Evans N. Estabrooks1
(Partner: New Brunswick Fruit Growers Association)
Abstract: The objectives of the Pilot Apple IPM Project were to assist a private consultant to develop a marketable IPM program and adapt monitoring technologies developed elsewhere to reduce pesticide applications and increase production of quality fruit. A weather station with disease/insect forecasting capability was tested and a communication system developed to utilize the information. Orchards were regularly scouted throughout the growing season for insect and disease pests. To evaluate the effectiveness of the scouting/advisory part of the program, fruit samples were taken just before harvest and evaluated for the presence of disease and insect damage. After the growing season a benefit/cost analysis was carried out. Cooperating growers generally expressed positive opinions on the Pilot IPM Project. The average cost of providing seasonal scouting service was $ 37 per visit or $863/farm/season. It is concluded that information provided resulted in improved insect and disease control timing. Area "hot spots" within an orchard block were detected and sometimes treated separately resulting in reduced pesticide application. The pre-harvest assessment of pest damage also revealed other problems, such as lack of colour or size. It was also concluded that a scouting service could be provided for about $ 1000 per season for an average-sized 35 acre orchard.
1Evans and Associates Agricultural Consulting, Fredericton, NB E3C 1J2