ITHACA, N.Y. — Western bean cutworm (WBC) is a moth pest of dry beans. While in their larval stage, WBCs eat dry bean pods causing damage directly to the bean and leading to yield loss. While more common in parts of the West and Midwest, the pest has moved into New York State. Since WBC monitoring began in New York in 2012, moth numbers have increased and indications point to their numbers continuing to grow in the future.
Integrated Pest Management relies on effective scouting and monitoring of pests. The growers on the New York Farm Viability Institute review panel prioritized this project, Enhance western bean cutworm trapping methods for accurate monitoring and management in major New York dry bean production areas, to protect the 12,000 acres of dry beans grown in New York each year.
Headed by researchers at Cornell University, the project seeks to address problems in WBC monitoring and trapping. Historically, WBC monitoring has taken place in 8-12 fields in western NY, which is where most dry bean production in the state takes place. Current monitoring methods rely on old recommendations and cost-effective products which may not be the most effective. In the project, monitoring will expand to 24 fields across different farms in western NY to get a broader view of WBC prevalence in the state. In terms of trapping, the project will also measure impacts of trap type, lure type, and field location on moth catch per trap.
Through this project researchers seek to improve WBC tracking, provide results that will educate growers on the importance of trapping for WBC, and increase preparedness on NY farms to combat WBCs. Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Specialist and project leader Margie Lund said of the project, “We are excited to expand on previous work monitoring Western bean cutworm in dry beans in western New York through the NYFVI. This funding will allow us to monitor pest numbers across more dry bean acreage than we have been able to in the past, as well as test trapping methods to ensure we are best serving New York dry bean growers with our trapping efforts.”
The New York Farm Viability Institute is a nonprofit grantmaking organization. The organization runs a competitive grant program that seeks to fund agricultural research and education projects that will create and share knowledge to improve the economic viability of New York’s farmers. If you are a New York farmer and would like to get involved in our review process, please reach out to Aileen Randolph at email@example.com.
–New York Farm Viability Institute