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Kentucky Apple Integrated Crop Management Manual


Agriculture is the world's most important industry because of rapidly expanding populations which demand increased amounts of food and fiber. Apple production in Kentucky is a small but vital industry with most of the production marketed directly to the consumer. Few apple production regions exist in the state, growers are widely dispersed and much of the production is direct marketed to the consumer. To maintain profitability growers must effectively manage a large number of very serious apple pests. Traditionally, apple production has relied almost exclusively on pesticides to control pests. Fifteen years ago, a typical orchardist controlling pests according to a calendar spray schedule may have sprayed 15 to 20 pesticide applications during the course of the season. Most of these applications contain both fungicides and insecticides. Current economic conditions force apple producers to find new methods to manage pests in order to reduce input costs and maximize profits. Producers using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques in their orchard have been able to reduce pesticide applications by about one third.

The use of pesticides in apple production continues to be a major concern among many consumers. Commercial growers able to produce quality fruit with reduced pesticide usage not only have a distinct economic advantage, but also enhance the perception of agriculture as a progressive and responsible industry.

Because apple orchards are widely scattered throughout Kentucky, it is necessary for producers to learn IPM scouting techniques and decision making to be more self-reliant. Growers need site-specific real-time information derived directly from their own orchards or backyards to make IPM decisions. Pest predictive technology enables growers to reduce or improve timing of pesticide use for some of the most damaging apple pests, including; apple scab, fire blight, sooty blotch and fly speck, codling moth and San Jose scale. Accurate information can be obtained from low-cost equipment and supplies. However, more expensive automated pest prediction systems are also available.

Crop protection problems associated with this increased production have become more complex. A truly successful pest management program must take a multi-disciplinary approach in order to supply the apple producer with reliable pest control information.

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Apple IPM web site created by Kerry Kirk - 2001 - Send questions or comments to Patty Lucas