Integrated Pest Management - Tips For Success

Integrated Pest Management - Tips for Success

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IPM is an integral part of smart agriculture. It is multi-faceted approach that emphasizes long-term prevention of pests (ie. weeds, insects/mites, diseases) or their damage. Relying on diligent pest monitoring, IPM helps growers decide if and how management is needed. When required, the aim is to use economically viable methods with the least possible ecological risk and hazard to people. Refer to Section D in the SWBC Vineyard Standard including developing and implementing a plan.

Facets of IPM include: proper pest identification, understanding pest biology, and monitoring/assessing pest numbers and damage; setting threshold levels where control is economically beneficial; using management tools including a mix of biological, cultural, mechanical/physical and if needed, chemical control; assessing how well the IPM actions worked; and, preventing future pest problems.

Here are some items to consider:

Nutrient management- Just like humans, vines grow optimally with proper nutrition. Use soil and tissue analysis, along with visual cues (vigour, potential signs of nutrient deficiency or excess), and fruit maturity indices to fine-tune your management practices block by block. Section C in SWBC Vineyard Standard. With a well-planned fertilizer program, you can avoid spending $ on what you don’t need!

Cutworms – Diligent monitoring essential. Calculate % bud damage in the affected area. Identify your thresholds for damage. Tolerance for damage may be higher in heavily shoot and fruit thinned blocks when compared to naturally less fruitful blocks. If a spray is required, try to spot-spray.

Pesticide Usage - When selecting a pesticide, try to limit the use of broad-spectrum products. Select one that is targeted to the specific pest and softer on the wider ecosystem. For resistance management rotate pesticides from different chemical Groups, including biopesticides, AND ensure your sprayers are properly calibrated. Review pesticide labels and Section D of the SWBC Vineyard Standard.

Weed management – Is a completely weed-free, under-vine strip really needed? Dandelions help reduce soil compaction and attract pollinators. Shepherd’s Purse can reduce cutworm damage. If using herbicides, rotate chemical Groups and time an application with the appropriate stage of weed growth. If relying on mechanical weed control, try to cultivate before the weeds of concern set seed. Be watchful however, since excessive weed pressure can reduce vine vigour especially in young plantings.

Irrigation & insects – Excessive irrigation not only increases vine vigour and the potential for mildew and rot. But it also encourages higher populations of certain insect pests. Next time you have a leak somewhere on your dripline, see if leafhopper populations are higher in that area. For Irrigation Optimization, check out Section E of the SWBC Vineyard Standard.

Biocontrol – Have a nasty frost pocket where the cost of production makes zero sense? Why not plant some native wildflowers and shrubs to attract parasitic wasps, predatory thrips and mites, pirate bugs, ladybugs, lacewings and spiders? These beneficials provide natural biocontrol of pests. An insectary is great for pollinators too! Also include some flowering plants into your mid-row cover crops. Biocontrol agents are sometimes released to control insect pests. For example, mealybugs and scales are food to the predaceous mealybug destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), a ladybug species.

Always be open to learning and sharing – Talk to colleagues, fellow growers, crop input suppliers, consultants and researchers. Attend webinars, read industry papers, and when possible, attend workshops/conferences.

Article written for SWBC Newsletter, Nov2020, by Lisa Wambold, SWBC Committee Member & Viticulture Specialist, TerraLink Horticulture Inc. [email protected]