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Grape integrated pest management (IPM) system: model to adoption and adaptation of IPM system for Canada

Project Code: PRR07-590

Project Lead

Margaret Appleby - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


To develop and implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) model to control cutworm, leafhoppers and grape berry moth in grapes, assist grape growers in adopting the IPM model, and measure the success of adoption and pesticide risk reduction resulting from the use of the model

Summary of Results


Grape production in Canada continues to increase, becoming an important crop for Canadian growers. The crop however is affected by a number of insect pests for which only few chemical control tools are available to growers. This project aimed to implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program in the newly designated Viticultural Area of Prince Edward County (PEC) in Ontario for three pests of major concern in grape production: cutworm, the leafhopper complex and grape berry moth. Cutworms are of particular concern in PEC, where vines are commonly buried in the soil for winter protection, causing damage to grapes early in the season by feeding on developing buds. Leafhopper adults and nymphs feed on the undersides of leaves, damaging and eventually destroying them. Grape berry moth causes damage by feeding on developing grape cluster. In some vineyards these pests may occur at different stages of the same season.


Field trials were conducted in several commercial vineyards in 2007-2009 to investigate the effectiveness of various IPM techniques for adoption in PEC vineyards to manage the targeted insect pests. By taking a participatory approach to research, these trials also become demonstration sites directly engaging local growers in evaluation of IPM techniques.

For cutworm management, trap cropping, an approach already researched and implemented successfully in the vineyards of British Columbia was investigated. The approach consisted of early seeding of canola or oil seed radish as cover crops in between the vine rows to be available for attracting cutworm larvae early in the spring when these are actively feeding.

For leafhopper complex management, targeted monitoring along with the use of biopesticides and cultural control methods were investigated. The approaches consisted of a) using yellow sticky traps at bud break to monitor the presence of grape leafhopper, three banded leafhopper and potato leafhopper, b) spraying grape plants with Surround (Kaolin clay) as opposed to insecticide applications, and c) leaf pulling around the fruit cluster.

For grape berry moth management, the mating disruption technique was investigated. The technique consisted of using pheromone dispensers, Isomate GBM Plus twist ties, applied at the rate of 500 dispensers/hectare and deploying sentinel traps checked weekly for moth presence.

A variety of extension tools and venues were pursued to disseminate the project findings and deliver resulting recommendations on adoption of successful IPM techniques to grape growers in PEC region. A survey of grape growers in the region was also conducted to identify current practices and the potential of grower adoption of the alternative tools recommended through this project.


The field trials demonstrated various levels of success.

Following a survey of locally collected cutworm specimens, the National Identification Service for Nematodes, Arachnids and Insects of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada identified the species causing damage in PEC as darksided cutworm (Euxoa messoria [Harris]). The study observed that in PEC, young (2-3 year old) vineyard plantations appear to be more vulnerable to cutworm damage. The cover crop strategy for cutworm management in PEC in the following years of this study was therefore modified to target young plantings at risk.

Early establishment of canola using a roller to incorporate the seed was the best trap crop treatment reducing cutworm damage in young grapes. Flea beetle damage to grapes was also reduced as a result of this approach. It was recommended to incorporate the canola plants into the soil soon after the cutworm activity is over, before canola produces flowers.

Surround was found to be an effective means of reducing damage by leafhoppers. It was recommended to spray Surround at pre-bloom or at immediate post bloom with two applications at full rate to establish the required protective layer, then using reduced rate to maintain coverage thereafter. Leaf pulling, a method developed by researchers in British Columbia, did not prove to be practical for leafhopper control in PEC region. Instead, growers in this area are using leaf pulling technique around fruit cluster to reduce disease development after blooming.

The mating disruption technique was found to provide some protection against grape berry moth in vineyards that were at least 2 hectares in size and where dispensers were set up early in the season, before the first moth flight. To achieve good results, it is recommended to distribute the ties evenly throughout the vineyard at a rate of 500 ties/hectare.

To assist growers in adopting IPM strategies, IPM guidance bulletins were developed and disseminated weekly to 50-90 growers and industry representatives in the region. The content of the bulletins was developed with expert advice on the use of IPM techniques and practices, including recommendations specific to the region as resulted from the studies in this project. Also, 10 study group meetings were held with grape growers in each year and 3 annual field days were held to highlight the findings from this project. Results from the pre- and post-project grower surveys suggest there has been a substantial increase in the number of growers in the area applying the recommended IPM approaches.

An additional deliverable of this project was the inclusion of grape crop into the Fruit Tracker tool, a record keeping software previously developed for apples and berries. Fruit Tracker is an electronic system that enables growers to comply with food safety and traceability requirements through easy storing, tracking and reporting on all records regarding production and pest management practices implemented in their crops. Grower workshops were held to introduce the tool and provide necessary training for it use.

For more information, Margaret Appleby.

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