Area-Wide Management of Potato Pests (AMPP) in the Pacific Northwest

  • Harwood, James (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


We propose a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing aphid and leafhopper vectors of plant pathogens, and other insect pests, in inland Idaho, Oregon, and Washington potato crops. Potato is the #1 dollar-value vegetable crop in the region, contributing over $9 billion annually to the US economy. For decades growers have used frequent, prophylactic sprays of broadspectrum insecticides to meet the very low damage thresholds mandated by potato processors. However, processors are now requiring growers to document their use of integrated pest management (IPM) schemes, and to justify each pesticide application. Unfortunately, we lack knowledge of the true disease-transmission risk posed by insect vectors and have yet to identify effective, targeted control options. This threatens the economic sustainability of regional potato production. We will fill these knowledge-gaps with three integrated research and extension components. The First Component develops a multi-state sampling network for aphids and leafhoppers and their associated plant pathogens, and effective reduced-spray management plans for these pests (and for the secondary pests likely to become more prevalent as spray frequency decreases). The Second Component develops a detailed understanding of the impacts of predators and pathogens on key pest species, so that biological control agents can be included in IPM decision making. This will be accomplished in part through the use of novel molecular gutcontent analyses of key predator species. The Third Component develops an improved sociological understanding of how growers reach spray decisions, and creates the means for growers to analyze the economic effectiveness of new risk mitigation strategies given the uncertainty of vector and plant pathogen outbreaks. The principal investigators include entomologists, virologists, extension educators, economists and sociologists from the three regional land-grant universities and the USDA-ARS. Results and IPM recommendations will be disseminated through an innovative extension program that emphasizes hands-on learning and in-field demonstration, in addition to innovative web, instruction, and publication outlets. The project directly addresses RAMP program goals to enhance the development and implementation of innovative, ecologically based sustainable IPM strategies and system(s) for a high value, major acreage food production system, at an area-wide scale.
Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/13


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