Many things to juggle

As the growing season goes into a time were lots of things are happening, it is always interesting to me how it all gets done. Each grower has their own way of keeping track of it all and they always amaze me. Annual crops have been planted and are out of the ground. Weeds need to be hoed or sprayed, fertlizer needs to be applied, ground needs to be culitvated and prepared for irrigation. Harvest is starting on some of the early fruit trees and the later trees are still being thinned so that ther fruit that is left has plenty of room to size. In the grapes there are crews removing leaves and shoots around the developing fruit clusters so they get plenty of air and light. Activity everywhere.

All this activity can cause interesting dilemmas for us Plant Doctors. Many researchers have spent a lot of time looking a certain crops and their pests and telling us exactly what to look for and how we should decide when pest thresholds are high enough to treat. Counting bugs and looking and crop damange and stages, checking on weather and caluclating when pests will hatch. The list of techniques goes on and on. But what can throw a wrench in this system, that is generally not considered by research, is what is going on that is not pest related.

Are there people scheduled to go into the field to thin or pick? Do we need to treat early enough, before pest reach our target to treat so that it will be safe for the workers to go in? Are crops going to be harvested next to a block to be treated? Should we treat earlier so as not to risk a problem with an adjacent field? Are the ditches going up to irrigate and making the field inaccessible to spraying for a while? Should we treat before the water starts? There is a tractor going through to spray for on thing, can we save a trip through the field and piggyback a spray for something else, thus saving gas and reducing applicator exposure?

Not all pest control decisions can be based solely on the pest counts in the field. Those issue do not exisit in a vaccum. Pest population numbers and trends, potential crop damage, numbers of beneficial insects working on the pest are the best indicators of what needs to be done. But sometimes other operations going on can disrupt your best laid IPM plans and you just have to make a decision that works best for all.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Elaine on May 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Love the way – you tell it like it is. Farming is like having eyes in the back of your head and talking to 5 people at the same time. It always seems like things come in bunches. I know you do a good job for your growers. The weather, this year, sure isn’t helping.


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