Minimizes Environmental Damage, Maximizes Production
Last year, an unknown pest threatened more than 25,000 acres of wheat along the Eastern Shore. Bill Shockley, agriculture and natural resources Extension agent in Northampton County, contacted the appropriate specialist, who identified the pest as winter grain mite, known for its rapid dispersion. Within 24 hours, 150 key producers and agricultural suppliers in the area had received relevant educational materials about this mite and within two days, more than 1,000 acres of wheat had been treated for the pest. Because of the early remedial action on the part of Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists applying integrated pest management (IPM) principles, the Eastern Shore’s wheat crop was spared a potential economic hardship.
Since at least the 1970s, Extension has offered IPM-based recommendations to reduce pest populations and bring their damage down to acceptable levels. “With IPM, we combine all possible ways to fight pests, including preventative, sanitary, and cultural measures,” says Ames Herbert, pest management Extension specialist and Virginia IPM program coordinator. “IPM may be information-intensive, but people have learned that it is the best solution both environmentally and economically.” Read the full story in Solutions.