Cornell University entomologist Elson J. Shields and research specialist Antonio M. Testa have written an article on the “Biological Control of Alfalfa Snout Beetle with Persistent Entomopathogenic Nematodes: Expanding a Single Farm’s Success to an Area-Wide Biological Control Program” for the Winter 2017 issue of American Entomologist. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is acknowledged for its long-term funding of the research to develop the science of this project.
Shields and Testa answer the following questions in the illustrated article:
. Can a cost-effective EPN (entomopathogenic nematode) mass-rearing procedure be developed that is both farmer-friendly and low-labor while retaining the genes for persistence?
. Can EPN application rates and techniques be adapted to low-value crops and typical commercial pesticide application equipment? Is timing of application also important?
. What is the best mix of EPN species to successfully attack ASB?
. How well will the adapted persistent EPNs persist across typical soil types and cropping rotations found within the northern New York ASB-infested area?
. Will a single application of EPNs under the inoculative strategy provide enough mortality to ASB populations to reduce population levels to sub-economic?
. Will farmers embrace an area-wide biological control program against ASB utilizing native persistent EPNs even though impact after application may not be seen for two to four years?
. How will the biological program be sustained for the long term? (This section notes the establishment of one nematode-rearing business with room for others to commercially rear, sell and apply the EPNs to continue the battle to manage ASB to protect regional alfalfa crops).
NNYADP ASB Research: Reports, Fact Sheets, Photos, Video
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