Extension IPM to benefit from $638k in NIFA grant project
The MSU IPM team exemplifies the “integrated” in integrated pest management.
The practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) calls for various approaches across multiple disciplines to provide safer, effective pest management. A team led by IPM communications manager Joy Landis will combine its diverse expertise—from cover crops and plant pathology to pollination and digital communications—to promote the adoption of IPM. Here is a look at a few of the Extension activities included in this three-year grant from USDA NIFA’s Crop Protection and Pest Management Program.
- Michigan State University Extension’s IPM educator Erin Lizotte specializes in new and emerging crops that help growers diversify. She manages regional biological and weather-related trap lines and scouting programs to provide pest management reports for Michigan’s hop and chestnut growers. Her findings and recommendations are shared throughout the northeastern United States through regular videoconferencing she hosts during the growing season with multi-state/province collaborators. The conferencing brings Extension educators together to discuss current pest concerns and IPM tactics that span cultural alternatives to conventional pesticides. New knowledge on hop and chestnut production and IPM are published by Lizotte in MSU Extension’s News.
- IPM communications specialist Mallory Fournier will partner with Landis in providing new and experienced growers with access to data and advice tailored to Michigan’s inconsistent growing seasons through MSU Extension’s News. The two edit and post nearly 700 articles each year, usually available online on the day the author submits them. The authors include over 75 MSU campus and field faculty who produce timely IPM and related articles covering emerging risks like invasive pests and pesticide resistance.
- MSU Extension’s sustainable agriculture educator Dean Baas will bring IPM information to two audiences less familiar with MSU Extension: Native American farmers and veteran farmers. Baas will collaborate with the Intertribal Agriculture Council to bring sustainable agriculture programming to the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit. Typically, representatives from over 40 tribal nations attend the summit. In another collaboration, he will offer IPM training to veterans through the Michigan-based Veterans in Agriculture Network.
- Baas and Lizotte will address two emerging agricultural issues concurrently, vertebrate pest management and habitat for pollinators. They will establish edge-of-field demonstration plots using continuous living cover combined with wildflower species known to attract whitetail deer and that are also preferred habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects. The project leverages research by MSU Extension field crops educator James DeDecker on reducing crop loss to deer damage through edge-of-field strips and also research through MSU Entomology’s Rufus Isaacs and Meghan Milbrath into habitat for pollinator protection. DeDecker and Milbrath will consult and advise on this work.
- Along with IPM, the project objectives include pollinator protection. Landis is collaborating with MSU Entomology’s Zsofia Szendrei in leveraging her research into pollinator protection. Szendrei and collaborators will use findings from three multi-state research grants to identify the most common pollinators foraging and living in cucurbit fields and how field practices could be adapted to limit impact on pollinator health. Szendrei’s team will work with Landis to produce a publication and video to share this information with growers throughout the Midwest.