Counting collard pests cuts spraying

Joe Hilliard and his son produce collards
in Santee, South Carolina. They had a lot of trouble with pest management when I first
began to work with them, but I instructed both Joe and his son in how to identify insects
in the field, how to determine the beneficial insects out there and showed them the importance
of these beneficial insects in helping control the pest populations. Through the better use
of identification and population estimates and choosing their pesticides more carefully,
they have been able to reduce the number of sprays that they require to produce a crop
of collards drastically. The pesticides they are using are very targeted and have fewer
non-target effects than the older materials that they were relying upon in the past.
Powell teaches us how to manage the diamondback moths on my collard greens. Every week we
got on a cycle, we would spray just to prevent worms coming in, but he teaches us how to
go out and count the population and when we get to a certain threshold in the population,
then start spraying. We have probably cut back to ten or twenty percent of what we would
normally spray. On the harvest end, we do not have holes in everything; on the production
end, we increase our production and increase our yields and our profitability as well.

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