Now that the season for spuds has arrived, producers can turn to the Washington State Potato Commission for some helps when launching integrated pest management practices.
"By utilizing a strategic approach to IPM, growers can gain a better understanding of the conditions that favor disease or proliferation of unwanted insect species," explains WSPC industry outreach director Raina Spence.
"This allows growers to employ the proper controls at the appropriate times and locations."
The IPM assistance program is an annual job for WSPC, she adds, offering growers pest and plant diagnostics. The commission provides the tools and resources free of charge to members to promote IPM practices.
The effort is joined by Washington State University researchers on insect scouting efforts.
WSU teams conduct surveys to look for various pests throughout the production season.
These types of sustainable approaches help to preserve key resources while ensuring the long-term viability of land, Spence notes.
"During the summer we will check our traps a couple of times a week which then provide us a lot of data about where pest movements are and what is happening in the pest world," says Stacy Kniveton, a potato producer.
"This helps us determine what the appropriate preventative action is."
Proper IPM techniques allow growers to avoid reliance on broad spectrum control products and let them take a targeted approach to pest control, he adds.
WSPC is committed to supporting growers with IPM, says Spence.
They do so by providing a variety of tools such as yellow sticky cards for psyllid and leafhopper monitoring, and trap supplies for tuberworm monitoring.
Magnifying glasses and small cloth beat sheets are also provided, along with laminated pest ID cards.
The Commission will offer two classes next month to help growers with their IPM programs. They will be held as follows:
June 3: 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m., 2621 Ringold Rd., Eltopia, Wash.
June 4: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., WSPC office at 108 Interlake Rd., Moses Lake, Wash.