University of Massachusetts Amherst
Apples are the iconic locally grown fruit in New England and New York (NE/NY). In 2014, there were 50,830 acres of apple (10,830 NE; 40,000 NY) producing a crop valued at $311 million ($71 NE; $240 NY), though the value of direct sales is probably significantly underestimated. This represents approximately 16% of apple acreage and 10% of apple value in the US. Apple growers in NE/NY adopted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) early and broadly.
Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.)
H.J. Larsen, Bugwood.org
Growers want timely and accurate pest management information to better inform their IPM decision-making. While UMass, Cornell and UMaine have established expertise developing and deploying web-based DSS’s for apple IPM, to this point these systems have largely focused on weather and model-related treatment rules. Actual pest and disease monitoring information coordinated across the region is lacking. Adding first observation and other monitoring information, particularly for insects, to existing DSS’s would help growers make better decisions, potentially decreasing pesticide use and improving fruit quality.
The region faces significant pest management challenges with both invasive pests such as BMSB, as well as long-established insect and disease problems. Fungicide use has been slowly increasing, the result of fungicide resistance. At the same time, consumer concerns and regulations are leading to phasing out widely used insecticides (e.g. organophosphates, neonicotinoids) and the fruit thinning chemical carbaryl. Climate change has made weather more variable, and made dated, empirically based pest management models less reliable. Apple growers in NE/NY are faced with increasingly difficult IPM decisions, and with narrowing profit margins are increasingly averse to the risk of any pest damage.
Conotrachelus nenuphar) (Herbst, 1797)
E. Levine, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org