SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded a total of $1,110,283 funding for three projects to be administered through the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) Proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Solutions grant program. Each of the projects received strong support from commodities which could be affected by invasive pests. A review committee composed of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of California, state government and private pest control advisors scored the proposals and made recommendations to CDFA. Each of the following projects will last three years:
• Project leaders Dr. Mark Hoddle and Dr. Jocelyn Millar of the University of California, Riverside, will receive $348,893 for “Proactive Management of Avocado Seed and Stem Feeding Weevils, Heilipus spp. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Molytinae).” This project will develop pheromones, identify natural enemies in the host range, and quantify flight capacity of the avocado seed weevils. Native to Mexico and invasive in Ecuador, these weevils feed directly on avocados and could cause substantial damage to the California avocado industry. The California Avocado Commission pledged an additional $150,000 to support this project, a testament to their concern over this pest. The work will be conducted mainly at UC Riverside and in Mexico.
• Project leader Dr. Ian Grettenberger and his research collaborators from the University of California, Davis, will receive $499,847 for “A proactive approach to prepare for the invasion of Tuta absoluta into California.” T. absoluta, a tomato leafminer, is a serious pest throughout Europe, Africa, western Asia and South and Central America and could decimate California’s tomato industry. This project will proactively test targeted insecticides, identify native natural enemies that could be used in biological control, and conduct work to assist in breeding plants resistant to this pest. This project will be conducted at UC Davis, throughout California, and in Chile and Peru.
• Project leaders Dr. Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia, Dr. Ian Grettenberger and Dr. Daniel Hasegawa of the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will receive $261,543 for “Detection, biology and control of the exotic Swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii) for California cole crops.” Swede midge is a pest of cole crops in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada and could cause significant management issues for California’s large cole crop industry. This project will collect important information about the biology of Swede midge, test low impact insecticides and botanical products as options for control, assess the possibility of weeds as alternative hosts, and work with growers to start monitoring for the pest. This project will be conducted mainly at UC Davis and in the Salinas Valley.
The goal of the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program is to anticipate which exotic pests are likely to arrive in California and to identify and test IPM strategies that can be rapidly implemented if the pests become established in California. CDFA is responsible for preventing and mitigating invasive pests in California. Techniques resulting from the Proactive IPM Solutions Program will allow for rapid deployment of future management plans.
Detailed information on this program, including the application process and application requirements, is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/opca/proactive-ipm.html
Funding for this grant program was allocated to CDFA’s Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) to help California’s farmers transition away from the insecticide chlorpyrifos. OPCA provides consultation to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation on pesticide regulatory matters with a focus on potential pesticide regulatory impacts and pest management alternatives that may mitigate or prevent such impacts on production agriculture. OPCA staff are also involved in other projects relating to pesticide use and alternatives.
Information on the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis is available at: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/opca/
–California Department of Food and Agriculture
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