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Ecologically Smart Choices Outlined in Tomato Year-round Program

The Tomato Magazine
February 2007

One of California’s tomato research leaders hails the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management tomato year-round IPM program as an integral part of sustainable farm management for processing tomatoes.

“The new tomato IPM year-round program was designed to encompass many of those farming aspects not traditionally considered pest management and to serve as the main UC documentation of best farming practices in processing tomatoes,” says Charles Rivara, director of California Tomato Research Institute, Inc. “It’s also a major component of our forthcoming self-assessment workbook of sustainable practices.”

The year-round IPM programs identify major activities growers need to do at each crop growing stage to implement a comprehensive IPM program and can be found at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG.

“The year-round format is a welcome addition to the already popular IPM pest management guidelines,” says Rivara. “For years, tomato growers and their advisors have been using the guidelines for pest management issues. Processing tomatoes was one of the first crops to benefi t from applied UC IPM research and continues to benefit from UC innovation such as water quality, disease modeling and pest sampling. With its history of scientifi c quality and independence, UC brings so much to our efforts to develop a sustainable tomato program.”

The tomato year-round IPM program covers the major pests of tomatoes for processing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

Growers who use the year-round IPM program for tomatoes can earn $125 per acre through the California Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program in 2008.

Based on UC research and expertise, the year-round IPM programs provide annual checklists that guide farmers through a year of monitoring pests, making management decisions, and planning for the following season.

The year-round program provides practical tools for growers and PCAs such as season-specifi c activity checklists that integrate management practices for insects, mites, pathogens, weeds, nematodes and vertebrate pests into a thorough IPM program. Each checklist item links to a UC IPM pest management guideline for in-depth information on how to carry out management practices, monitor for pests, and choose appropriate management tools.

The programs also outline specifi c IPM practices that reduce water quality risks and other environmental problems. Problem pesticides are identified through the UC IPM WaterTox database that rates available options according to their potential to damage water quality. Growers following these procedures should meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act and avoid off-site movement of toxic pesticides into waterways.

The tomato year-round program also offers detailed procedures for determining the need for treatments for pests such as potato aphids and fruitworm and includes monitoring procedures, record-keeping forms, treatment thresholds, and photos of important pests and natural enemies.

© 2007 Columbia Publishing

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