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Plant & Pest Advisory > Vegetable Crops

Contact Information

The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alternative Insect Pest Management Strategies for the Arsenal

While insecticides remain important useful and economical tools in the arsenal for controlling most major insect pests in agricultural crops, research continues to show that some alternative pest management strategies can provide additional cost-effective tools. Hendry County Florida Cooperative Extension Agent Gene McAvoy just forwarded this article: "Trap crops can be valuable tool in vegetable production" from the Southeast Farm Press on the benefits and strategies for use of trap crops. As it mentions, it is critical to manage a trap crop to kill the pest populations before they build up so the trap crop does not become a nursery crop to infest the main crop.

On the other hand, nursery crops of flowering plants such as cilantro and alyssum can be used  to attract and maintain populations of beneficial insects that are predators/parasites of many pest insects. Like a trap crop, there needs to be an adequate population of the nursery crop and it needs to be maintained to provide the nectar and pollen that feeds the beneficials.

Young seedlings should be protected from the flies that lay eggs at the base of the stems as the plants emerge. Those eggs hatch into maggot larvae that are pests on numerous vegetable crops (onion maggot, cabbage maggot, seed corn maggot which attacks several crops besides corn). Once those larvae are feeding underground, it is difficult to deliver most insecticides where they are needed to effectively kill the maggots. It is better to keep the adult female flies from laying the eggs in the first place. The challenge in using insecticides for this is in the timing and longevity of the materials available. If not properly timed to be there when the flies land, it will not work. Using a floating row cover insect barrier to exclude the flies from the fields can be a cost effective alternative and can remain on the crop for a longer period of time.

- RV

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sprayer Calibration Templates do the Math for You

The Journal of Extension is a publication we use to share ideas for Extension outreach. The Tools of the Trade section in the latest issue contained a report from Ron Patterson, Carbon County Extension Agent with Utah State Cooperative Extension, which I’ve summarized below. Sprayer calibration is a critical step in pesticide application and little math mistakes can make for costly application problems. Let me know if you find these tools useful.
Rick VanVranken