Knowledge varies widely among growers
Fact sheets are being prepared on each pest identified in a Fraser Valley assessment.
By Judie Steeves A
n assessment of Fraser Valley agricultural pests has revealed that there’s a big gap in the amount of knowledge among growers about priority pests such as Spotted Wing Drosophila and about how to deal with them.
Jen Scholefield of E.S. Cropconsult, conducted the assessment of gaps and priorities in pest management for the provincial agriculture ministry’s Climate Action Initiative project, undertaken by the Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association. Scholefield admits she was surprised at the diversity of grower knowledge and the disconnectedness of some growers, so efforts are being made to help transfer information about priority pests to those growers. Another problem is the emergency registration of products for SWD, so plans are under way to encourage better communication from researchers to growers.
To adapt, an assessment of current pests was done during the first phase of the project, completed in 2016. In 2017, this information was reviewed to see which had the potential for
Just a few of the pests faced by berry growers in the Fraser Valley. Clockwise from top left, Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) on a raspberry, Cranberry Tipworm, Lygus or Tarnished Plant Bug, and Himalayan Blackberry, a weed host for SWD.
research across commodity groups, and a list of emerging pests was compiled. In berries, except for cranberries, the SWD was identified as top of the list of pest concerns.
In cranberries, there’s the cranberry tipworm, cranberry girdler, fruit rot, cranberry fruitworm and some weeds which are a big concern in all commodity groups, related Scholefield, who has a Masters in Pest Management from SFU, and works primarily with blueberries.
In blueberries, there are weevils, root rot and mummyberry that are of particular concern, on top of SWD and weeds such as the Himalayan Blackberry, which is a host for SWD. Raspberry growers have to deal with the fruitworm beetle, nematodes and
spider mites, in addition to SWD. Strawberry growers face powdery mildew, the lygus bug and nematodes as well as weeds.
Scholefield noted there is also a list of emerging pests which are of concern, topped by the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, which now has a toehold in B.C. and in the Fraser Valley.
There’s also concern about the arrival in B.C. of another list of pests, including that the European grapevine moth could become a problem in blueberries; downy mildew; new nematodes; thrips, in which pesticide resistancy is an issue; the blueberry maggot; and new alien invasive weeds. As well, in cranberries, the fall webworm is a concern, along with spotted fireworm.
Scholefield is hopeful the research community can make some progress on some the pests of concern to growers—both existing pests and those on the horizon.
Fact sheets are being prepared on each of the pests identified in the assessment, which is based on interviews and surveys of growers, researchers and consultants. The Fraser Valley Pest Assessment is available online at: bcagclimateaction.ca
With changes in the climate there are concerns the range and prevalence of pests and pathogens will also shift, and that new insects, diseases, weeds and invasive species will become established here.
8 British Columbia Berry Grower • Spring 2018
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