Biocontrols and Fruit Growing

  • 45% of American fruit growing operations use biocontrols
  • What kind of fruit grower is more likley to use biocontrols?
    • Organic growers
    • Operations with a “next generation” are more likely to use biocontrols
    • Vertically integrated farms with packing divisions
    • Larger farms (great than 1,000 acres)
    • Farms making more than $1 million/year
    • Western Fruit Growers

MIller, Carol. Growing Produce. How Fruit Growers Use Biocontrols (Infographic). (April 17, 2017)

Herbicide Resistance Is Real

“Dramatic growth in the number of herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds, increasing concerns about the evolution of weeds resistant to multiple herbicide mechanisms of action (MOAs), and the current public discourse regarding resistance to the herbicide glyphosate, have brought the issue of herbicide resistance to a level of attention never before seen within either the agricultural or public sectors.”

Consequently, the Weed Science Society of America hosted seven Listening Sessions about herbicide resistance throughout the US. On February 15, 2017, I attended the listening session that brought together weed scientists from the Southwest United States.

Weed Scientists hard at work sharing thoughs and ideas about the causes and how to manage herbicide resistance in the SouthWest United States.

Two articles specifically summarize the herbicide resistance listening sessions: Managing Wicked Herbicide-Resistance: Lessons from the Field and Managing Herbicide Resistance: Listening to the Perspectives of Practitioners. Procedures for Conducting Listening Sessions and an Evaluation of the Process. Both articles are open access articles and may be found in Weed Technology.

Agrochemical Family Tree

Here is an Agrochemical Family tree. You may note that since this “family tree” was made, Dow and Dupont have merged, and Syngenta has been purchased by the Chinese and Bayer has purchased Monsanto. 

When I took my first job in Agriculture in 1980, there were more than 40 Agrochemical companies. Today, there is a handful.  In addition, there are several small and mid-size companies selling old, tired generic products. There are some legitimate startup companies and lots of excitement about biological products. 

This consolidation has been echoed in the seed, fertilizer, transportation and grocery industries. Now, we are seeing major consolidation among produce “handlers”. There are 20% less today than there were a couple of years ago.

The point? Consolidation is not new.

And although activists are expressing concern, that concern is too late. The reality is that over the course of the last 35 years, there should have been more effort to prevent rampant consolidation. OR! At the very least, more effort should have been made to create an environment in which it was not so advantageous to continuously consolidate our food supply in the hands of so few.

Oh well. At the time the consolidations were accelerating, it was Ag, and it was boundless. and it was low tech, and it wasn’t sexy. So did the consolidations really matter? Right? 

Stopping Invasive Pests

Border Surveillance for Invasive Pests

In October 2014, the USDA confirmed the interception of Phaecasiopha fernaldana Walsingham, a particularly devastating to apples fruit, apple buds, leaves and shoots. This was the first detection of this pest in the US.

This article illustrates the importance of diligent and consistent border inspections for invasive species.

Herrick, Christina. Invasive Pest Found First Time in U.S. At Border Crossing. Growing Produce. (October 20, 2014)

Reposted form October 22, 2014 Facebook post.