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.

Advertisements

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.

Without Herbicides, Cranberry Beds Would Be Overwhelmed by Weeds and Growers Would Go Out of Business

Treated vs Untreated

Herbicide Treated (L) vs Untreated (R)

71 - graph

The leaves of the cranberry plant form a dense mat over the surface. There are no paths through a cranberry bog. Weeds are particularly troublesome in cranberry bogs, since mechanical equipment (such as cultivators) cannot be used. The first synthetic chemical herbicide to receive widespread use in cranberries was registered in 1965 followed by two more in the 1970s. The use of these three herbicides is credited as the most important factor in the doubling of cranberry yields from 1960-1978. The introduction of glyphosate is credited with a steep increase in cranberry yields in the early 1980s.

“Without chemical pesticides fruit quality would be drastically reduced and it would be virtually impossible to economically produce a cranberry crop.

Without some selected herbicides or any herbicide, up to half of the growers would eventually go out of business because it would no longer be profitable to farm when their beds become overwhelmed by weeds in 5 to 10 years.

Without insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides, fruit quality would be drastically reduced. It would be virtually impossible to economically produce a cranberry crop. Ultimately, many growers would go out of business.”

Authors: Mahr, S. E. and Moffitt, L. J.
Affiliation: University of Wisconsin and University of Massachusetts.
Title: Biologic & Economic Assessment of Pesticide Usage on Cranberry.
Source: NAPIAP Report Number 2-CA-94-1994.

Desert Locust Plagues Managed with Insecticides

49-2

Spraying for locusts

49

Locust swarm

Since prehistoric times, plagues of desert locusts (a large grasshopper that swarms) have threatened food production in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The swarms may cover several hundred square kilometers and contain 50 million locusts per square kilometer. A square kilometer of locusts can consume about 100 tons of crops per day. Regular monitoring of locust breeding areas and targeted insecticide sprays as populations increase prevent plagues most years. However, monitoring locust breeding areas can be difficult as many are located in remote areas or are in areas inaccessible due to border disputes and lack of security. When major outbreaks occur, widespread insecticide spraying is necessary.

“When locust upsurges and plagues develop, large scale control campaigns must be mounted on an emergency basis. These campaigns are expensive, use large quantities of insecticide and involve external assistance. During the last plague of 1986-89, some 40 countries were affected and more than 14 million hectares were treated. The total amount of assistance provide by the international community during the plague was about US$ 250 million. The total amount of assistance provided by the international community  during the last major upsurge from 2003-2005 was about 400 million US Dollars where about 13 million litres of pesticides were used to treat 13 million hectare in 11 countries.

Ground and aerial application of chemical pesticides is the only viable method of locust control at present.”

Authors: FAO
Title: Workshop on Spray Equipment Used in Desert Locust Control, 10-14, May. 2009.

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

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.

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

drhzdf

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.