Agriculture

Here are some of the IPM projects, innovations and research benefitting agriculture in the West. Projects listed here are not necessarily funded by the Western IPM Center.

Hill-Climbing Cows May Bring Big Benefits to Western Rangeland and Ranchers

Conventional wisdom says cows don’t go up steep slopes. They don’t climb hills and don’t travel very far from water.

But some cows never got that memo.



Eco-Label Programs Promote IPM, but Aren't Perfect

There are dozens of eco labels and sustainable agriculture certification programs in the United States, all designed to differentiate products in the marketplace and assure consumers that this apple, potato or bottle of wine was produced in an environmentally responsible manner. 

And eco-label programs do have clear benefits and promote more sustainable pest-management and growing practices. They also provide certain benefits for growers. 

However, there are downsides for growers as well, and significant differences between the programs can make judging eco labels challenging for consumers. And with dozens of similar yet competing certification programs and standards, certification chaos is likely for the foreseeable future.

 


Can an Economic Model Show Growers the Importance of Reducing the Weed Seed Bank?

How important is it to keep weed seeds out of vegetable fields?

Mexico State University's Brian Schutte recently looked at that very question. Funded by the Western IPM Center, Schutte studied one particular weed, tall morning glory, in Southwest chile pepper fields, and developed an economic model growers can use to see for themselves how managing the weed seed bank can help their operations.



IPM in New Mexico

Like many states, some of the biggest IPM challenges facing New Mexico are being caused by newly arrived invasive pests, including the Bagrada bug and spotted wing Drosophila. Here's a look at the current state of IPM in New Mexico, and some of the IPM research going on there.



IPM in Montana

Montana is known as "The Last Best Place." An outdoor paradise, and home to wheat, barley and pulse crop production, Montana actively promotes integrated pest management to protect its agriculture and natural areas.



Safflower Makes an Areawide IPM Program Work

Safflower, a low-value oil seed crop, is the key to an incredibly successful soil health and areawide integrated pest management program in California — and a great illustration of how IPM works. 



IPM in Utah

Utah is one of the most urbanized states in the nation, with 90 percent of the population living on just 1.1 percent of the land. It’s also the second driest state, has alkaline soils and the risk of drought is high every year. These factors drive Utah's cropping systems - and drive the way IPM programs are developed and delivered.



Idaho Researchers Embrace Collaboration

Anyone who complains about university research being too theoretical or Ivory Tower hasn't visited the University of Idaho Aberdeen Research and Extension Center.

There, multi-disciplinary teams regularly work together on complex investigations into pests of the state's important crops like potatoes, wheat and barley.



Croptime Project Expands Pest-Modeling Website to Include Vegetable-Development Models

Pest managers are familiar with the concept of using degree days to predict pest outbreaks. Insects, like many other organisms, develop according to the temperature around them and degree days are a way to measure accumulated temperature.

Plants – at least in part – also develop based on temperature, so a team in Oregon is adapting a degree-day modeling system built for pest management to make a tool for vegetable growers to better plan their planting and harvesting dates.



IPM Training Program Targets Young Ag Professionals in the Pacific Northwest

To manage pests, growers have to be able to identify them. They have to be able to recognize enemies – insects, weeds and diseases that will cause them economic harm – and realize that not all bugs or blotches on their plants are enemies. Some are allies – beneficial insects that prey on damaging pest – and others are Swiss, neutral third parties that neither help nor harm the growers’ crops.

Identification of pests and beneficials is one of the first principles of integrated pest management, and the core of a train-the-trainers program that’s been successfully improving the skills of young ag professionals in rural Oregon, Washington and Idaho since 2009.



Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

In 2015, the Invasive Species Insects Subgroup focused on coconut rhinoceros beetle, an invasive insect spreading across the Pacific. In March 2015, a work group gathered after the Hawaiian Entomological Society meeting to share the latest information and research on the beetle.



Grazing Guidelines for Noxious Weed Control

Researchers, ranchers, and land managers know that livestock grazing can be a valuable and selective noxious-weed management tool, and this guide summarizes all the effective techniques.



Toolkit for Assessing IPM Outcomes and Impacts

The Western IPM Center’s IPM Adoption and Impacts Assessment Work Group, a collection of natural and social scientists from across the country, created online resources showing IPM researchers how to conduct basic impact assessments.



IPM Adoption is Widespread in the West

Many integrated pest management practices are so widely adopted in Western agriculture they have become conventional pest management. That is one of the key findings of a new report by the Western Integrated Pest Management Center titled “Adoption and Impacts of Integrated Pest Management in Agriculture in the Western United States.”



Identify Herbicide Damage to Crops and Ornamental Plants

Identifying nontarget crop and ornamental plant damage from herbicides has become much easier, with the launch of a new online photo repository by the University of California Statewide IPM Program.



Small Farms IPM Group Finds Invaders, Opportunities and Challenges

Bringing IPM information to small-scale farmers is a significant challenge, but one that has many potential benefits - including expanded opportunities to spot invasive pests and diseases.



Montana Develops Weed Seedling Guide for the Northern Great Plains

Rapid and accurate identification of weeds at the seedling stage can save producers and land managers time and money but most weed identification guides only provide information about the mature stage of the plants. Not this one.



New Guide Helps Land Managers Control Medusahead

As an ecosystem-transformer species, medusahead is among the worst weeds. Not only does it compete for resources with more desirable species, but it changes ecosystem function to favor its own survival at the expense of the entire ecosystem.



Center-Funded Website Helps Vets Treat Animals for Fleas, Ticks and Other Pests

Whether it's cattle with face flies or a dog with ticks, vets throughout the West can now easily find the available treatment options in their state thanks to a new website built with Western IPM Center funding.



Center Funding Helps Develop a Better Way to Control Prionus Beetles

Hops growers in the Northwest - as well as a sweet cherry, apple and other fruit growers around the nation - now have a new mating disruption tool to combat the Prionus beetle and its root-boring larvae, thanks to research funded in part by the Western IPM Center.