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WSU pest, disease management system improved

A 9-year-old system to help Washington tree fruit growers optimize treatments for pests and diseases is being improved by Washington State University.
Dan Wheat

Capital Press

Published on January 20, 2016 5:13PM

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Greater pinpointing and longer range prediction of insect and disease pressure is being offered this year by the Washington State University Decision Aid System for tree fruit growers.

Long-range forecasting will extend to 42 days for insect models and to 26 days for disease models, Ute Chambers, WSU entomologist and DAS manager, told growers at WSU’s Northcentral Washington Stone Fruit Day in Wenatchee on Jan. 19.

Another new feature is virtual weather stations allowing growers to pinpoint model forecasts on a grid of 1.5 miles-by-1.5 miles, she said.

DAS uses current and historic weather data from WSU’s AgWeatherNet to drive 10 insect and four disease models to help growers know when to combat pests and diseases. The models are based on cumulative heat units called degree days.

Cherry fruit fly, cherry shothole, cherry powdery mildew and peach twig borer are among the problems models address to warn growers and advise them on timing and intervals of pesticide applications for integrated pest management.

The system was launched in 2007 and costs $150 per grower per year. User surveys in 2008, 2010 and 2013 estimated the value of DAS to the industry at roughly $16.5 million per year. Users say it reduces their costs while improving their pest management.


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