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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Angry Italian Women Replaced by Herbicides

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Le Mondine of the 1950s                                                                      Riso Amaro “Bitter Rice”

In Italian rice fields in the 1950s prior to the development of herbicides, weeding was done by hand. In May, the rice fields had to be weeded to prevent the young rice from being choked by other vegetation. Hundreds of women known as le mondine, or weeders, arrived from all parts of Italy to perform the delicate task of rooting out the weeds while leaving the young rice plants in place. Le mondine have become a nostalgic memory, immortalized by the famous film Riso Amaro or ‘Bitter Rice.’ It was a hard life for le mondine. They had to work bent double, up to their knees in water under a blazing sun. As the women weeded, they sang. One of the songs, Bella Ciao, was adopted by the Italian Communist Party to express the social injustice of the system. In the 1960s, most of the women left the rice fields when jobs opened up in cities, such as Milan, Genoa, and Turin. Today, herbicides are used in Italian rice fields.

“Italy is the largest rice producer in Europe, with about 235,000 ha in 2012. The main rice cultivation area is concentrated in the north-western regions of Piedmont and Lombardy where the continuous paddy rice system is widespread. Weed management is one of the key aspects of rice cultivation because pedo-climatic conditions are favourable to weeds that are generally competitive, there is a rich and persistant seed bank, and the weed flora is often dominated by difficult-to-control species… Consequently, farmers need to apply complex chemical and agronomic strategies to guarantee good weed control. Herbicide use is intense, with an average treatment frequency index higher than 2.5.”

Authors: Scarabel, L, et al.
Affiliations: National Research Council, Italy.
Title: Resistance evolution and sustainability of the rice cropping system: the Italian case study.
Source: Global Herbicide Resistance Challenge: Program and Abstracts. February 18-22, 2013. Pg. 105.

Small Apple Growers in Italy’s Trentino Region Benefit Greatly from Insecticide Use

Trentino Region

Trentino Region

The province of Trento, or Trentino, is a mountainous region and an important producer of apples with annual production of about 450,000 tons accounting for about 20% of Italian production. Apple farming is the main source of income for about 10,000 families in Trentino. In addition, another 6000 families depend on income from the apple sector for packing, transportation and other secondary activities. In 1989, the Public Administration of Trento approved a program for Integrated Production standards. Since 1991, Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) guidelines have covered all aspects of production. The apple crop in Trentino is almost completely managed by IFP standards. In Trentino, codling moth has two generations per year. The most common situation includes an application of an insect growth regulator at the first egg-laying period and two more treatments using insecticides with a different mode of action. In Trentino, uncontrolled codling moth would damage 50-90% of the apples. Apple production in Trentino remains generally quite profitable and provides a major contribution to the economic and social standards of the province. By preventing damage from insects and pathogens, pesticides play an essential role in the economic and social well-being of the region.

“Codling moth (CM), Cydia pomonella L., is a key pest affecting pome fruit worldwide. In the Trento province (northern Italy) control of this pest is achieved by integrated pest management (IPM) programmes, largely relying on insect growth regulators (IGRs) during the first generation and on curative pesticides timed according to the injury threshold level during the second generation. In large apple orchards, mating disruption is preferred and is normally combined with one insecticide application during post-flowering to control lepidopteran larvae in general, including leafrollers. Because of their efficacy against both overwintering leafroller larvae and CM eggs, IGRs are widely used.”

Authors: Ioriatti, C., et al.
Affiliation: IASMA Research Center, Italy.
Title: Early detection of resistance to tebufenozide in field populations of Cydia pomonella L.: methods and mechanisms.
Source: Journal of Applied Entomology. 2007. 131[7]:453-459.

Rice Insect Pest Invades the World from the USA

Rice Water Weevil Larva

Rice Water Weevil Larva

The home of the rice water weevil is the southeastern US where the species feeds on
grasses in swampy areas. When rice plants were introduced into America, the
insect quickly found this new grass plant to its liking and has been feeding on
rice ever since. The weevils move into rice fields every year from nearby woods
and clumps of grass. Farmers have used insecticides since 1950 to control the
weevil populations in rice fields. The rice water weevil has spread from the
southeastern US to Louisiana, Texas, California, Japan, China and Italy where
it would decrease rice production without insecticide sprays.

“The rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus, is the most destructive insect pest of rice in the United States. The insect is native to the southeastern United States but has, over the past 60 years, invaded important rice-growing areas in California, Asia and Europe and thus poses a global threat to rice production.

Small-plot research and sampling of commercial fields indicate yield losses from the rice water weevil would likely exceed 10% in many areas if no insecticides are used.”

Authors: Stout, M. J., et al.
Affiliations: Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University.
Title: The influence of rice plant age on susceptibility to the rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus.
Source: Journal of Applied Entomology. 2013. 137:241-248.

Southern California Vineyards Recover Thanks to Insecticide Applications

Grapevines Destroyed in 1999

Grapevines Destroyed in 1999

Temecula Today

Temecula Today

In 1999, about one-third of the vineyards in Temecula Valley, Riverside County, California were destroyed due to Pierce’s Disease which is caused by a bacteria transmitted to grapevines by an insect-the glassy winged sharpshooter. The disease seemed destined to spread throughout Southern California. However, research demonstrated that a carefully-timed insecticide application would prevent the sharpshooter from transmitting the disease to grapevines. As a result of this insecticide use, the wine grape industry in Southern California has recovered and is prospering.

“Twelve years ago a Pierce’s disease epidemic in Southern California wine grapes prompted a multi-pronged local, state and federal attack to contain the disease spread and find a cure or treatment.

Riverside County agriculture officials declared a local emergency in 1999 and 300 acres of Temecula wine grape vines were destroyed after they were found to be infested with the glassy winged sharpshooter.

Emergencies were declared, a task force was formed, and in 2000 $22.3 million in federal financial assistance was secured to reduce pest infestations and support research.

Research found that the Southern California epidemics were almost entirely the result of vine-to-vine transmission…. A protocol of applying one carefully timed application of a persistent systemic insecticide such as imidacloprid virtually eliminates the vine-to-vine spread.

Ben Drake is a Temecula-area wine grape grower and vineyard manager who began seeing problems from PD in the Temecula Valley as early as 1997.

We’ve found that if we apply (imidacloprid) at the middle to the end of May, before the sharpshooter moves out of the citrus and goes into the vineyards, we get levels of the material into the plant high enough that when the sharpshooter flies over from the citrus groves to try it, they just fly back where they came from. Or, if they feed long enough, it will kill them.

But just look at the Temecula Valley now to understand what’s changed: From 12 wineries in 1999, the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association website today lists more than 50 growers and 34 wineries…. A thriving agritourism industry has developed…. Existing wineries are expanding and new ones are under construction or in planning phases.”

Author: Christine Thompson
Affiliation: Reporter
Title: Grape growers urged to remain vigilant against sharpshooter pest
Source: Western Farm Press. 2011-12-12. Available at: http://westernfarmpress.com/grapes/grape-growers-urged-remain-vigilant-against-sharpshooter-pest

Insect Saliva Lowers the Quality of Italian Bread Wheat

Damaged Grain

Damaged Grain


Sunn Pest

Sunn Pest

Italian bread dough is famous for its high quality. Several insect species feed on the wheat plants in the field and when they do, they leave a little saliva behind, which would lower the quality of the bread if insecticides aren’t used.

“Several species known as sunn pests or cereal bugs, have long been recognized as detrimental to wheat bread-making quality in south central Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. … In Italy, severe infestations of sunn pests have been reported in southern regions and also, although seldom, in the Po Valley.”

“For a long time, it has been recognized that damaged grains can show a discolored area around the point of stylet penetration and that flour derived from damaged kernels produces sticky dough and poor bread. The detrimental effect on baking quality is obvious even in presence of 3-5% damaged kernels and dramatically increases for values higher than 10%. The quality depletion is due to proteolytic enzymes injected in the kernels by insects via their saliva that persist in the flour after milling and cause breakdown of gluten structure in the dough.”

“Presently, no sources of resistance to E. Maura in Italian germplasm are known; thus the only way of reducing the damage is chemical pest control in the field.”

Authors: P. Vaccino1, M. Corbellini1, G. Reffo1, G. Zoccatelli2
, M. Migliardi3 and L. Tavella3
Affiliation: 1Instituto Sperimentale per la Cerealicoltura, Angelo Lodigiano, Italy; 2Dipartmento Scientifico e Tecnologico, University of Verona, Italy; 3University of Torino, Grugliasco, Italy.
Title: Impact of Eurygaster maura (Heteroptera: Scutelleridae) feeding on quality of bread wheat in relation to attack period.
Publication: Journal of Economic Entomology. 2006. 99(3):757-763.

Leafhoppers Transmit Deadly Grapevine Disease in Italy

The grapevine disease Flavescence dorée has been called “catastrophic.” Impacts include yield reductions, and reduced wine quality. The disease spreads rapidly and can affect 80-100% of the vines in a few years. The disease is spread by leafhoppers who acquire the organism while feeding on infected plants and then spread the disease when they feed on healthy plants. Spraying to control the leafhopper is mandatory in regions where the disease is known to exist.

“The leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) is a serious pest of grapevines in Europe as it transmits the phytoplasmas of Flavenscence dorée (FD). … the eggs start to hatch in the middle of May, and nymphs can be found until the middle of July… The adults are present from the end of June until the middle of October.”

“Nymphs from the third instar onward acquire phytoplasmas by piercing the leaves and stems of infected grapevines. After a latency period of 4-5 weeks, during which time they become adults, they can transmit FD phytoplasmas to healthy grapevines. In Italy, insecticide treatment against S. titanus are mandatory in the districts where FD is present. The active ingredients include neonicotinoids and organophosphates; in vineyards subject to organic farming S. titanus is controlled with pyrethrum.”

Authors: F. Lessio, E.B. Mondino and A. Alma
Affiliations: University of Turin, Grugliasco, Italy
Title: Spatial patters of Scaphoideus titanus (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae): a geospatial and neural network approach.
Publication: International Journal of Pest Management. 2011. 57(3):205-216.

Italian Farmers Produce 700 Million Tons of Pears Thanks to Fungicides

Italian farmers annually produce 700 million tons of pears, which require protection with fungicides from a disease known as brown spot. The fungus overwinters in leaf litter on the orchard floor and spores are released in the spring under wet conditions. Spots appear on the fruit and internal rots occur as the result of fungal invasion. Severe outbreaks can result in defoliation of the pear tree and fruit dropping off the tree.

Stemphylium vesicarium is the causal agent of brown spot, the main fungal disease of pear in Italy since the late 1970s. … Many pear orchards in Po valley, the main pear growing area in Italy, are affected by this fungal disease that may cause heavy loss of production, up to 100%. … Besides some cultural practices, scheduled preventative applications of dithiocarbamates, dicarboximides, strobilurins and tebuconazole (DMI) from petal fall to fruit ripening are the only way to control the disease.”

Authors: G. Alberoni, M. Collina, D. Pancaldi and A. Brunelli
Affiliation: University of Bologna
Title: Resistance to dicarboximide fungicides in Stemphylium vesicarium of Italian pear orchards.
Publication: European Journal of Plant Pathology. 2005. 113:211-219.

Italian Farmers Realize Profits from Herbicide Applications

In Italy, herbicides to kill weeds in crop fields have been routinely used on almost all the acres for the past 30 years. Is the cost of the herbicide application justified considering the levels of weed infestation? Italian researchers examined the record…

“The frequency distribution of yield loss due to weeds in winter wheat, sugar beet, maize and soybean has been studied using the available data of weed control trials undertaken in north-central Italy in the last 30 years. The breakeven yield loss and the probability of obtaining a positive net return from chemical weed control were calculated, considering different treatment options and different weed-free yields.”

“In winter wheat the probability of a positive net return from chemical weed control is high, between 80.5 and 97.3%. … As far as other crops analysed are concerned, the probability of a chemical treatment being profitable is >80% in maize and soybeans and >95% in sugar beets.”

“The profitability of chemical weed control depends on the density, composition and time of emergence of the weed flora, on the competitiveness of the crop and on the chemical used. In most cases, however, it is profitable to spray; in other words in the Po Valley there is a high degree of probability that the weed density is sufficient to bring about a yield loss greater than the treatment cost.”

Authors: G. Zanin¹, A. Berti² and M. Giannini³
Affiliation: ¹ Instituto di Agronomia Generale e Coltivazioni Erbacee, Padova, Italy; ² Centro per lo Studio dei Diserbanti del CNR, Padova, Italy; ³ ESAV, Venice, Italy
Title: Economics of herbicide use on arable crops in north-central Italy.
Publication: Crop Protection. 1992. 11:174-180.