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  • Chosing Borders & Interplantings
    Control of Pests PROBLEM S Growers often view biological control as roughly equivalent to spraying with bugs However successful biological control often depends on the presence of a supportive habitat for mass reared or naturally occurring beneficial insects in and around the crop We were looking for cooperating farmers with good potential for success in demonstrating beneficial insect habitats for pesticide use reduction SIGNIFICANCE To attract and maintain populations of beneficial insects the farm must provide for all of their needs The requirements may include alternate sources of prey or hosts complimentary nutrients such as pollen and nectar overwintering sites etc Simple monoculture farms rarely meet all of these needs over a sufficient period to insure adequate beneficial populations By growing a carefully chosen set of insectary plants in and around the field we provide the resources beneficials need to stand guard over the crop STRATEGY Conduct a farm field day to attract interested farmers in the area Advertise the opportunity to be a cooperator on our new project Explain the habitat concept provide information that helps farmers choose habitat plants Allow farmers to observe the habitat and its effects on a working farm OUTCOME A field day on December

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/borders_n_inter.html (2016-04-30)
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  • GWSS
    Tree crops are rendered unmarketable by heavy frass Grapes are killed by Pierce s disease vectored by GWSS A variety of efforts including genetically engineered resistant cultivars parasite mass rearing etc are being heavily funded However the potential to leverage the effectiveness of the natural or mass reared sharpshooter enemies by habitat manipulation has received little attention as a potential suppressive technique STRATEGY Continue to observe ecology of GWSS and

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/gwss.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Habitat Enhancement Training Project
    Fly Project Avocado Grove Demo BC of Pepper Weevil Soil Compost Seminar Compost Tea Seminar Youth Seminar PROBLEM Widespread use of pesticides continues because growers lack information about ecologically based alternatives SIGNIFICANCE Although growers are typically aware of insectary reared beneficials they lack knowledge of habitat manipulation required for full effectiveness of released and native beneficials There are few trainers able to impart this information to growers and few demonstration farms where they may see the effects of habitat enhancement More experience is needed about how farmers choose and manage appropriate habitat enhancements STRATEGY Recruit interested farmers in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties Work with them to choose and manage hedgerows and cover crops that support predators and parasites to realize the full potential of ecologically based pest management These farmers will become trainers by successful example and their farms serve as demonstrations for other farmers pest control advisors etc OUTCOME The California Energy Commission and the Environmental Protection agency funded the project running from 1997 through early 2000 During the course of the project six cooperating farmers who are leaders in their localities planted cover crops strips of flowering plants in row crops and perennial hedgerows along farm roads

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/habitat_enhance.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Walnut Husk Fly Project
    pest in much of California s walnuts As growers find alternatives to broad spectrum pesticides such as against codling moth naturally occurring beneficials drive all pests below the level of economic damage with exception of walnut husk fly SIGNIFICANCE When growers spray to control this pest they disrupt the natural enemy complex The disruption forces them to rely on toxic materials to control other walnut pests in a spray for one spray for all cascade of effects By maintaining bare ground in walnut orchards a complete soil food fails to develop and soil dwelling husk fly predators are too few to suppress the pest The situation is complicated by the harvesting requirements of walnuts Many cover crops could potentially enhance the soil food web Unfortunately these same plants may interfere with collecting Ground cover may encourage mold on fallen nuts because of greater ground moisture STRATEGY Build a complete soil food web so that the ground stage of the husk fly is attacked by natural enemies Select and determine how to manage ground covers that feed the soil organisms without impeding harvest Compare husk fly damage with neighboring orchards ACCOMPLISHMENTS A nine acre grove in the Santa Ynez Valley was

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/husk_fly.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Millennium Grove Avocado Demonstration
    Sanitary Landfill SIGNIFICANCE Road dust is frequently noted as interfering with biological control on crops located within a few yards of the dust source Regional dust effects operating over a scale of miles have never been specifically investigated Biological control monitoring at the landfill carries implications wherever agriculture lies adjacent to large scale earth moving operations STRATEGY Create a biological pest control demonstration on landfill owned buffer zones where exposure

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/k_avocado_demo.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Pepper Weevil
    Seminar PROBLEM Pepper weevil is the only economically significant pest for organic pepper farmers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties SIGNIFICANCE Only chemically managed farms are able to participate in the lucrative late season pepper market by using a heavy weekly pesticide spray schedule STRATEGY pursue two parallel strategies with regard to this pest release of pepper weevil parasite Catolaccus hunterii in farmer cooperator fields and mass rearing of a

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/pepper_weevil.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Soil and Compost Ecology Seminar
    to farmers are not available the knowledge is confined to the academic community SIGNIFICANCE Those who work with synthetic fertilizers frequently point out that plants cannot tell the difference between a nitrogen atom from their product and one derived from compost Although correct in a trivial sense this fact is used to imply that no substantive differences exist between synthetic and natural fertilizers The latest scientific findings have uncovered profound differences in the way these two fertilizer regimes affect soil bacteria and fungi The research further reveals that altered microbial populations dramatically influence every other organism inhabiting the soil including crops and crop pests and can lead to the success or failure of transitions away from chemical farms and establishing biological control Farmers interested in doing on farm experimentation including comparisons of microbial bioassays before and after interventions and on the best and worst parts of their farms need guidance how to collect samples and understand the results STRATEGY Host a seminar at which Dr Elaine Ingham summarized current knowledge of soil microbial populations and their impact on water and nutrient retention prevention and mitigation of soil borne disease relationships to soil arthropod pests etc OUTCOME The seminar conducted in

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/soil_n_comp.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Compost Tea Workshop
    Compost Seminar Compost Tea Seminar Youth Seminar PROBLEM Research points increasingly to the use of microbial innoculants to foster plant nutrition and combat pathogens See USDA ARS s Kuykendall s recent findings Growers and horticulturists need to be aware of these findings and taught correct mixing and application of bacterial fungal preparations SIGNIFICANCE Compost teas can help retain nutrients in the rhizosphere that would otherwise be leached into ground water

    Original URL path: http://www.dietrick.org/projects/tea_n_comp.html (2016-04-30)
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