Opium Poppies Need Pesticide Applications

Opium

Opium Poppies

The opium poppy is cultivated in different parts of the world such as Tasmania, India, Pakistan, Slovakia, France, Spain, Yugoslavia and Italy.  The fruits of the poppy are rounded capsules. The liquid (milky latex) obtained after lancing the capsules contains opiates which are dried to produce raw opium, used for processing medicinal drugs such as codeine and morphine. The commercial production of opium poppies is adversely affected by uncontrolled weeds, insects and disease organisms. Commercial growers rely on pesticide applications as described in a recent article about poppy growing in Slovakia.

“The cropping system of poppy has seen important changes in recent years. In the past, growing this crop required a great deal of manual labor connected with singling, hoeing and particularly capsule collecting. At present, all operations of the large scale cropping system, from sowing to harvest, are fully mechanized. Registered pesticides are used to control weeds, diseases and pests.

Pre-emergent herbicides Callisto 480 SC (mesotrione), or Lentipur 500 FW + Command 36 CS (chlortoluron + clomazone) are applied within 3 days after sowing. Due to slow initial growth, the post-emergent application of herbicide in growth phase of 4-6 true leaves is usually necessary.

Protection against poppy root weevil is realized through seed treatment with Cruiser OSR preparation. …A dangerous pest of poppy is poppy weevil, against which the protection is aimed at the time of “hook stage”. Among the registered insecticides, Mospilan 20 SP (acetamiprid) and Nurelle D (chlorpyrifos + cypermethrin) are used.

Poppy downy mildew and poppy fire are considered to be the most dangerous diseases of poppy, in conditions of the Slovak Republic. Occurrence of downy mildew during the leaf rosette period is suppressed by seed treatment. …In the phase of stem elongation, application of Acrobat MZ WG (dimethomorph +mancozeb) is possible. In the “hook stage”, Discus (kresoxym-methyl) or Bumper Super (prochloraz + propiconazole) are used to suppress poppy fire on both leaves and capsules.”

Names: Fejer, J., and I. Salamon.
Affiliation: Presov University in Presov.
Title: Agro-Technology of the Poppy: Large-Scale Cultivation in Slovakia.
Source: Acta Hort. 2014. 1036:181-186.

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High Taxes in the E.U. Will Not Reduce Pesticide Use: Pesticides are Essential

windmills

Dutch Farm

Pesticide use is very high in the E.U. and policies to reduce use have been adopted. Under consideration are taxes on pesticides. Some people believe that pesticides are not essential and that alternatives are available and, as a result, believe that taxes would cause farmers to reduce their use of pesticides. However, recent research in the Netherlands shows that, due to their essential importance, pesticide use is unlikely to go down even with very high taxes. The main effect of high taxes on pesticides would be to reduce farmer income.

“Pesticides are integral components of modern crop production systems. Recently, attention is focused on the use of economic incentives to reduce pesticide use and its related indirect effects. The European Union’s (EU) pesticide policy envisages the use of pesticide tax and levy schemes.

The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of different fiscal measures in reducing pesticide use and environmental spillovers by using detailed farm-level data from Dutch arable crop production.

Increasing the tax rate (for both high- and low-toxicity products) to 80% and 120%, total pesticide use is decreased by almost 3% and 4%, respectively. These scenarios show that even high taxes are not able to achieve significant reductions in pesticide use. Moreover, high taxes decrease farm revenues as the 4% pesticide decrease is accompanied by a 22% decrease in farm revenue. Producers’ rigidity in reducing pesticide use, thus avoiding the tax burden, may be attributed to the damage preventing role of pesticides and their capacity to reduce output variability.

The dilemma inherent in pesticide taxation is that the use of pesticides may be so essential for some crops or regions that tax rates would have to be very high to impact pesticide use. This could result in a major reduction in farm income as depicted through the pesticide tax scenarios presented in this work… Results show that even high (and politically challenging) tax rates would result in a small reduction in the use of pesticides due to the rigidity of Dutch farmers in reducing pesticide use.”

Authors: Skevas, T., et al.
Affiliation: Wageningen University
Title: Can economic incentives encourage actual reductions in pesticide use and environmental spillovers?
Source: Agricultural Economics. 2012. 43:267-276.

Achieving Happiness Is The Primary Motivation for Pesticide Use for African Farmers

African Farmer

African farmer after herbicide spray 

Pesticides are used by farmers to achieve high yields of marketable crops that results in increased income. A team of Swedish researchers set out to understand African farmers’ motivation for using pesticides. What they found was that pesticide use led to higher incomes, less family stress and increased happiness.

“The study focuses on kale farmers in peri-urban of Nairobi. Kale is one of the most widely consumed vegetables in urban areas of Kenya and has high nutritional value while at the same time acting as an important source of income to peri-urban farming households. Kale is a fast growing crop that is susceptible to many pests and diseases thus requires use of pesticides.

The illustration shows that leafy vegetables farmers use pesticides to protect kale from pests and diseases. The motivation for applying pesticides therefore was to ensure that kale was good-looking or had high sensory quality attributes. This in turn attracted more buyers and also met buyers’ demands for aesthetic quality, usually sought-after by consumers. In addition, the use of pesticides protected kale from pests and diseases which increased the quantity of marketable kale thus generating more money or higher profit margins to growers. The consequence associated with making more money from kale production was the ability to meet family or personal needs. These needs include children’s education, and the provision of food, clothing and shelter for the family. …In other words, farmers apply pesticides to protect kale from pests and diseases in order to avoid failure to meet family needs which can fuel disputes and degenerate into health problems. …This finding suggests that kale farmers’ most important motivation for using pesticides in kale production is to live a happy life, free from stress-related diseases.”

Authors: Lagerkvist, C. J., et al.
Affiliation: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
Title: Means-End Chain approach to understanding farmers’ motivations for pesticide use in leafy vegetables: The case of kale in peri-urban Nairobi, Kenya.
Source: Crop Protection. 2012. 39:72-80.

Too Great a Risk: Organic Rapeseed Growing in the EU

Rapeseed Field

Rapeseed Field

Humans have used oil pressed from the seeds of plants known as rape for thousands of years. The name rape originated from the Latin word “rapum” which means turnip. Oilseed rape has enjoyed unprecedented popularity in the EU since the 1970s due to support from the Common Agricultural Policy. European production of rapeseed plays an important role in increasing EU self sufficiency in cooking oil. Oilseed rape is harvested from about 3 million hectares in the EU. The crop is attacked by a large number of insects and insecticide use is common. There is little organic rapeseed production in the EU because the insects cannot be effectively controlled.

“The demand for organic winter oilseed rape is steadily increasing. Yet in Germany, for example, oil seed rape cultivation is negligible with a maximum cropping area of 4,000 ha. One important reason for this is the occurrence of insect pests, including the cabbage stem flea beetle, the rape stem weevil, the cabbage stem weevil, the pollen beetle, the cabbage seedpod weevil, and the brassica pod midge. Pest-related yield losses – up to total loss of the crop – make the cultivation of organic winter oilseed rape an incalculable risk.”

Authors: Ludwig, T. and S. Kuhne.
Affiliation: Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants.
Title: Mixed cropping with turnip rape and natural insecticides: results of field and laboratory trials on pest control in organic winter oilseed rape.
Source: Integrated Control in Oilseed Crops IOBC-WPRS Bulletin. 2013. 96:43-44.

Vietnamese Farmers Rely on Pesticides and are Very Satisfied

Long Sprouts

Yard-Long Beans

In Vietnam, rapid growth in the use of pesticides started with economic liberalization in the mid-1980s when the private sector was allowed to import and distribute pesticides and when farmers were given rights for pesticide use over their agricultural land, allowing them to make independent farm management decisions. From 1991 to 2007, the volume of agricultural pesticides as formulated products (i.e. active ingredients as well as inert ingredients such as solvents, emulsifiers and adjuvants) increased from 20,000 to 77,000 tons.

“This study uses the case of yard-long bean; it is one of the most important vegetable legumes in Southeast Asia, and consumed as a green vegetable, eaten raw or cooked in a variety of dishes. Using farm-level survey data for 240 farm households growing yard-long bean in Thailand and Vietnam, this study shows that the farmers’ main problem is the legume pod borer. Farmers rely exclusively on the use of synthetic pesticides to manage this pest, and no other control methods are generally applied. Small cultivated areas for growing yard-long bean (particularly in Vietnam), a high level of satisfaction with the use of pesticides and a lack of market demand for pesticide-free produce are formidable challenges to the introduction of integrated pest management (IPM).

Farmers in Vietnam felt that the available insecticides provided an effective means of control, and 95% of the respondents perceived that harvest losses due to pod borers were below 10%…. Therefore, it is possible that the pod borers could cause about one-third of marketable yield losses in the unprotected crop.

For an IPM strategy to succeed, it will be important that these methods do not increase on-farm costs and preferably increase profits. These monetary incentives are essential because farmers do not see their use of synthetic pesticides as a problem that needs to be solved… A further challenge lies in the fact that most growers appear to be very satisfied with the synthetic pesticides that they currently use.

Most growers are satisfied with the level of control offered by synthetic pesticides, and feel that their use improves the marketability of their crop and the price they receive.”

Authors: Schreinemachers, P., et al.
Affiliation: AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, Taiwan.
Title: Safe and sustainable management of legume pests and diseases in Thailand and Vietnam: a situational analysis.
Source: International Journal of Tropical Insect Science. 2014. 34[2]:88-97.

University of California Research Saves the Date Industry

Mite damage

Mite Damage on Dates

California ranks first in the nation in date production accounting for nearly 100% of all dates produced nationally. Banks grass mite has been a persistent pest of California dates since the early 1900s. Banks grass mite causes direct damage on immature green fruit by puncturing cells and sucking the juices from the surface of the fruit. The skin of infested fruit becomes hard and then cracks and shrivels. A heavy deposit of fine webbing is spun over much of the feeding area. The mites work extensively beneath the webbing. The mite population can double every 35 hours. Banks grass mite traditionally has been controlled by applications of sulfur. Frequent use of sulfur to control mites was effective until the late 1980s. Beginning then growers reported that sulfur was no longer effective and a replacement needed to be found.

“Riverside County is the number one producer of dates in California as well as the nation but successful, economical production is limited by Banks grass mite (BGM), the leading pest of dates in the state…. Dr. Peggy Mauk, UCCE Riverside County, was asked by area growers to find an alternative pesticide for controlling BGM. In one year of testing products she came up with an alternative pesticide, Savey…. After one season of testing, Dr. Mauk was able to get EPA to approve an emergency registration for Savey in California for the following season.

The miticide, sprayed with water once early in the season, gives season-long control. In the first year of its introduction, nearly 50% of the growers used it. Three years later over 90% of growers had traded in their dusting machines for sprayers so that they could use Savey…. Savey not only gives season-long control but is easy on the natural enemies (good bugs) and overall crop quality is ideal.

Albert Keck, Chairman, California Date Commission: “The California date industry has benefited greatly from the attention provided to it by the UCCE. Through the recent efforts of Dr. Peggy Mauk, the industry has successfully combated a devastating mite infestation, which if left unresolved would certainly have led to the demise of the industry.””

Title: Mite devastating date crop is foiled.
Source: University of California Delivers. Available online: http://ucanr.edu/delivers/?impact=145&delivers=1

High Quality Scotch Whisky Depends on Fungicide Use

Whiskey

Scotch Whisky

Scotch malt whisky is made from two key ingredients: barley and water. To be Scotch Whisky, the spirit must mature in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years. Barley is affected by a range of diseases that can cause considerable damage and loss of yield and quality. More than 90% of Scotland’s barley acres are treated with fungicides. Policymakers in the EU have developed new rules regarding the use of pesticides which is reducing the number of active ingredients available for farmers to use. Reduced availability of fungicides for Scottish barley farmers threatens the Scotch Whisky industry.

“Recent research on the prospects of the Scottish malting barley sector as perceived by a variety of actors in the supply chain, including plant breeders, growers, merchants, maltsters and distillers, has shown that pesticide legislation and environmental concerns are expected to negatively influence the competitiveness of the malting barley sector in Scotland, particularly in the mid-term future (2020/2025).

It is not inconceivable that tighter regulation regarding pesticide approval and use may also result in greater demand from the whisky industry for imported malting barley of high quality in order to meet the industry’s demand for malting barley, especially during shortfalls in the supply of Scottish barley. Concerns about the possibility of an increasing reliance on imported barley have been raised by Scottish politicians and in the media, carrying a notion of pride associated with the idea that Scotch malt whisky should be ‘100% Scottish’.

If some or all pesticides were banned from use, farmers in Scotland would struggle to produce the same amount and quality of barley. Therefore, more barley would have to be imported.”

Authors: Glenk, K., et al.
Affiliation: Scottish Agricultural College
Title: Preferences of Scotch malt whisky consumers for changes in pesticide use and origin of barley.
Source: Food Policy. 2012. 37:719-731.

An Invasive Fly from Asia Means African Mango Farmers Must Spray to Protect Their Crop

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Ruined Mangoes

In 2003, a new invasive fruit fly from Asia was detected in Africa. The pest has spread across a north-south distance of over 5000 km in West Central Africa. The female fly implants its eggs in young mango. The larvae or maggots develop in the flesh of fruit by digging tunnels (which provide opportunities for secondary infections when the larvae emerge from the fruit).

Bactrocera invadens… is a recently described fruit fly species from Asia that is of major quarantine concern in Africa and elsewhere.

On mango, direct damage owing to B. invadens has been reported to range from 30 to 80% of the crop depending on the cultivar, locality, and season. In addition to direct losses, indirect losses attributed to quarantine restrictions on the pest have been enormous.

The European Union (EU) phytosanitary regulations in relation to non-European Tephritidae are tightening and interception and rejection of African mangoes in the EU, owing to fruit flies, have been on the increase since the arrival of B. invadens. These direct and indirect costs have wide reaching socioeconomic implications for millions of people in rural and urban communities involved in the mango value chain across Africa.

In this study, we evaluated the relative efficacy of six commercially available food-based attractants in trapping male and female B. invadens in mango. Furthermore, we evaluated the efficacy of the most attractive bait, sprayed in conjunction with spinosad for field suppression of B. invadens in mango orchards in Kenya during two fruiting seasons.

At harvest, the proportion of fruit infested was significantly lower in the treated orchards (8%) compared with the control orchards (59%). Estimated mango yield was significantly higher in orchards receiving the bait sprays (12,487 kg/ha) compared with control orchards (3,606 kg/ha). Based on bait spray costs, yield data, and monetary gains, a cost-benefit ratio of 1:9.1 was realized, which is acceptable for growers.”

Authors: Ekesi, S., et al.
Affiliation: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya.
Title: Comparison of Food-Based Attractants for Bactrocera invadens (Diptera: Tephritidae) and Evaluation of Mazoferm-Spinosad Bait Spray for Field Suppression in Mango.
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology. 2014. 107[1]:299-309.

Here Comes the Sunn…………..Pest

Sunn Pest

Normal Grain (L) versus Sunn Pest Damage to Grain (R)

The sunn pest are a group of insects representing several genera of the shield bug and stink bug families. The sunn pest lives for one year and produces a single generation per year. About three months are spent feeding in wheat fields. The rest of the year is spent resting and in hibernation on hillsides which are usually about 10-20 km from the wheat fields. In spring, the surviving adults migrate down to the wheat fields in one non-stop flight and, after feeding, mate and lay eggs. The adults of the next generation appear and feed intensively in order to accumulate fat reserves for the hibernation period. They return to the higher elevations following wheat harvest.

Sunn pest feeding on wheat results in yield loss as most of the kernel contents can be sucked out by the insect, resulting in smaller, lighter, and shriveled kernels. In addition, the sunn pest injects digestive enzymes to liquefy the wheat tissues into a nutrient-rich slurry.

In some countries, foliar applications of insecticides to control sunn pest are made by air by governments, while in others, ground sprays, partially supported by the government, are made by farmers. A single spray will often suffice to control populations effectively.

“One of the most significant limiting factors in the production of wheat and barley in many areas of the world is the Sunn pest, Eurygaster integriceps, which causes severe damage to cereal yield. This insect has been observed in >15 million ha of wheat and barley farms, which extend from northern Africa, throughout the Middle East and western Asia, to central Asia and some parts of Russia. The Sunn pest feeds preferentially on wheat. Thus, its damage to wheat is considerably greater than that to barley (i.E., it often causes losses of 20-30% in barley and 50-90% in wheat).

In recent years, considerable efforts have been made to biologically control this pest. However, pesticide application is the main method of Sunn pest control in areas where infestation is high.”

Author: Rahimi, V. and A. R. Bandani.
Affiliation: University of Tehran, Iran.
Title: Comparison of the effects of cereal and legume proteinaceous seed extracts on a-amylase activity and development of the Sunn pest.
Source: Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. 2014. 17:7-11.

No Pesticides = No Hops = No Beer

PICTURE

Hop Cones: Healthy (Left); Aphid damage (Mold)(Right)

Hops are a specialty crop used for bittering and flavoring beer. All beer may contain two types of hops. Bittering hops are used to make beer more bitter. Aroma hops are used for flavoring. …Mature hop cones contain numerous lupulin glands, which contain the important brewing constituents of alpha-acids, beta-acids and essential oils.

The hop aphid is native to Europe. the hop aphid first appeared in the U.S. in 1863 and ruined the crop in many eastern states with reported yield losses of 90%.

Aphids feed directly on hop plants, extracting cell sap and nutrients with their sucking mouthparts. high aphid populations reduce yields and seriously weaken plants. Hop aphids excrete prolific amounts of honeydew. Honeydew is plant cell sap, composed of sugars passed through the aphid’s digestive system. Sooty mold grows on the honeydew and can destroy a crop’s value, as mold renders hop cones unacceptable for brewing.

“Damson-hop aphid (Phorodon humuli Schrank) is a serious problem in all hop-growing districts of the Northern Hemisphere. If uncontrolled it is capable of completely destroying the crop. In the past aphids severely influenced hop and both its quality and quantity depended on the activity of their natural enemies. …Together, such natural enemies can provide satisfactory control of aphid populations, provided that the environmental conditions are more favorable for the natural enemies than to aphids.

On the other hand it is necessary to realize that hops free from damage caused by pests and diseases in commercial hop gardens will be hardly possible to produce without efficient insecticides, miticides and fungicides.”

Author: Vostrel, J.
Affiliation: Hop Research Institute, Czech Republic.
Title: Negative Effect of Fungicides Used in Practical Hop Production Against Downy Mildew (Pseudoperonospora humuli) on Aphidophagous Coccinellids Propylea quatuordecimpunctata L.
Source: Acta Hort. 2013. 1010:109-112.