With the new growing season on our doorstep, now is the time to get your tools ready for an effective IPM program. Consider the following checklist to help you prepare:
- Refresh your knowledge of identification, biology and monitoring techniques for common insect and disease pests by taking an IPM Training Workshop. OMAFRA specialists offer a series of free IPM workshops starting early May. Watch for more information and registration links on the ONfruit, ONvegetable and ONspecialtycrop blogs. The Apple IPM video series can be found on the ONhortcrops YouTube channel:
- If you prefer a more self-directed refresher, check out Ontario CropIPM. Here you will find interactive online training and information on pests and management, including scouting calendars, threshold guides, information on using traps and identification keys.
- Make sure your farm map is up-to-date. In as much detail as you can, outline new plantings or blocks that have been removed including information such as cultivar, planting dates, etc. Circle where pest problem areas have been in the past, such as mite or weed hot spots, or where you’ve had issues with diseases. Use your map to develop a reporting template for your scout or workers to quickly identify where they have found problems.
- Familiarize yourself with using traps, weather monitoring equipment and degree day models to predict precise timing of pest control strategies. For some pests, degree day models have been developed to predict pest development stages and precisely time products.
- To use these degree day models, you will need to put up monitoring traps and have access to weather data. For trapping supplies, visit the OMAFRA website for a list of pest monitoring equipment suppliers. Be sure to store all pheromone lures in the fridge until you are ready to put them out.
- Weather monitoring equipment, including temperature, humidity, rainfall and leaf wetness gauges are also important tools for disease forecasting. This information can be used to determine key infection periods or identify infection risk.
- Will you have a scout monitoring your farm this year? Set up a communication plan with the scout to report findings, such as a weekly scouting template or email. Keep the scout up to date on when and what crop protection materials have been applied and when it is safe to re-enter the field.
- Planning to monitor your farm on your own? Designate someone on your farm to monitor on a weekly basis. Having this determined before the season starts will help ensure this job doesn’t get forgotten when all sorts of other issues are pushing you in different directions.
- Make up a pest management kit with the right tools for monitoring. This should include a 16-20x hand lens, traps, collection bags and vials, flagging tape, pocket knife, notebook or record sheets, markers, a copy of the farm map and resources on hand, including the new Ontario Crop Protection Hub.
- Lastly, stay informed with current pest management topics in the province by subscribing to the ONfruit blog. To receive the most timely information, sign up to receive a notification via email as soon as something new is posted.
Horticulture IPM Specialist, OMAFRA