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Apple Pest Research Equipping Growers for Quality Harvest
New York Ag Connection - 09/07/2017

Technical assistance and outreach funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is informing commercial apple growers in the northeastern region of New York State to effectively manage key orchard pests.

Cornell Cooperative Extension educators with the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program received funding to help apple growers identify apple pests and learn their life cycles.

The educators also provided assistance with pest scouting and trapping and education on integrated pest management (IPM) that uses computerized modeling to guide orchard treatments when pest pressure reaches economic damage thresholds.

When pest counts are low, growers save time, labor and money by eliminating orchard treatments.

Applying IPM practices also pays off at harvest. The apples grown under the IPM practices in Northern New York orchards in 2016 were harvested at 96.6 percent Extra Fancy grade quality.

The Identification and Grower Education of Key Pests in NNY Apple Orchards project report posted at www.nnyagdev.org indicates that apple growers are making good use of IPM practices to specifically target such orchard pests as apple maggot and codling moth.

"The application of IPM in small orchard blocks in 2015 was so successful that growers applied the practices to entire orchard blocks in 2016, and they are continuing to do so in 2017," said Michael Basedow, a tree fruit specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program.

Pest activity varies from orchard to orchard and year to year. Compared to other areas of the state, the cooler climate of Northern New York generally delays pest emergence by 7 to 14 days making real-time monitoring a critical activity for apple growers.

"Diligence in scouting and trapping helps growers quickly identify and respond to specific pests in their orchards," Basedow explained.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provided funding to continue educational outreach and technical assistance for regional apple growers in 2017.

The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides research and technical assistance to the six northernmost counties of New York State: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

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