Enhancing your IPM program
January 17, 2008 By Sean Chiki Cary Gates & Sean Valk
The software allows growers to record and review pesticide and beneficial insect application events. Many parameters of each application can be recorded for immediate use or for future evaluation.
The idea for developing new pest management software for the Canadian floriculture industry originated six years ago. After recognizing a need for more detailed and transparent record-keeping in the golf course industry, in 2001 the turf team at Engage Agro developed a pest management software package that superintendents could use to drive their IPM programs. The software was the first of its kind for the Canadian golf course industry and was adopted by a large number of superintendents.
Fast-forward to 2006.
Buoyed by the success of the golf course software, and realizing that growers were now required to efficiently document pest management practices (i.e., for the Canadian greenhouse certification program (CGCP) or Japanese beetle certification, etc.), Engage Agro approached Flowers Canada Growers (FCG) with the goal of collaborating on a similar endeavour for the Canadian greenhouse floriculture industry.
FCG executive-director Dr. Irwin Smith believed the project was something his membership would find quite useful and secured funding through the Agricultural Management Institute (AMI) for the project. The AMI is an initiative of the federal-provincial-territorial agricultural policy framework designed to position Canada’s agri-food sector as a world leader. The Agricultural Adaptation Council administers the AMI program on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario.
Just over a year later, Engage Agro and Flowers Canada Growers are ready to launch SprayScout to the Ontario greenhouse floriculture market. The official launch will be at next month’s Canadian Greenhouse Conference (Oct. 3-4 at the Toronto International Centre). Please visit Booth 505 for more information and sign up for your copy of SprayScout – Greenhouse Ornamental. The software will be free to Flowers Canada Growers members.
GRAPHICAL GREENHOUSE LAYOUT
Through the use of a graphics tool, growers can prepare a detailed representation of their greenhouse and surrounding facilities to scale. They can then add details such as ranges, zones, benches, sticky card locations as well as outdoor areas or miscellaneous/support buildings. Once the visual representation is finished, it is saved and can be edited when desired.
DETAILED RECORDS OF APPLICATIONS
The software allows growers to record and review pesticide and beneficial insect application events. Many parameters of each application can be recorded for immediate use or for future evaluation. The software records information such as products applied, rates of application, applicator details and the name of the crop being treated as well as various other details about the pesticide treatment.
PEST SCOUTING AND GRAPHICAL TRACKING
The software has a component that allows growers to record insect and disease-scouting data for specific ranges, zones or benches as determined by the user. The graphing tool plots pest counts over a selected time period. The graph is then overlapped with information on individual pesticide sprays or beneficial release information. This correlation of data allows the grower to see what applications are working most effectively and to base pest treatment decisions accordingly.
The software includes a comprehensive list of all registered pesticides, plant growth regulators and commonly used bio-control products, including beneficial insects and mites. Growers can customize the pesticide list to add new products or to amend existing products to better reflect their needs. This is an extremely effective tool when trying to determine which chemistry is best in rotation with past applications to protect against developing resistance issues.
SprayScout also includes many other educational resources. For reference purposes, images and life cycle diagrams of all major greenhouse insects and disease pests are included. Images and descriptions of major beneficial insects are also provided. This feature can be extremely useful for less experienced staff who would like to be able to better recognize pest pressures in the greenhouse.
SprayScout has the ability to generate standardized pest management reports that will conform to government regulations. Customized reports on pests and crops and/or products used help users determine which crops and pests need more attention to keep them effectively managed.
AND MUCH MORE
Many other features and tools have been included in the software package which, due to space limitations, cannot be mentioned in this brief overview.
Flowers Canada Growers and Engage Agro are furthermore committed to the ongoing support of SprayScout and plan to release updates and new features on a regular basis. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact any of the SprayScout team listed below.
Sean Chiki is the greenhouse, nursery and mushroom product manager for Engage Agro Corporation in Guelph, Ont.
866-613-3336, ext. 235).
Cary Gates is the minor use pesticide co-coordinator for Flowers Canada Growers in Guelph (firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-698-0113, ext. 228).
Sean Valk is the greenhouse and nursery technical sales representative for Engage Agro Corporation in Guelph (email@example.com, 905-979-1035).
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