US: Berry grower pioneers integrated pest management

Dale-Ila Riggs, president of the New York State Berry Growers Association, who has earned a recent Excellence in IPM award, has made it her mission to tackle head-on what could be the berry growers’ worst pest ever.

That worst pest ever would be SWD: shorthand for “spotted wing drosophila.” This new, barely visible pest blew into New York in 2012. SWD, hardly bigger than this comma, sneaks in just as berries ripen. By the time you notice the damage, your crop is unsalable. Riggs wants to reverse that trend.

So while many berry growers dug out entire plantings, Riggs dug in — aggressively seeking Cornell research collaborations and the money to support them. After all, berries are worth $15 million; the market is growing. Per capita consumption of blueberries alone is up 411 percent since 2000. Results? IPM solutions are already benefiting berry growers across New York and the Northeast.

Source: Cornell blog

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