Fresh From the Field, Feb. 28, 2019

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Fresh From the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by partners supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                 Feb.28, 2019

Success Stories 

Cotton IPM Saves Millions. Ellsworth Researcher. NIFA Impacts.

Cotton IPM Saves Millions 

Integrated pest management (IPM) seeks to reduce risks to people and the environment and economic risks to growers while effectively managing pests. The Crop Pest Losses and Impact Assessment Signature Program of the Western IPM Center measures IPM progress in different crops through annual surveys. University of Arizona’s Peter Ellsworth developed a cotton pest survey and results indicate that by using IPM practices Arizona cotton growers have saved $542 million since 1996 and kept 21 million pounds of insecticide out of the environment. Oregon State University adapted the survey to document similar outcomes over time for onions, potatoes, cranberries, hazelnuts, and cherries in the Pacific Northwest.

NIFA supports this research through the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program.

News Coverage

Pesticide Residues in Cotton and Cotton/Polyester Garments Worn while Applying Pesticides. NIFA Impacts. USDA photo.

Pesticide Residues in Cotton and Polyester Garments Worn while Applying Pesticides

Understanding safe pesticide use is critical in the protection of pesticide handlers, not just during the mixing, loading, and application of chemicals, but also to any residues in their clothing after application. In the United States, EPA relies on basic work wear and cotton or cotton/polyester coveralls to protect a handler’s skin to pesticide exposure. Of 1,868 pesticide labels analyzed in 2012, approximately 85 percent required a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, and 15 percent required coveralls.

Cooperative Extension Pesticide Education Programs provide training and certification for pesticide applicators. The importance of safe and judicious use of pesticides in protecting people and the environment is an integral part of the training. Pesticide safety educators who are actively engaged in NC-170 projects provide the link between research and extension. NC-170 conducted laundering studies in the 80's and early 90's. Since then, research has been limited. During that same time, there have been significant changes in the composition of detergents (phosphate-based detergents are no longer used), washing machines, and wash conditions. Limited information is available on whether the residue levels remaining in the garment after washing are of concern, and recommended washing procedures for reusable garments need to be updated.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is collaborating with institutions in France and Brazil to conduct laboratory studies on decontamination/laundering that are of mutual interest. UMES and the Pesticide Safety Education Program will conduct wear studies to determine the residue levels in garments worn by handlers during routine pesticide applications and the potential of the residue being transferred as a result of rubbing and perspiration. The potential impact of these studies is the development of updated laundering information for pesticide safety education programs.

NIFA supports the project through the Multistate Research Fund.


Cotton IPM Saves Millions. Macadamia nut photo by USDA. NIFA Impacts.

Canopy Modification for Macadamia Nut Orchards in Hawaii

With funding from the Western Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, the University of Hawaii's Alyssa Cho showed that pruning the canopy in macadamia orchards reduces populations of a key pest, felted coccid, by half. Not only that, pruning increased beneficial predatory beetles by 60-70 percent. Yields in pruned plots were not affected and nut quality was higher. Plant diversity and mass in the pruned plots suggests that an increase in habitat for these beneficial insects plays an important role in the results. Additionally, the project trained five students and two post-docs and produced one peer-reviewed paper.

NIFA is currently accepting applications for the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program


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