NCSU Transition Team for Methyl Bromide helps growers maintain yields while improving the ozone layer

A group of extension specialists at NC State University have helped growers use integrated pest management to transition away from a toxic fumigant while maintaining their yields. Decreased use of the fumigant has had positive environmental consequences as well: the decreased use has led to lower bromine levels in the atmosphere, accounting for one-third of the measured decrease in ozone depleting halogens above the Antarctica.

The transition away from the pesticide methyl bromide began in 2005, in response to scientific data linking it to decreasing ozone levels in the atmosphere. Developed countries banned methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1987 to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. In the United States, the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture devised a funding mechanism to help scientists gradually wean farmers away from methyl bromide use. Each year, scientists would apply for “critical use exemptions” to specify how much methyl bromide they felt farmers in their state would need while they searched for alternatives. The funding mechanism was called the “Methyl Bromide Alternatives Program.” Continue reading

IPM Leader receives Excellence in Extension Award

At their national meeting in August, the American Phytopathological Society recognized Center for Integrated Pest Management Director Frank Louws with the Excellence in Extension award for his outstanding Extension activities.

One of the primary examples of Dr. Louws’ Extension-based successes is his NC State University department, the Center for IPM. The Center has multiple cooperative agreements with USDA Animal Plant Health Investigative Service and grant funded projects with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, including the Southern IPM Center. Many of these projects generate new information and translates the information to end-users including farmers, industry organizations and government agencies. Continue reading

National specialty crop project explores new possibilities for grafted tomato and cucurbit plants

Five years ago, a North Carolina State University-led specialty crop project helped several U.S. growers use grafted tomato plants to return land plagued by bacterial wilt to production. The project paired needy growers with companies such as Ontario Plant Propagators that supplied grafted plants. Now NC State researchers are leading a new project that promises to find ways that grafted plants can give growers more choices to manage diseases and add value to their cucurbit and tomato crops. Continue reading