Cool-Season Vegetable Crops
Cool-Season Vegetable Crops
This Project centers more around the particular production area than the crops/pests although they are nevertheless important as well. The Salinas Valley in Monterey Co. and other nearby production areas (valleys) in neighboring counties along the central coast produce a large percentage of the cool-season vegetable cops in the U.S. especially during certain seasons. In Monterey Co., leaf lettuce, head lettuce, broccoli, celery, misc. vegetables, cauliflower, spinach, salad products, spring mix, artichokes, cabbage, peas, carrots, kale, radicchio, green onions, asparagus, and dry onions are important crops and all of these produce more than $10 million agricultural value per year. Cruciferous crops are valued at ~$1 billion in California and in the Salinas Valley, cruciferous crops are grown on ~85,000 acres valued at >$485 million. These are high value crops which depend on the excellent quality including aesthetic appearance, timeliness of harvest, absence of contaminants, and user-friendly packaging and marketing methods. These production areas are characterized by a moderate climate, moderated by the marine influence, year-around production, significant agricultural "traffic", and high degree of urbanization and tourism, i.e., some highly attractive areas for recreation and leisure nearby. These conditions are favorable for build-up of numerous species of insect pests and this stresses IPM programs to the maximum. In addition, new invasive species of insect pests are a common occurance in California and also hinder IPM programs. Ongoing research efforts are needed to mitigate these issues. Most of my research in this area is done in cooperation with Dr. Shimat Joseph, a Univ. of California Cooperative Extension Entomologist located in the Monterey Co. office. Click on link to left for more details.
Details on Ongoing Research Programs
The cabbage maggot is a world-wide pest and an insect that has been the target of considerable research over years in the U.S., Europe, Canada, etc. Applications of broad-spectrum soil insecticides have been used but refined IPM programs are needed for this pests. Advancements have been made in cultural controls, biological control, semiochemical approaches, and use of reduced risk insecticides against this pest but the cabbage maggot is still a significant concern. We have been researching this pest in the Salinas Valley with the following objectives:
1: Evaluate the relative susceptibility of cole crops, broccoli, and cauliflower to maggot attack.
2: Identify host plant resistance or tolerance to maggot infestation within commercially grown cultivars of broccoli and cauliflower.
3: Evaluate resistance/tolerance to maggot pests in commercial cultivars.
4: Investigate the effects on maggot infestation of a post-harvest interval before planting broccoli after lettuce. Objective
5: Determine the efficacy of low-risk insecticides and plant health products for preventing or mitigating maggot damage to broccoli.
6: Information delivery
The Bagrada bug is a relatively new invasive pest to California. First found in June 2008 in Los Angeles Co., this pest has stressed cole crop production in the southern California/Arizona desert production regions. The range of this pest has gradually increased and now it has advanced up the central coast and has invaded the Salinas Valley and associated cool-season vegetable production areas. IPM programs are needed for this pest in this area. Ongoing research is detailed below:
1.) Bagrada bug biology in Salinas Valley - populations on key crop, ornamental, and weed host plants, number of generations per year, overwintering, etc.
2.) Infestation & damage severity of Bagrada bug to broccoli & cauliflower in Salinas Valley - identify windows of vulnerability, yield impacts to broccoli and cauliflower, etc.
3.) Design management plans for Bagrada bug on broccoli and cauliflower in the Salinas Valley - relay cropping to reduce the damage from Bagrada bug, conventional insecticides, biological insecticides.
4.) Extend results.