protection. In the face of many recent social, economic and regulatory pressures, growers are being forced to change their production practices, and this is especially true for insect pest management. To facilitate this transition, the entomology Extension program at the AHS-AREC provides Virginia growers with educational resources based on information generated at the research center and on tree fruit research at other institutions in the mid-Atlantic region. On-line material is complemented by in-season production meetings, off-season educational programs and annual participation in the update of entomology sections in the Spray Bulletin for Commercial Tree Fruit Growers.

Playing the lead role in the recently established Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for Tree Fruit Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the entomology Extension program has created access to financial incentives for the adoption of IPM practices by Virginia apple and peach growers. This program has promoted and expanded the use of pheromone trap based monitoring and the use of degree-day phenology models for pesticide application decisions and increased both apple and peach acreage under mating disruption and is expected to grow in number of participants and orchard area under contract.