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Area-Wide Management of Potato Pests (AMPP) in the Pacific Northwest

Investigators
Snyder, William
Institutions
Washington University
Start date
2009
End date
2013
Objective
This project investigates reduced-insecticide management programs for insect vectors of plant pathogens, and other arthropod pests, of potato through the development of an Area-wide Management of Potato Pests (AMPP) program for the Inland Pacific Northwest (ID, OR and WA).

The long-term goals of the project are to 1) give growers tools to accurately assess insect/disease risk, and to respond appropriately with targeted, economically efficient management plans, 2) develop the means to effectively include biological control in the management of each key pest, and 3) overcome sociological and economic barriers to the adoption of reduced-risk pest management.

All of our work is under the direction of an advisory panel of potato growers, field scouts, and processors, and addresses key challenges identified in the regional pest management plan.

More information
Non-Technical Summary: We propose a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing aphid and leafhopper vectors of plant pathogens, and other insect pests, in inland Idaho, Oregon, and Washington potato crops. Potato is the #1 dollar-value vegetable crop in the region, contributing over $9 billion annually to the US economy. For decades growers have used frequent, prophylactic sprays of broad-spectrum insecticides to meet the very low damage thresholds mandated by potato processors. However, processors are now requiring growers to document their use of integrated pest management (IPM) schemes, and to justify each pesticide application. Unfortunately, we lack knowledge of the true disease-transmission risk posed by insect vectors and have yet to identify effective, targeted control options. This threatens the economic sustainability of regional potato production. We will fill these knowledge-gaps with three integrated research and extension components. The First Component develops a multi-state sampling network for aphids and leafhoppers and their associated plant pathogens, and effective reduced-spray management plans for these pests (and for the secondary pests likely to become more prevalent as spray frequency decreases). The Second Component develops a detailed understanding of the impacts of predators and pathogens on key pest species, so that biological control agents can be included in IPM decision making. This will be accomplished in part through the use of novel molecular gut-content analyses of key predator species. The Third Component develops an improved sociological understanding of how growers reach spray decisions, and creates the means for growers to analyze the economic effectiveness of new risk mitigation strategies given the uncertainty of vector and plant pathogen outbreaks. The principal investigators include entomologists, virologists, extension educators, economists and sociologists from the three regional land-grant universities and the USDA-ARS. Results and IPM recommendations will be disseminated through an innovative extension program that emphasizes hands-on learning and in-field demonstration, in addition to innovative web, instruction, and publication outlets. The project directly addresses RAMP program goals to enhance the development and implementation of innovative, ecologically based sustainable IPM strategies and system(s) for a high value, major acreage food production system, at an area-wide scale.

Approach: Our project helps growers transition to reduced-insecticide management of disease vectors and other pest insects in irrigated potato crops in the inland Pacific Northwest (WA, OR and ID), while improving environmental health and maintaining high profitability, through the development of an Area-wide Management of Potato Pests (AMPP) program. Our First Objective is to develop a tri-state sampling network for aphids and leafhoppers and their associated plant pathogens, and to develop effective reduced-spray management plans for these and other, secondary pests. Unnecessary insecticide sprays could be avoided if growers were able to scale the intensity of their insecticide use to reflect true risk of disease transmission, while more effective targeted spray plans might pair tighter vector control with greater conservation of natural enemies. Our Second Objective is to develop detailed information on the feeding relationships of predators and insect-attacking pathogens common in potato fields, so that biological control can be considered in pest management decisions. Novel molecular gut-content analyses will allow us to identify, for the first time, which enemy species are attacking which pests under open-field conditions. Our Third Objective is to develop an improved sociological understanding of how growers reach spray decisions, and to analyze the economic effectiveness of new risk mitigation strategies given the uncertainty of vector and plant pathogen outbreaks. In this way we will ensure that growers can readily make a cost-benefit analysis when considering our low-input control tactics, and that our outreach programs are designed to effectively reach pest management decision makers.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
WNP05417
Accession number
219493
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Commodities
Produce