What's HOT in Pear Production and Research

(Updated 11 April 2017)


2017 Orchard Meetings

Nelson-Albemarle:  Meeting will begin a 11:00 am.  Please come to discuss fruit production issues and concerns with other fruit growers and Extension fruit specialists.  Please being a bag lunch; cold drinks will be provided by the host orchard. April 5: Crown Orchard. We will be meeting at the Johnson Purvis orchard block which is located just south of the village of Covesville.  DIRECTIONS:  From Charlottesville: Travel on Route 29 south for 15 miles (about 20 minutes). Approximately one mile south of Covesville turn left on Route 632 (Faber Road). From Lynchburg: Travel on Route 29 north. Approximately 1 mile north of the Nelson County line, at the top of the hill, turn right on Route 632 (Faber Road).  The orchard entrance is less than a quarter mile down the road.  Turn left and cross the wooded railway trestle. The orchard is on the other side.  April 11: Silver Creek Orchard.  April 25: Saunders Brothers Orchard.  May 9: Morris Orchards.  May 23: 7K Farms.


2017 Revisions to Tree Fruit Spray Guide:
Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland 2017 Spray Bulletin for Commercial Tree Fruit Growers (Virginia and West Virginia Coop. Ext. Pub. 456-419) (Complete PDF version - hard copy of 2017 guide - $17.00 including tax.  Shipping will be charged; contact https://apps.cals.vt.edu/flex/SprayBulletinVegGuideOrdering/SprayBulletinVegGuideOrdering.html) Tables on apple pest efficacy and toxicity to orchard predators is also updated in the recommendations for 2017.  An abridged electronic version of the Virginia-West Virginia-Maryland Spray Bulletin for Commercial Tree Fruit Growers is available in the Virginia Fruit Web Page.

2017 Tree Fruit Schools
The Patrick-Carroll school will be held on Monday, Feb 13.  The Botetourt-Roanoke school will be held on the morning of Wednesday, Feb 14, starting at 8:00 AM. A recently added fruit school, the Southside school in the lineup again this year, and will be held on the morning of Feb 15.  The Nelson-Albemarle (Central Virginia) school (see Registration) will be held in the late afternoon-evening of that Wednesday, Feb 15, starting at 3:00 PM.  The Madison-Rappahannock school will beheld on Thursday, Feb 16, and the Winchester school will be held on Friday, Feb 17.  Additional details on the agendas will be posted when available.   Click here for Proof of 2017 Spray Bulletin for Commercial Orchards.

Proposed pollinator protection plan

Honey bees have been at greater risk in recent years because of Colony Collapse Disorder, which results from a combination of stress factors.  In order to address this, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has created a draft plan to protect pollinators from pesticides has been developed.  In preparation for a June meeting in Richmond, grower, extension agent and beekeeper feedback is requested.  The draft plan is linked here.  A web application is mentioned in the text; this DriftWatch site is available here.  Please send your thoughts on this proposed program to Doug Pfeiffer (dgpfeiff at vt.edu) by June 12.  Any comments are appreciated!

2016 Orchard Meetings

Nelson-Albemarle:  Meetings begin at 11:00 AM.  April 5: Crown Orchard. We will be meeting at the Johnson Purvis orchard block which is located just south of the village of Covesville.  DIRECTIONS:  From Charlottesville: Travel on Route 29 south for 15 miles (about 20 minutes). Approximately one mile south of Covesville turn left on Route 632 (Faber Road). From Lynchburg: Travel on Route 29 north. Approximately 1 mile north of the Nelson County line, at the top of the hill, turn right on Route 632 (Faber Road).  The orchard entrance is less than a quarter mile down the road.  Turn left and cross the wooded railway trestle. The orchard is on the other side.  April 19: Silver Creek Orchard.  May 3: Saunders Brothers Orchard.  May 17: Dickie Brothers Orchard.  May 31: Fitzgerald Orchard.

Madison-Rappahannock:  Meetings begin at 11:00 unless otherwise noted.  March 11: Grafting workshop, Madison Extension Office, 10:00-noon.  April 20: Williams Orchard, Tommy and Eddie Williams, Flint Hill Rt. 211 east to Ben Venue.  At the crossroads, turn north on to Rt. 729 and go approximately 2½ miles.  Orchard is on the left.  May 25: Jenkins Orchard, Woodville, From Rt. 231, turn right on to Rt. 621, go about 2 miles.  The orchard is on the left by the packing shedJune 15: Stribling and Hartland Orchards, Robert Stribling and Bill Green, Markham.  From Flint Hill: Rt. 522 N, turn right on Rt. 635, turn N/left on Rt. 688, both orchards are located near the intersection of Rt. 688 and Rt. 55 in Markham.  July 20: Graves Mountain Farm, Jimmy Graves, Syria.  Rt. 231 to Rt. 670, meet at the picnic shelter on left just past Syria.

2016 Revisions to Home Fruit Spray Guide:

The revised Pest Management Guide for Home Apples is now available.  (The Pest Management Guide is available on-line for free. Hard copies are also available for $14.00 plus shipping).  Order from https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/pmgstore.html. Recommendations for home apple trees are also available in the web page

Newly approved materials for BMSB on pome and stone fruits: 
For 2012: Two commercial formulations of bifenthrin have received Section 18 registration for control of brown marmorated stink bug for 2012 on apples, peaches and nectarines (bifenthrin was already labeled for pear).  The label will be in effect from July 20 to October 15, 2012.  The rate for Brigade WSB is 12.8-32 fl oz per acre.  The rates for Bifenture are (Bifenture EC): 5.12-12.8 fl oz, and (Bifenture 10DF): 12.8-32 oz per acre.  See the Section 18 labels for Brigade and Bifenture.  You should be in possession of these if the products are used.  The 2011 Section 18 labels for dinotefuran to combat brown marmorated stink bug on apple and peach trees was continued by EPA  for 2012.  This Section 18 use is active through 15 October 2012.  Venom (label, MSDS) and Scorpion (label, MSDS) are the two approved commercial products of dinotefuran.  Dinotefuran has a 3-day PHI on tree fruits.  See the Section 18 labels for Venom and Scorpion.  You should be in possession of these if the products are used.  In 2011, an organically-approved product containing azadiracthin and pyrethrins was approved for BMSB by EPA.  The label for Azera may be found here.  Label rates of Azera range from 1 to 3.5 pts/acre.  While a specific rate is not provided for BMSB, the label recommends 3-3.5 oz/A for high pest populations and difficult to control pests.  Residual life of Azera is expected to be short.  Azera may be used up to the day of harvest.  All of these products have very low mammalian toxicity; however, all are highly toxic to honey bees, and care is needed around bees.

Brown marmorated stink bug and Virginia fruit: See StopBMSB.org web site  A new addition to the stink bug complex is brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål).  Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has recently been introduced from Asia into the northeastern U.S.  It was first detected in 1998 in Allentown, Pennsylvania (see NAPIS map; this map underrepresents the situation in Virginia).  It was later found in New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, and in October 2004 it was found in Montgomery County, Virginia, and in Tennessee in 2008.  Injury in tree fruits can be severe, exceeding 25% (individual blocks have been estimated to have much higher levels of fruit injury).  Externally, fruit may have multiple reddish dents at feeding sites, resembling hail strikes.  Upon cutting into fruit, corky areas are seen in the flesh of the fruit.  In vineyards, a unique problem is posed.  Stink bugs may be harvested along with clusters and be transported to the winery in lugs or bins, where the wine can be imparted with a "stink bug taint".  Research is underway to test short-residual insecticides to knock down BMSB from clusters at harvest.  For further information and images, see the Brown marmorated stink bug page.  A working group on organic management of BMSB has been established, with their own web site.  There is opportunity to participate in grower forums.

New!  The College of Agriculture and Life Science at Virginia Tech has established a new on-line Master's in Agriculture and Life Sciences.   This curriculum has been approved by the State Council of Higher Education and is now accepting applications for Fall semester 2007.  In this program, you can earn a master's degree in agriculture while working in your current job - emphasis is on education for place-bound learners, and all courses are taken on-line.  In addition to a core area, there are courses offered in five areas of concentration: (1) Biosecurity, Bioregulations and Public Health, (2) Education, (3) Environmental Science, (4) Food Safety, and (5) Plant Science and Pest Management.  In addition to course work, the student completes a project decided upon in consultation with your major advisor.  Lists of courses within each concentration may be found in the web site linked above.  This program was recently the subject of an interview by Jeff Ishee with Virginia Public Televsion's Virginia Farming.  For more information, contact Doug Pfeiffer (dgpfeiff at vt.edu) or Sharon Proffitt (sproffit at vt.edu) (see 2008-2009 Extended Campus tuition rates).


Endosulfan Phaseout:
In 2010, EPA issued a cancellation schedule for existing uses of endosulfan.  Crop Group A (including plum and prune, nectarine (CA only), strawberry (annual), tart cherry) uses ended 31 July 2012 .  Other uses not listed in other categories (presumably grape).  Crop Group B (Stone fruits not listed in Group A, including Nectarine (non-CA), peaches, and sweet cherry) uses ended 31 July 2012.  Crop Group C uses end 31 July 2013: PearCrop Group D uses end 31 July 2014: Florida uses.  Crop Group E uses will end 31 July 2015: Apple, blueberry.  Crop Group F uses end 31 July 2016: Strawberry (perennial).  See the complete list here.

Importation of Chinese ya pears:
The Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) section of APHIS has approved imports of Chinese ya pears after shipments were barred in 2003 following detection of postharvest disease.

Importation of Chinese fragrant pears:
The Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) section of APHIS has proposed allowing importation of fragrant pears from China in the Federal Register. Further information on the proposed program is presented in a memo posted by PPQ.  Fragrant pears are a type of Pyrus ussuriensis, and are grown only in a small part of northwestern China, the region around Korla.  Importation would be allowed only from certified production areas.  APHIS feels this will pose no competition with domestic producers of pears, at least at initial levels.  Potential phytosanitary risk is currently being assessed.  The program would entail pre- and postharvest fruit inspections.  (i) If oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) is found, APHIS could prohibit importation of Chinese fragrant pears until investigated and remedial action agreed upon.  (ii) If any of the following are found at a site, pears from that site could be prohibited (if found at more than one site, Chinese fragrant pears could be prohibited): peach fruit borer (Carposina sasaki), yellow peach moth (Conogethes punctiferalis), apple fruit moth (Cydia inopinata), hawthorn spider mite (Tetranychus viennensis), red plum maggot (Cydia funebrana), brown rot (Munilinia fructigena) (prob should be Monilinia), Asian pear scab (Venturia nashicola), pear trellis rust (Gymnosporangium fuscum), Asian pear black spot (Alternaria spp.).  (iii) An individual lot or consignment can be rejected if any of the following are found (post harvest inspection only): large pear borer (Numonia pivivorella) (prob should be pirivorella), pear curculio (Rhynchites fovepessin (prob should be foveipennis), Japanese apple curculio (Rhynchites heros).  These are pests that not only are of quarantine significance, but are most likely to enter the importation pathway.  There is concern that insufficient information is provided on inspection methods, and what requirements exist to become a certified production area.

This program was announced in the Federal Register of Friday, May 23, 2003 (Fed. Reg. 68 (100): 28161-28166), docket no. 02-049-1.  The comment period expired July 22, 2003.

Mating disruption and Organic certification:
The National Organic Standards Board has recently amended organic guidelines so that many pheromone dispensers for mating disruption will now be allowed in organically certified orchards.  Most hand-placed dispensers are now considered to emit negligible amounts of inerts, and will be allowed.  Sprayables and puffers will not be allowed.  More information will be posted when available.

Updates on FQPA:

azinphosmethyl - Bayer agrees to Guthion phase-outs: Bayer has agreed to reducing fruit crops listed on the Guthion label.  There are 3 categories of label changes: (1) phased-out registrations (cancelled 8/31/05, not to be used after 12/31/05): nectarine, peach, and caneberries. (2) time-limited registrations (cancelled 12/31/05 unless new data justify continuation): apple, blueberry, cherry, and pear; (3) cancelled registrations: grape, plum, quince, and strawberry (not to be sold after 1 September 2002; existing stocks may be used). Guthion timeline update:  Group 3 uses on track for renewal (almonds, apples, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, cherries, nursery stock, parsley, pears, pistachios, and walnuts).  The Group 2 uses have been requested to be terminated by Bayer (cotton, cranberries, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, southern pine seed orchards, and caneberries).  The following is a more detailed timeline for these crops, as provided by Bayer: “COMMERCIAL PIPELINE PROVISIONS: GUTHION manufactured after March 31, 2005 cannot have Group 2 uses on the label unless EPA-approved prior to that date. GUTHION with Group 2 uses on the label can be sold within commercial channels through August 31, 2005. GUTHION must not to be used on the Group 2 crops after December 31, 2005, unless the use has been extended.  On 7 Dec 2005, EPA announced the availability of its azinphosmethyl ecological risk assessment and grower impact assessment (posted at http://www.regulations.gov; search on the docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0061).  Comments must be received on or before 6 Feb 2006.  Further information will be posted here when available.
carbaryl - EPA announces Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decision (IRED - this pdf exceeds 300p. See also 6-page fact sheet) for carbaryl on 10/27/04.  On 30 March 2005, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) requested that EPA revoke all tolerances for carbaryl.  NRDC's letter to EPA is posted (html).  EPA's assessment of human health and environmental risks of carbaryl, and finding on whether the tolerances for carbaryl comply with the safety standard in FFDCA section 408, as amended by the FQPA, are contained in the IRED document for carbaryl, which is available on EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/edocket, under docket number OPP-2003-0376. (More information on risk assessment is available).  The e-docket for this issue has several items listed (NRDC letter, notice of EPA of public comment period, public input, and an opportunity to provide input.  The public comment period ended May 31, 2005.
endosulfan - On 29 Apr 09, EPA announced that it had received a petition to cancel all used of endosulfan. Comments must be received on or before 29 Jun 09.  Submit your comments throught the Federal eRulemaking Portal, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0615.
spinetoram - A new active ingredient in the same class as spinosad (SpinTor, Entrust) has been registered for fruit crops. Delegate WG is registered on pome and stone fruits, bushberries, caneberries and grape.  Radiant SC is the formulation registered on strawberries

For some industry discussion on FQPA changes and issues, see Issues section of the CropLife America web site.

Mating disruption tools:

For several years, researchers at Virginia Tech have been involved in developing mating disruption as a control tactic for codling moth and the leafroller complex, including tufted apple bud moth, variegated leafroller, and redbanded leafrollers. Control of codling moth has been very good, even in processing blocks (where CM control is more critical). Several commercial sources of codling moth mating disruption are now available. Several sources of products for oriental fruit moth are also available, including a sprayable product. Mating disruption for leafrollers is available as a sprayable formulation, but check the label carefully. At present it is only available for leafrollers using (Z-11-14:Ac as the primary component. Such species include obliquebanded lefroller and redbanded leafroller. The main species in the mid-Atlantic region, tufted apple bud moth and variegated leafroller will not be affected.

Archived Orchard Fruit Schools
2016 Tree Fruit Schools
The Patrick-Carroll school will be held on Monday, Feb 8.  The Botetourt-Roanoke school will be held on the morning of Wednesday, Feb 9, starting at 8:00 AM. A new fruit school, the Southside school (brochure and agenda) in the lineup this year, and will be held this year, morning of Feb 10.  The Nelson-Albemarle (Central Virginia) school will be held in the late afternoon-evening of that Wednesday, Feb 10, starting at 3:00 PM.  The Madison-Rappahannock school will beheld on Thursday, Feb 11, and the Winchester school will be held on Friday, Feb 12.  Additional details on the agendas will be posted when available.

The agendas of the 2015 fruit schools are linked here:  The Patrick-Carroll school (Mt. Airy) was held on Tuesday, Feb 10.  The Botetourt-Roanoke school was held on the morning of Wednesday, Feb 11, starting at 8:00 AM.  The Nelson-Albemarle (Central Virginia) school was held in the late afternoon-evening of that Wednesday, starting at 4:00 PM.  The Madison-Rappahannock school was held on Thursday, Feb 12, and the Winchester school was held on Friday, Feb 13.


Send comments by e-mail to: Douglas G. Pfeiffer