Washington

Here are summaries of some of the IPM research, innovations and projects going on in Washington, or benefitting Washington agriculture, communities and natural areas. Projects listed here are not necessarily funded by the Western IPM Center.

Soil Solarization in the Pacific Northwest

Organic vegetable growers may finally have an economical way to manage weeds other than slow and costly hand weeding. That solution is soil solarization – trapping the sun’s energy under a layer of plastic to heat the soil enough to kill pathogens and weeds. It’s a technique proven effective in hotter climates, but new plastics and research are showing it can also work in the cooler Pacific Northwest.



VIDEO: Soil Solarization in the Pacific Northwest

VIDEO: Trapping the heat of the sun to kill pathogens and weeds in the ground works in hot climates - but new plastics and research show it can also be effective in cooler areas like the Pacific Northwest. For organic vegetable growers, it could be a game-changer for weed control.



VIDEO: Alfalfa Seed, Alkali Bees and IPM

VIDEO: Washington alfalfa seed growers go to great lengths to protect the bees that pollinate their crop. Those bees are native alkali bees that live undreground in the Walla Walla Valley, and leaf cutter bees they import from Canada.



To Protect their Bees, Alfalfa Seed Growers Embrace IPM

A lot of growers take steps to protect beneficial insects as part of their integrated pest management programs, but how many have speed limits?

Alfalfa seed growers in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley do.



Decoding Chemical Communications to Control Insects

University of California, Riverside chemical ecologist Jocelyn Millar identifies the chemical signals insects use to communicate, then synthesizes versions of them to help monitor, trap or disrupt their activities. 

Lygus bug is just one of dozens of species Millar and his team are working on. The common thread is that they all communicate chemically, and decoding those chemical signals can create new ways to control those species where they are pests.



IPM Training Program Targets Young Ag Professionals in the Pacific Northwest

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.



Embracing Functional Agricultural Biodiversity to Tap into Nature's Services

Bringing natural diversity to a farm can help boost production and benefit the bottom line. The concept is called functional agricultural biodiversity, and a work group in Oregon is helping Pacific Northwest farmers and conservationists know what plants to incorporate, insects to encourage and habitat to install to maximize their natural benefits.



VIDEO: Training Ag Professionals in IPM

A multi-state program in the Columbia River Basin is improving agricultural practices by training young ag professionals in integrated pest management.



VIDEO: Why Growers Embrace Salmon-Safe Farming

In growing numbers, farmers in the Walla Walla Valley are embracing salmon-safe farming practices to better manage their land, benefit local rivers - and get higher prices for their products.



VIDEO: Functional Agricultural Biodiversity

Farmers embracing functional agricultural biodiversity incorporate habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife on their farms - and benefit from the ecosystem service that habitat provides.



VIDEO: Where to Get Good Gardening Advice

In this video, Ariel Agenbroad from University of Idaho offers great tips for home gardeners about where to get good pest-management advice.



VIDEO: Urban Farm Pest Pressures and Solutions

Learn about the pest pressures faced by urban farmers -- and how integrated pest management provides economical solutions -- with Ariel Agenbroad, Local Food & Farms Advisor with University of Idaho Extension.



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.



Are Birds an Economic Pest on Northwest Dairies? New Research Aims to Find Out

That birds can be a pest for fruit growers is no surprise. But what about to cows?

Are birds a pest on dairies? Do they bother the milk cows? And do they cause economic losses?

Researchers in Washington state are trying to find out.



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.

 


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.



School IPM Protects Kids from Pests and Pesticides

Both pests and pesticides are potentially harmful for kids and adults in schools. Common schools pests like the German cockroach or mice can carry disease and cause allergic responses. And children can be more at risk for harm from sprayed pesticides because of their behavior – playing on the floor or in grassy fields, for instance – and because of their developing physiology.



Washington State's Carrie Foss Promotes Education and IPM

Whether it’s working with a school facilities manager one-on-one, or leading a recertification class for 180 pesticide applicators, there are few things Carrie Foss likes more than teaching people about integrated pest management.



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.”