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PETE Insect Development Prediction Model to Limit Codling Moth in Apples

Gary Davy, manager of Kast Farms in Albion, NY, said pheromone dispensers were more expensive than some insecticides, but appeared to be more effective in preventing mating.  The farm used pheromone dispensers on 45 acres, of its 240 acre orchard, in field trials conducted with Cornell University in 2007 and 2008.
Gary Davy, manager of Kast Farms in Albion, NY, said pheromone dispensers were more expensive than some insecticides, but appeared to be more effective in preventing mating. The farm used pheromone dispensers on 45 acres, of its 240 acre orchard, in field trials conducted with Cornell University in 2007 and 2008.
Grant Program: ARP
Agricultural Sector: Fruit
Region: Statewide
Project Duration: 2/1/2007 - 1/31/2009
Amount Awarded: $77,200.00
Lead Organization: Cornell University
Other Organizations: CCE Wayne County, Eve Farm Service, Helena Chemical Company
Project Leader: Deborah Breth
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New York apple growers fight destructive codling moth
11/1/2009

Codling moth is an increasing threat to New York apple orchards.  Their damage causes buyers to reject fruit, and results in loss of income at the orchard.
 
A New York Farm Viability Institute-funded project is equipping growers with tools to control the pest, reduce production costs, protect the quality of their fruit, and earn higher premium prices.
 
Deborah Breth, a Cornell Cooperative Extension Associate with the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, leads the NYFVI project and works with growers to develop methods to reduce or eliminate the internal-feeding worm that can cause pinhole to core-depth damage in apples. She says 30 percent more of New York’s growers had infested fruit at harvest in 2008 than in 2007.
 
“Codling moth damage can reduce a processing fruit grower’s income by half. The premium price in 2008 was 13 cents per hundredweight; the juice price was 6 cents per hundredweight,” Breth says. “In some cases, apples have been entirely rejected at receiving stations.”
 
Gary Davy at Kast Farms located 10 miles south of Lake Ontario in Albion, NY, uses a combination approach to cope with coddling moth.
 
“We recognized codling moth as an increasing problem in 2005. Through the New York Farm Viability Institute project, we investigated the use of sprayable pheromones and pheromone dispensers for mating disruption of the moths,” Davy says.
 
Because spray coverage in the larger trees was not adequate to get insecticide to the treetops, Kast Farms purchased a new Rears Tower sprayer with electronic sensors.
 
“The addition of the tower sprayer improved our control even more,” Davy says, “and we now use mating disruption on 45 of the farm’s 240 orchard acres. Davy has seen an economic impact from changing the type of applications he uses.
 
“Using hand-applied pheromone dispensers (Isomate CM/OFM TT) and the lower-risk neonicotinoid insecticides, we were able to reduce the amount and cost of insecticide applications from eight sprays and $300 per acre to two applications at $150-160 per acre in a 15-acre trial orchard. Although the neonicotinoids are more expensive themselves, they are also more effective,” Davy says.
 
Breth says using the more labor-intensive, hand-applied pheromone dispensers provide more consistent pheromone saturation of the orchard, and the more consistent prevention of mating. The sprayable pheromones will work with the very intensive trapping and quick responsive by the grower to renew the pheromone with a special spray after rains. In orchards with a history of fruit infestation, incorporating the new, more expensive insecticides (the cost difference can range from $10 to $35 per acre), also provide improved control of organophosphate-resistant codling moth.
 
In addition to the use of pheromones, Davy has extended his early season monitoring of insect traps to season-long counts and watchfulness for late flight activity. 
 
Breth says the first generation hatch of codling moths can require as many as three sprays. The NY Farm Viability Institute-funded project helped modify the Predictive Extension Timing Predictor (PETE) developed by Michigan State University in the early 1970s to fit New York orchards. The New York edition of PETE combines growing degree days with continued monitoring of insect trap counts for season-long control response.
 
“We keep a sharp eye on our traps and use the (PETE) degree-day model modified for use in New York to help predict egg hatch. We watch for late first-hatch emergence and we use the sprays to target egg hatch rather than treat when the moths are already flying,” Davy says.
 
“Spraying was once calibrated for the entire season by the biofix for first flight. Research shows season-long vigilance to traps and other indicators must drive the timing of successive spraying and we need to target egg hatch rather than the adult moths,” Breth says.
 
Davy says, “Our goal is to eliminate the threat in the first generation as much as possible. Timing is critical to prevent infestation early.”
 
“If growers do not get control early, the moths expand their range on the farm and the extent of the damage they cause. They can overwinter in the bark of the trees and next year’s infestation is worse. Every generation that slips through causes more damage,” Breth says.
 
For Davy, the proof of success of his management strategy comes at the fruit inspection stations.
 
“We have seen positive results, no worms found, and 100 percent of our fruit now grading at premium prices,” he says.
 
Breth estimates that NY grower adoption of mating disruption and other IPM solutions for controlling codling moth has prevented $500,000 in apple farm income losses annually.
 
Davy is now working with Breth to fine tune the calibration of the pheromone applications for cost-effectiveness.
 
Another codling moth control option that growers are using is aerosol “puffers” that hang in the trees and mist pheromones into the air every 15 minutes from dusk to dawn.
 
Growers interested in IPM strategies to reduce coddling moths can contact Deborah Breth at 585-747-6039, dib1@cornell.edu. 
 
On the web:
www.fruit.cornell.edu/lof  
 
-       By Kara Lynn Dunn, NYFVI contributing writer
 
Published November 2009
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Gary Davy of Kast Farms in Albion, NY worked with Cornell University researchers as part of a NY Farm Viability Institute-funded project to demonstrate efficacy of mating-disruption pheromones in controling codling moth in apples.
Gary Davy of Kast Farms in Albion, NY worked with Cornell University researchers as part of a NY Farm Viability Institute-funded project to demonstrate efficacy of mating-disruption pheromones in controling codling moth in apples.
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