Watch as Farmers Grow

Insect Scouting – NOFA CIG 2019, at NorthSlopeFarm

December 31st, 2019 | Posted by miker in References

First season, Three year Soil Health Grant – sub focus, IPM Scouting.

Paige Sirak, a junior at South Hunterdon Regional Highschool, and multi term, Chapter President, of the local Future Farmers of America, performed weekly insect scouting, for two months. North Slope Farm is grateful for her generous donation of time and focus, notes and photos!

The USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, awarded to NOFA’s Mass., Conn. and New Jersey is collecting data from 3 farms, from three states, on reduced tillage practices. One piece of the data collection is Insect and Pest Management (IPM) Scouting, to see if there are any obvious signs of benefit or challenges, associated with our reduced tillage practices. Meredith Melendez, of Mercer County Rutgers Cooperative Extension, visited the participating farms, in New Jersey, and reviewed the primary insect pests and problems we wanted to scout for. Meredith provided data collection forms and background information on some of the primary pests.

We choose to monitor Summer Squash, Leafy Greens and Carrots. Insects we expected to see were Squash Bugs, Cabbage Worm, Flea Beetles, Shield Bugs, and in carrots we were unsure what kind of soil nematode has always given us trouble. The details of Paige’s scouting will be posted below, but in brief, here are some conclusions. Paige identified our carrot pest to be; Carrot Rust Fly. This was exciting because our hope is that reduced tillage will yield a more robust soil predator population, and we hoped to see a reduction in Carrot Rust Fly damage as soil was left undisturbed. We believe we saw reduced damage, by the end of the season. Another interesting observation was intense insect pressure on Napa Cabbage, that didn’t end up affecting the total yield much, allowing us to avoid spraying, despite the presence of pests.

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