Tag Archives: ipm

Retired educator honored as hero of sustainable agriculture

Dale Mutch was recently named as a North Central Region‒Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Hero. Coordinated by the NCR-SARE Alumni Organization, this recognition honors the leadership, vision, contributions and impact individuals have made in the field of sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Mutch is a retired Michigan State University senior Extension educator and adjunct professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. He spent more than three decades as an IPM vegetable scout, agricultural agent, district and state field crop integrated pest management coordinator, senior district Extension educator and coordinator, consultant and professor. As a founding member of the Midwest Cover Crops Council, he championed the promotion and demonstration of cover crops to improve soil health and create more sustainable agricultural practices throughout the region and nationally.

I encourage you to read more about Dale as well as the tributes from many of our MSU colleagues in this NCR-SARE article: http://www.northcentralsare.org/About-Us/Regional-Initiatives/NCR-SARE-Hero-Recognition-Program/Past-NCR-SARE-Heroes/Dale-Mutch-NCR-SARE-Hero

Congratulations, Dale!

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Filed under Awards

First IPM Academy a success

The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Academy took place at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center Feb. 20-21. The program served newcomers to agriculture, growers who have yet to adopt IPM or those interested in a refresher course.

 Dr. Barry Jacobsen, keynote speaker from the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology at Montana State University with an extensive background in IPM and member of the Board of Directors of the IPM Institute of North America, discussed the philosophy of IPM and explained the reasoning behind the management strategies that have revolutionized agricultural production.

 The first day of the academy included Dr. Jacobsen’s address and also covered the principals of IPM with topics such as entomology, plant pathology and pest assessment. On the second day, participants chose two concurrent half-day sessions to learn about IPM strategies in various crop systems areas.

 Led by Michigan State University Extension educator Erin Lizotte, Extension educators and specialists who focus on various project areas pooled their collective knowledge and expertise to put on a successful academy with more than 100 participants.

 This was the first run of this new program, and it was a huge success. Congratulations to Erin Lizotte and the members of the team that made this possible.

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Filed under integrated pest management

New online tool helps push MSU Extension to get information to farmers, stakeholders

Earlier this week, creators of MSU Extension News for Agriculture celebrated a “soft launch” to members of the Ag and Agribusiness Institute (AABI). The March 7, 2011, announcement that this new website is now live was one giant step toward ensuring that Michigan State University Extension remains relevant and visible in the 21st century.

The site gives farmers and others interested in agriculture access to the newest information and research from MSUE in one convenient, online location. It helps break down those county and regional borders we’ve talked so much about, and allows our faculty and staff members to spread their expertise throughout the state.

Wendy Powers, AABI director, said it best. “Even though we may have a livestock specialist in central Michigan, someone in northern Michigan might need their expertise,” she said. “By having educators contribute articles and share their knowledge on the Internet, MSU Extension can make sure that all farmers in the state have access, immediately, to information that is of vital importance to the success of their operations.”

It took many hands to pull this off – especially because it went from concept to launch in only five months. Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications joined forces with Integrated Pest Management folks with CATAlert expertise to perfect the concept and then worked with ANR Technology Services to create the site. Most importantly, a task force of 25 educators, specialists and faculty members weighed in on the process to ensure it meets clients’ needs. And let’s not forget the more than 160 AABI members, faculty and educators who will contribute to the site every month.

The next step is to finish a mobile version of the site (set to be available by April 15) and then create a comprehensive database so information can be pushed out via e-mail and, eventually, text message. For that, I owe a debt of thanks to the ANRTS team, led by Erica Ciupak. They continue to lead the way in helping us to adopt new technologies and use them to deliver to a broader audience with the latest information and expertise.

It’s an exciting process that moves us forward in how we communicate timely information with our key audiences. I encourage you to visit the site and send any suggestions for improvement to Beth Stuever. The team will continue to tweak the site over time. It plans to announce it statewide once the search box begins working (something that we rely on Google “spiders” to get rolling) and the mobile site is near completion. Thanks to Joy Landis, from the IPM team, Dennis Bond in ANRTS, Wendy, Beth and the entire AABI, ANR Communications Team and IPM team for helping to transform us and the way we serve our stakeholders!

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Response team discovers fruit pest, takes action

Sometimes the discovery of something very small has a very big impact. That’s what happened when a tiny vinegar fly called the Spotted Wing Drosophila or SWD was first detected this September in traps put out this year by Michigan State University entomologists. Originally from Asia, the insect established a base in the western United States and Canada. The MSU discovery marks the first time that the insect has been found in the Midwest. This miniature pest loves tasty, soft treats damaging most berry crops, grapes, cherries and other tree fruits.

 A Michigan SWD response team chaired by Rufus Isaacs, MSU entomologist, developed a pre-emptive Early Detection-Rapid Response (ED-RR) Plan, part of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy for SWD. Entomologists and horticulturists from the MSU departments of Entomology and Horticulture, MSU Extension field staff members, Michigan Department of Agriculture staff members and fruit commodity representatives make up the team. I’d like to congratulate this group. Team members were on top of the issue, first discovering the pesky critter, then taking action. The team is doing further monitoring and is getting the word out to fruit growers to encourage them to plan for early detection through trapping, monitoring and taking crop-specific control measures.

 Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff members helped in spreading the word with a news release and fact sheet. Rufus Isaacs and Noel Hahn, from the Department of Entomology, and Bob Tritten and Carlos Garcia, MSU Extension, wrote the fact sheet, MSU Extension Bulletin E-3140. Even though he is on assignment in Chile, Dr. Isaacs is still on the job keeping track of SWD and the media coverage of it.

 Our staff members are actively researching and monitoring the bug to minimize its impact on fruit growers. The Spotted Wind Drosophila website gives up-to-date information, and our MSU Extension educators are in contact with fruit growers, giving out information and advice.

Project GREEEN and the Michigan Department of Agriculture provide funding for the SWD response team.

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Filed under Entomology

IPM presents solutions for pesky aphids

When aphids invaded American soybean fields in 2000, scientists across the country quickly began looking for ways to control the imported pest. All told, state and federal governments spent more than $17 million on research and education aimed at keeping aphids under control.

Scott Swinton, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, says it’s money well spent. The net economic benefit of the work done to find integrated pest management (IPM) solutions should reach $1.3 billion over 15 years, he figures. That’s an annual rate of return of 180 percent. Read more.

Hats off to the many MSU Extension educators and specialist who helped find a resolution to this pesky problem.

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Filed under Agriculture, Farming