The Almond Pest Management Alliance (PMA), with its publication of a Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds, has earned an IPM Innovator Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) for 2007.
Since 1994, DPR has given out more than 100 Integrated Pest Management Innovator awards to honor California organizations that emphasize pest prevention, favor least-hazardous pest control, and share their successful strategies with others.
In 1998, the Almond PMA was initiated by the Almond Board of California with funding from DPR to evaluate the possibility of reducing pesticide use in California almonds.
“This is the second time that the almond industry has been honored with an Innovator Award,” said DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam. “This underscores the fact that the Almond Alliance is one of the most progressive commodity groups in California.”
The PMA is a cooperative effort among industry stakeholders including the Almond Board of California, the Board’s Environmental Committee, the Almond Hullers and Processors Association, the UC Statewide IPM Program, UC Cooperative Extension, pest control advisors and growers, DPR, and U.S. EPA Region 9. UC IPM Advisors Walt Bentley and Carolyn Pickel led this project.
"All the players—the Almond Board, DPR, UCCE, and UC IPM—partnered to make this effort a success," says Pickel. "The seasonal guide was a new approach to organizing IPM information to highlight environmentally responsible practices and give thresholds for growers to follow. The Almond PMA demonstrations showed that growers could use these pest management practices over the long term without substantial increases in pest populations."
With increased funding from the Almond Board, the PMA was continued (in Butte and Kern counties) for a sixth year in 2004.
The PMA demonstrates and evaluates reduced-risk pest management methods in local orchards, and uses intensive monitoring to reduce the possibility of damage to the crop. The alliance has been able to track pest populations, damage levels, and economic data over several years to examine the long-term effects of reduced pesticide inputs.
Education and outreach is also a major component of this project. The PMA has conducted field meetings and dormant-season workshops, complete with hands-on training and demonstrations.
The PMA is responsible for a Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds, a decision guide that includes information to help almond growers make environmentally responsible pest management decisions year round, without decreased yields or increased reject levels.
The guide has information on how to manage almond pests by first considering environmentally friendly and low toxicity materials. It also gives guidelines and thresholds for situations where growers may need to use a broad-spectrum insecticide. This information is based on UC research and results of the Almond PMA. In addition, the PMA’s newsletters contain updates on the regional projects and detailed information on implementation of reduced-risk pest management systems in almonds.
The guide was written by UC IPM Program advisors in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and UCCE farm advisors from Butte, Stanislaus, and Kern counties.
The eight-page Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management in Almonds, UC ANR Publication 21619, is available from the University of California for $7. Call 1-800-994-8849.