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In-season Product Efficacy Trials for Managing Diseases in Vegetable Crops

In partnership with industry, my extension/research program conducts product efficacy trials for commonly occurring diseases on tomatoes, snap beans, onions and cucurbits in PA.
Figure 1. Purplish-gray sporulation of downy mildew on cucumber.

Figure 1. Purplish-gray sporulation of downy mildew on cucumber.

In Pennsylvania over 3,950 growers produce over 280,000 tons of fresh market and processing vegetable on over 49,000 acres. One significant barrier to production are pests and diseases. Integrated disease management focuses on preventative strategies however, once disease symptoms are observed in the field or within the region, both conventional and organic growers often rely on the selection and application of in-season products for reducing disease development. In partnership with industry, my extension/research program conducts product efficacy trials for commonly occurring diseases on tomatoes, snap beans, onions and cucurbits in PA. With increasing concern about fungicide resistance and cost of inputs, the selection of the most effective fungicides/ biopesticides is an important component of an IPM program.

In an effort to help growers time those in-season applications of fungicides, we also participate in a number of larger regional and national projects, associated with pest monitoring and prediction efforts for diseases such as cucurbit and basil downy mildews (http://cdm.ipmpipe.org/index.php) and tomato/potato late blight (http://usablight.org). These help disseminate timely information about confirmed outbreaks that growers can use to make in-season disease management decisions. For the latest information regarding disease and insect outbreaks and vegetable crop production, visit our Vegetable and Small Fruit Extension Team website.

Figure 2. Fungicide trial for the management of powdery mildew on pumpkin cv. Howden in 2014.