Monday, March 9, 2015

Adoption and Impact Report Shows IPM is Widely Used and Reducing Pesticide Use in the West

Many integrated pest management practices are so widely adopted in Western agriculture they have become conventional pest management. 

That is one of the key findings of a new report by the Western Integrated Pest Management Center titled “Adoption and Impacts of Integrated Pest Management in Agriculture in the Western United States.”

Other key findings:
·      Pesticide use is declining overall, and in California, has declined sharply per dollar of food produced.
·      In California, use of many of the most toxic classes of pesticides has declined, although use of carcinogenic pesticides and toxic air contaminants has increased.
·      Pesticide residues found on food are at very low concentrations, below the legal tolerance limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 “This is the first in a series of special reports on IPM adoption and the impacts of IPM adoption in different settings in the West,” said Western IPM Center Director Jim Farrar, lead author of the report. “Future reports will be more specific in their focus, looking in-depth at specific crops, counties and non-agricultural settings.”

But this first report was broad, pulling data from a variety of sources to generate an overall picture of IPM adoption.

“The background of this is in 1993, the United States Department of Agriculture and EPA set a goal that integrated pest management would be practiced on 75 percent of U.S. crop acreage by the year 2000,” Farrar said. “While some level of IPM was being used on about 70 percent of acreage by the deadline, there wasn’t a lot known about the impact IPM adoption was having. And that’s really important.”

So Farrar examined peer-reviewed scientific literature and studies conducted by or on behalf of commodity groups or other agriculture interests, published since the year 2000.

“From the data, IPM has been widely adopted in Western agriculture, especially in specialty crops,” Farrar said. “One of the most interesting findings is how much less pesticide it takes to produce a dollar’s worth of food.”

Using California pesticide-use and agriculture-production data, the report shows that pesticide use per dollar of food produced has dropped by more than half since 1995. Then it took more than eight pounds of pesticide to produce $1,000 worth of food in California, and in 2012 that figure dropped below four pounds.

“The review shows there are gaps in the data that’s available, and places where IPM adoption can be improved,” Farrar said. “But overall, it shows that IPM is beneficial in managing pests, and in protecting the economy, human health and the environment.” 

The Western IPM Center is one of four regional centers funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to promote IPM practices and serve as the hub of a multi-state partnership and communication network. From offices in Davis, California, the Center serves 13 Western states and the Pacific Island territories.

Download the 66-page report or a four-page abstract for free at

2015 Western IPM Center Grant Recipients Announced

Eleven projects have been chosen to receive a total of $300,000 in Western IPM Center grant funding for 2015.

The projects were chosen by a grant-review panel from among 23 applications requesting more than $530,000, and represent eight of the 13 Western states.

“The process went well,” said Western IPM Center Director Jim Farrar. “We had a good review panel that met in Florida at the end of January, and they identified 11 good projects to fund. I was happy with the spread of the project focus areas.”

While the quality of the applications was high, the overall number was lower this year.

“There were fewer proposals than the last two years,” Farrar said, “but based on submissions to the other regional IPM Centers and the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, that was a trend.”

Here are the funded projects:

Project Initiation
Brown Stink Bug Management In An Established Cotton IPM Program: A Benefit-Cost Analysis
Lydia Brown, University of Arizona

Reestablishing IPM Recommendations For Aphids In Alfalfa Hay In The Low Desert
Ayman Mostafa, University of Arizona

A Model To Predict Duration Of Soil Solarization For Disinfesting Nursery Soils Contaminated By Phytophthora Species
Jennifer Parke, Oregon State University

Development Of A Molecular Detection Protocol For Ergot Spores In Cool-Season Grasses Grown For Seed
Jeremiah Dung, Oregon State University 

Wildland Fruit As Winter Refugia For Spotted Wing Drosophila In The Intermountain West
Lori Spears, Utah State University

Predicting Variation Of Biological Insect Control In Alfalfa Hay And Seed Crops
Randa Jabbour, University of Wyoming

Work Groups
Joining Forces: Midwest And Western Weather Work Groups For National Harmonization Of Weather-Based Decision Tools
Walter Mahaffee, USDA-ARS

Developing A Roadmap Towards Sustainable Management Of Potato Soilborne Diseases
Brenda Schroeder, University of Idaho

Sharpening Tribal Skills In Forest Pest Detection And Response
Nina Hapner, Kashia Bank of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria

Boulder County Emerald Ash Borer Outreach And Implementation Project
Carrie Haverfield, Boulder County Commissioners Office

Field Guide For Integrated Pest Management In Hops
Ann George, Washington Hop Commission