Researchers eliminate agricultural pests

A team of WSU researchers and their wine-industry collaborators are the winners of the 2007 Integrated Pest Management Team Award. The award is given each year to the team that successfully implements an IPM solution to an agricultural pest problem.
The Pacific Northwest Vineyard IPM team, led by entomologist Doug Walsh, and based at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, devised an innovative technique that virtually eliminated cutworm bud damage on grapevines.
The vineyard solution saves growers about $5.5 million a year and has resulted in an 84 percent reduction in pesticide use.
Previously difficult to control, Walsh said that cutworm “wakes up hungry in the spring” and immediately sets out to devour the buds where grape clusters form. Before Walsh and his team approached the problem, treatment consisted of an organophosphate insecticide “with negative environmental consequences,” Walsh said. The organophosphate insecticide also killed beneficial insects.
“The growers started using this solution,” said Walsh “and it was a real cost savings to them. Growers were using very little insecticide and getting very good control. The grower response within two years was universal. At this point I think every grower around here has adopted this practice in some form.”
In addition to Walsh, the team was composed of WSU researchers Holly Ferguson, Ron Wight, Tim Waters and Sally O’Neal Coastes. Industry collaborators were Len Welch of Valent USA, an agrochemical company, Leif Olsen of Olsen Wine Estates, Kevin Corliss of Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Sally Halstead of the EPA.
This is the second IPM Team Award for WSU in as many years.
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