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Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds

Environmentally responsible pest management guide published for California almond growers

Davis, California - - A guide to help almond growers make environmentally responsible pest management decisions year-round without decreasing their yields or increasing their reject levels has been published by the University of California.

The Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds summarizes practices demonstrated in a 5-year project funded with $476,000 in Pest Management Alliance grants from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). The Almond Pest Management Alliance, which coordinated the demonstrations, is a public/private partnership of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisors and area Integrated Pest Management (UC Statewide IPM Program) advisors, the Almond Board of California, the Almond Hullers and Processors Association and DPR.

"We are pleased to make available to almond growers the results of five years of research into the pros and cons of a reduced-risk system of almond production," said Chris Heintz, director of production research and the environment for the Almond Board of California. "Results show that extensive orchard monitoring is the key to success in controlling key pests and diseases. Reduced risk practices appear to be useful in controlling pests below economic damage levels. This Seasonal Guide contains color photographs and seasonal tips that will help growers carry out an effective reduced risk IPM program."

Authored by UC Statewide IPM Program advisors in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys and UCCE farm advisors in Butte, Stanislaus and Kern counties, the Seasonal Guide builds on many years of accumulated UC research directed at environmentally sound solutions to almond pest problems. Dr. Rick Roush, Director of the UC Statewide IPM Program, stated, "Pest management problems are not easily solved and continue to change. Many people have been involved in developing IPM programs for almonds, and we are delighted to have coordinated the production of this guide, which connects and summarizes all of this research."

Added DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam: "This guide is a tangible example of the benefits of public-private partnerships to advance the cause of reduced-risk pest management. DPR applauds almond growers who demonstrate that what's good for business can also be good for the environment."

The Seasonal Guide points out to growers that a seasonal approach is needed in managing pests in an environmentally friendly manner. Because it is important to monitor for pests in the dormant period or early in the year before pests reach thresholds that require treatment, the Seasonal Guide outlines steps growers can take in their orchard during each particular period of the year.

Publication of the Seasonal Guide was made possible by a grant provided by the U.S. EPA to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The $40,000 grant was awarded in October 2003 to help growers understand new state regulations that protect waterways from pesticide impacts and to support the almond industry's efforts to promote more environmentally sensitive methods of pest control.

"We appreciate the almond industry's leadership in educating its growers about how to manage pests in an environmentally friendly manner," said Kathy Taylor, Agriculture Program Director in EPA's Pacific Southwest regional office. "This guide should be a great asset as the industry takes important voluntary efforts to address the potential impacts of pesticides on air and water quality."

As part of the grant, DPR, in cooperation with UC Cooperative Extension, will sponsor a series of grower workshops to help growers understand the relationship between their pest management practices and the state's dormant spray regulations and pollutant loads into waterways. "We look forward to working with the almond industry in our ongoing efforts to better understand dormant spray impacts and best management practices," said DPR Director Warmerdam.

The 8-page Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management in Almonds, UC ANR Publication 21619 will be distributed to growers attending the Almond Board's annual research conference Dec. 1-2 and will also be mailed to almond growers throughout the state. The guide is also available from the University of California for $7.00 by calling 1-800-994-8849 or logging on to http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu. Sales tax, shipping, and handling are added to the cost of each order. Quantity and reseller discounts are available. Further details on the Year-Round IPM Program for Almonds can also be found on the Pest Management Guidelines page of the UC Statewide IPM Program web site.

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