Dissemination of information on integrated pest management techniques in greenhouse floriculture through workshops

Project code PRR11-020

Project Lead

Jamie Aalbers and Cary Gates Flowers Canada 

Objective

Through interactive workshops educate greenhouse flower growers about innovative reduced risk pest management practices and their adoption opportunities

Summary of Results

Background

The Pesticide Risk Reduction Program works with stakeholders to reduce the risks from pesticide use in Canadian agriculture. Increasing grower uptake of integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, including biological control and other reduced risk methods has been identified as a top priority for the industry. The Pesticide Risk Reduction Greenhouse Floriculture working group identified high impact workshops held at major greenhouse grower events as a means to effectively improve grower knowledge about proven IPM techniques. Through this project two workshops were held, one in in Niagara Falls, Ontario and one in Langley, British Columbia.

Approaches

An oversight group was formed to develop the workshop structure, find innovative researchers/speakers and spread awareness of the workshops. The workshop oversight group was composed of members from the pest management industry and Flowers Canada Growers Incorporated with support and input from EngageAgro Corporation, Biobest B.V. and Syngenta Canada. A significant focus on biological pest control and reduced risk pest management approaches was heavily emphasized.

For both workshops, 45 minute “traditional lectures” in combination with hands-on mini workshops were used to transfer different kinds of information to the workshop participants. Post workshop surveys were used to evaluate the usefulness of the workshops to attendees.

Results

The first workshop, targeted at central and eastern growers, was held in Niagara Falls, Ontario in conjunction with the Canadian Greenhouse Conference. The structure included two, 45 minute presentations with 15 minutes of question and answer sessions from the keynote speakers and four rotating, 20 minute mini workshops. Two keynote speakers, one focused on entomology and one on pathology, gave 45 minute talks and hosted mini workshops.

Juliette Pijnakker, an entomological research scientist specializing in biological pest management of several common greenhouse pests such as thrips, mites, mealybugs, scale and whitefly from Wageningen University in the Netherlands presented “Integrated Pest Management of whitefly in ornamentals”. Dr. Gary Moorman, a plant pathology professor and extension specialist at Pennsylvania State University gave a presentation titled “Disease Management in Flowers”.

Following the oral presentations the four, 20 minute hands-on workshops were run simultaneously, with participants rotating through each. These mini workshops included: Effective Scouting in Floriculture Crops by Graeme Murphy (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs extension specialist); Plant Disease Identification by Gary Moorman; Tools for Assessing Health of Biocontrols by Rose Buitenhuis (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre Research Scientist); and Whitefly Control Options by Juliette Pijnakker.

At the Langley, British Columbia workshop there were four, 45 minute presentations and two hands on workshops. Two keynote speakers, one specialized in pathology and one specialized in entomology were invited to deliver two presentations each, and host one workshop station. The keynote speakers were: Dr. Ann Chase, a former professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida, now operating her own ornamental research and consultation company in California/Arizona and Dr. Mike Parrella a professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, whose research focuses on the development of integrated pest management strategies for ornamental crops, with an emphasis on biological control.

The presentations included: “Disease Detection and Diagnosis in Flower Crops” and “Disease Management with Cultural, Chemical and Biological Methods”: both by Dr. Ann Chase and “Invasive Pests – Keeping them out of the Greenhouse” and “Practical applications of biological control research at UC Davis”, both by Dr. Mike Parrella. The two workshops were: “Plant Disease Identification” and “Western Flower Thrips”.

The program also included a half hour open forum discussion on leafminer control and two ten minute presentations on “The latest in floriculture pest management products, services and support” and “New advancements in flower research and education – a Kwantlen perspective”.

As many growers had limited familiarity with concepts of biocontrol, these events served as an introduction to the use of reduced risk approaches to pest management. It was envisioned that the workshops and information sessions would provide growers with greater confidence to shift away from the use of conventional pest management practices and transition towards more IPM approaches. Feedback received through questionnaires, and through the oversight group indicates these workshops helped to educate Canadian floriculture growers on the availability of IPM in Canada.

Next Steps

In light of the favorable response from growers to these two pilot IPM workshops, the industry is now considering how it might include such IPM training sessions in established meetings on an annual basis. These events also provide an important, informal opportunity for networking and ad hoc discussions between growers, making events of this kind valuable in terms of networking, information dissemination and providing assistance to growers.

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