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Annual Reports

2003IPM in Action (1 of 2)

Education needed for urban pesticide users

Urban pesticide userWhile agricultural pesticide use in California is reported to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the record for pesticide use in urban areas is very incomplete. Several recent UC IPM studies have tried to get a handle on residential pesticide use and attitudes, especially since it has become apparent that urban contributions to water quality problems are significant.

UC IPM Advisor Cheryl Wilen carried out two studies in southern California in 2000-01 and Mary Louise Flint followed up with a set of comparison surveys in northern California in 2002-03.

About 75 to 80% of California residents in most areas report pesticide use in their landscapes or other outdoor areas. (This figure is 60% in the SF Bay Area.) Few could name the active ingredient in the products they used. By far the most common target of treatment was ants. More than half of those surveyed don’t follow label directions carefully when mixing and more than half dispose of unused pesticide products improperly. A significant portion still poured leftovers down the drain. Encouragingly, many people were aware of water quality issues associated with pesticide use, but most didn’t know how they could reduce problems.

Educational recommendations are made in the Wilen and Flint reports on the DPR Web site. Wilen and Flint along with Minghua Zhang from Land Air Water Resources, UC Davis, are following up with a just-initiated survey of pesticide use, attitudes, and outreach strategies for commercial pesticide users in urban areas.

Third annual Education Day for retail nursery employees a success

Over 120 people attended the third annual UC IPM-coordinated UC Cooperative Extension/California Certified Nursery Professionals education day for retail nursery employees and others who give advice to consumers about landscape and garden maintenance.

This group is an essential extender of pest management information to millions of California households. The program included presentations on home and garden pesticide use, selecting quality container plants, and invasive species sold in nurseries. Hands-on activities and tours spotlighted native plants in the UC Davis Arboretum, diagnosing insect and disease problems on ornamentals and home orchards, a tour of the UC Davis Environmental Horticulture Department, and irrigation issues in the landscape.

Presenters included Steve Dreistadt and Mary Louise Flint (UC IPM Program); Richard Evans, Loren Oki, and Larry Schwankl (UC Cooperative Extension Specialists); Lynn Wunderlich and Mario Moratorio (UC Farm Advisors); Ellen Zagory and Ryan Deering (UC Davis Arboretum); Brian Kempf (Urban Tree Foundation); and Alison Stanton (California Exotic Pest Plant Council).

Weed School

Weed management can mitigate environmental pollution and resource conservation Agroecosystems in the Central Valley are being challenged to reduce pollutants in the environment and ground water. Such concerns have encouraged producers to explore the potential of conservation tillage and reduced input systems. However, uncertainties about weed species changes and the implications for weed management are major concerns for growers transitioning to conservation tillage systems.

UC IPM Advisor Anil Shrestha is collaborating with UC Conservation Tillage Workgroup members Jeff Mitchell (UC Davis Specialist), Ron Vargas (UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor and Director, Madera County), and Darrell Cordova (Cordova Farms) to study weed population dynamics under conventional and conservation tillage in a small grain-bean rotation.

First-year results show that weed populations, biomass, and species composition differ between conventional and conservation tillage systems. Another study looks at weed populations in tomatoes under conservation and conventional tillage with furrow or sub-surface drip irrigation.

Anil is conducting this work in collaboration with UC Davis Specialists Tom Lanini and Jeff Mitchell, UC Farm Advisor Gene Miyao (Yolo/Solano counties), UC Davis Associate Professor William Horwath, and UC Davis graduate student Kipp Sutton. To look at how alteration in cropping systems might affect weed growth and development, Anil conducted a study with Extension Viticulture Specialist Mathew Fidelibus that demonstrated that the growth of black nightshade could be affected by vine row direction of grapes.

In addition, a study was also conducted with UC Riverside Air Quality Effects Specialist David Grantz to assess crop-weed competition under differing ozone levels. Results of all these studies will be extended to growers after completion of the experiments.

Agricultural Health and Safety Conference held in San Francisco

Barry Wilson (right), professor of Animal Science at UC Davis discusses his work at the Agricultural Health and Safety Conference The UC IPM Program co-sponsored "Challenges in Agricultural Health and Safety," a conference exploring current research, intervention, and outreach activities related to critical health and safety issues facing the agricultural workforce.

Held in San Francisco, September 7 through 9, 2003, the conference brought together researchers, health care providers, educators, state and federal regulatory agencies, engineers, economists, sociologists, Cooperative Extension advisors, students, and others.

The more than 120 conference participants met in plenary sessions to explore five thematic areas of concern: respiratory disease in western agriculture; farm families and life cycle health; minority and farm worker health; agricultural injuries and ergonomics; and policy and regulatory issues in agriculture. Also, through more than 25 poster displays, conference participants were able to highlight and discuss their work in detail with others.

The conference was a joint meeting between the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis and the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. These centers are funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and are two of the nine NIOSH-funded regional agricultural health and safety centers in the United States.

The Pesticide Safety Education Program’s Director, Patrick O’Connor-Marer, chaired the conference program. O’Connor-Marer serves as the Deputy Director of the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis.

Consumer IPM cards reach a wide audience

Consumer IPM cardsSince the first print run three years ago, more than 300,000 of UC IPM's consumer pest cards have found their way into the pockets of pest-weary Californians.

These attractive, colorful cards give quick information on how to manage common pests without polluting waterways and refer users to the more in-depth Pest Notes for additional information. Cards for ants, aphids, cockroaches, fleas, head lice, lawn insects, rats, snails and slugs, spiders, termites, and tree borers as well as for pesticide safety and beneficial insects and IPM have been printed. Most are available in both English and Spanish.

The big distributors for the cards have been the county UC Cooperative Extension offices, especially the Master Gardener programs. Forty-one county offices have distributed the cards at such sites as farmers' markets, county and state fairs, Earth Day events, professional meetings, workshops, landscape and garden expositions, and at Master Gardener plant health clinics.

The consumer IPM cards are also available on the UC IPM Web site, along with the Pest Notes, as Quick Tips and as downloadable PDFs.

Safety training for pesticide handlers

Improper use of pesticides lead to water contaminationAn important goal of the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) is to extend knowledge about pesticide safety to as many pesticide handlers as possible.

A particularly effective way to reach this goal is to leverage efforts by teaching people how to train others. Currently, PSEP is collaborating with the California Minor Crops Council in developing train-the-trainer workshops for mid-sized farming operations in the Central Coast and northern Sacramento Valley that are aimed at training pesticide applicators and their supervisors to become trainers of their peers.

This project focuses on heightening awareness of pesticide hazards and reducing the risks of community exposure and water contamination from pesticide applications. Funding was provided by the Governor's Buy California Initiative, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the University of California's Specialty Crops Research Program.

The project involves two phases: a "Training of Trainers" phase in which PSEP staff train pesticide handlers and supervisors of pesticide handlers who volunteer to train their peers; and an "Extension of Training" phase in which these peer trainers extend their training to other pesticide handlers and their supervisors. After completing this program, participants will be equipped to subsequently conduct ongoing independent training events within their own communities on how to

  • prevent pesticide drift and surface water and groundwater contamination
  • reduce risks to workers and communities
  • incorporate IPM concepts into their pest management programs.
The first training events are scheduled for Chico (January 15, 2004) and San Luis Obispo (March 2004). For information about registration, call PSEP (530-752-5273).

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