Oct. 1, 2010 - Sep. 30, 2015Award Number
Center for Produce SafetyInvestigator
Henry Fadamiro, Ph.D.
The focus of this proposal is on management of major pests of important key specialty fruit crops in Alabama. Peach production is an important industry in Alabama with an estimated total annual market value of ~ $10 million (Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service, 2005). Satsuma mandarin production is an emerging industry in Alabama. About one-third of the local Satsuma mandarin crop has been sold annually to the Alabama public school system since 2003. Several arthropod pests attack fruit and vegetable crops in Alabama with the potential to cause significant economic losses to growers. Being high value crops, there is zero tolerance for insect damage. As a result growers typically rely on multiple calendar applications of conventional pesticides to produce unblemished fruits for the fresh market. Extensive use of insecticides has resulted in many drawbacks including pest resistance, food safety, and environmental pollution. Furthermore, many pesticides are being lost through government regulation (FQPA, 1996), creating an urgent need for alternative pest management strategies in fruit crops. Studies have shown that IPM potentially offers a sound alternative strategy to conventional pest control in fruit and vegetable production. For the past six years, the PI has been working with growers, extension specialists, and other stakeholders to develop IPM tactics for key pests of fruit and vegetable crops in Alabama. This Hatch project will build on the success recorded in these initial studies. Specifically, the goal of this project is to develop and implement ecologically based and cost-effective IPM practices for major and emerging pests of peaches (i.e. plum curculio, stink bugs), Satsuma citrus (i.e. leaffooted bugs) and crucifer vegetable crops in Alabama. The research will identify low-input IPM tactics that will reduce pesticide use in fruit and vegetable production, reduce human health risks, and minimize adverse environmental effects of use of toxic conventional insecticides. This proposal also addresses the goals of the National IPM Roadmap, the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), and the EPA's Strategic Agriculture Initiative program by developing and implementing environmentally friendly IPM practices that will improve economic sustainability of Alabama farms and decrease residues of toxic pesticides on fresh market fruits. Implementation of IPM is vital to the survival and expansion of the Alabama fruit and vegetable industry.