Decision Support for Potato Growers using a Pest Monitoring Network

Abstract

Pest monitoring networks form the foundation of many integrated pest management programs in agroecosystems throughout the world. These monitoring networks tend to focus on widely dispersed and highly variable insect pest populations that can cause significant crop loss without intervention. By assessing the distribution and abundance of insects over growing seasons, pest monitoring networks help growers anticipate problems and use proactive rather than reactive management tactics; this promotes timely decision making that usually leads to more effective and cost-efficient pest management. There are several key considerations for developing and operating a successful pest monitoring network: (1) they can be costly and require a regular funding source; (2) the monitoring methods must be appropriate for the pest and adequately distributed (spatially and temporally) to locate infestations; (3) the monitoring data must be provided through timely communications that can be easily accessed by growers or other decision makers; (4) monitoring results should be explained so they can be easily interpreted; and (5) communications should include recommendations for next steps, such as guidance in identifying and scouting for the pest, cultural management approaches, and appropriate use of chemical controls. In this paper, we relate our experiences operating an insect pest monitoring network in potato crops grown in the Columbia Basin of Washington in the United States. We discuss our efforts to fund the program, operate more effectively, and continually improve the content of our communications.

Resumen

Las redes para monitorear plagas forman los cimientos de muchos programas de manejo integrado de plagas en agroecosistemas en el mundo. Estas redes de monitoreo tienen la tendencia de enfocarse en poblaciones de insectos plaga dispersadas ampliamente y altamente variables, que pueden causar pérdidas significativas de los cultivos si no hay intervención. Mediante el análisis de la distribución y abundancia de insectos a lo largo de los ciclos de cultivo, las redes de monitoreo de plagas ayudan a los productores a anticipar problemas y el uso de tácticas de manejo proactivas en vez de reactivas; esto promueve la toma de decisiones a tiempo, que generalmente conduce a un manejo de plagas mas efectivo y eficiente en costos. Hay varias consideraciones clave para el desarrollo y operación de una red de monitoreo de plagas exitosa: (1) Pueden ser costosas y requerir de una fuente regular de financiamiento; (2) Los métodos de monitoreo deben se apropiados para la plaga y distribuirse adecuadamente (espacio-temporalmente) para localizar infestaciones; (3) los datos del monitoreo deben ser suministrados a través de comunicaciones a tiempo que pudieran ser fácilmente accesibles por los productores u otros que toman decisiones; (4) los resultados del monitoreo deberían explicarse, de manera que puedan ser fácilmente interpretados; y (5) las comunicaciones deben incluir recomendaciones para pasos siguientes, como guía en la identificación y vigilancia de la plaga, estrategias de manejo cultural, y uso apropiado de controles químicos. En este artículo relatamos nuestras experiencias en la operación de una red de monitoreo de insectos plaga en cultivos de papa en la rivera del Columbia en Washington, Estados Unidos de Norteamérica. Discutimos nuestros esfuerzos para encontrar el programa, operar más efectivamente, y el mejoramiento continuo del contenido de nuestras comunicaciones.

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Correspondence to Carrie H. Wohleb.

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Wohleb, C.H., Waters, T.D. & Crowder, D.W. Decision Support for Potato Growers using a Pest Monitoring Network. Am. J. Potato Res. 98, 5–11 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12230-020-09813-0

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Keywords

  • Pest monitoring
  • Pest management
  • Scouting
  • Aphid
  • Beet leafhopper
  • Potato tuberworm
  • Potato psyllid