Overcoming Barriers to IPM Adoption in NC Flue-Cured Tobacco

Monday, March 14, 2016: 10:42 AM
Hannover Ballroom II (Sheraton Raleigh Hotel)
Jeremy Slone , Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Hannah Burrack , North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Although established recommendations are available, fewer than 40% of North Carolina flue-cured tobacco growers followed integrated pest management (IPM) practices or employed a formal scouting system in the past four years. According to NC extension surveys, growers also reported an average of three insecticide applications during 2013. Previous research suggests that treating only when pests exceed economic thresholds (ET) may reduce the number of applications to less than two per season. Therefore, if growers were to utilize ETs based on scouting, it may reduce the number of insecticide applications per season. I conducted field scale trials at three farms in 2104 and six in 2015. Each site included a grower standard field being conventionally managed and an IPM field which only received insecticide applications if pest populations surpassed ETs. Each was scouted weekly and the frequency of stops was determined by field size. At each stop, five consecutive plants were inspected for insects. IPM fields received fewer insecticide applications without an impact on yield. The costs associated with scouting are likely offset by the reduction in pesticide costs. Additional sprays also resulted in dried leaf residues being higher in grower standard fields than in IPM fields where residues were detected.