May 5, 2021Summer Sanitation Is Important as Ever
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
Bindu Poudel, Martin Porchas, and Rebecca Ramirez
Yuma Agricultural Center, University of Arizona, Yuma, AZ
This study was conducted at the Yuma Valley Agricultural Center. The soil was a silty clay loam (7-56-37 sand-silt-clay, pH 7.2, O.M. 0.7%). Lettuce ‘Magosa’ was seeded, then sprinkler-irrigated to germinate seed on Nov 19, 2019 on double rows 12 in. apart on beds with 42 in. between bed centers. All other water was supplied by furrow irrigation or rainfall. Treatments were replicated four times in a randomized complete block design. Each replicate plot consisted of 25 ft of bed, which contained two 25 ft rows of lettuce. Plants were thinned Jan 6, 2020 at the 3-4 leaf stage to a 12-inch spacing. Treatment beds were separated by single nontreated beds. Treatments were applied with a tractor-mounted boom sprayer that delivered 50 gal/acre at 100 psi to flat-fan nozzles spaced 12 in apart.
Downy mildew (caused by Bremia lactucae) was first observed in plots on January 22, and disease rating was done on March 9, 2020. Foliar applications of treatments were made Jan 26, Feb 7, 19, and 27, 2020 (see table).
Disease severity was determined by rating 10 plants within each of the four replicate plots per treatment using the following rating system: 0 = no downy mildew present; 0.5 = one to a few very small downy mildew colonies on bottom leaves; 1 = downy mildew present on bottom leaves of plant; 2 = downy mildew present on bottom leaves and lower wrapper leaves; 3 = downy mildew present on bottom leaves and all wrapper leaves; 4 = downy mildew present on bottom leaves, wrapper leaves, and cap leaf; 5 = downy mildew present on entire plant. These ratings were transformed to percentage of leaves infected values before being statistically analyzed.
The data in the table illustrate the degree of disease control obtained by application of the various treatments in this trial. All treatments significantly reduced the final severity of downy mildew compared to nontreated plants. The most effective fungicides, that held the percentage of leaves that were infected to 20% or less, included experimental compound UA1, Tolfenpyrad 15 SC, Torac/Revus rotation in comparison to the percentage of infected leaves in non-treated plots 72.5%. Phytotoxicity symptoms were not noted for any treatments in this trial.
Mark C. Siemens
Vol. 12, Issue 9, Published 5/5/2021
Automated thinning machines have been commercially available since 2012. These machines identify crop plants and intermittently deliver an herbicidal spray or dose of liquid fertilizer to thin the stand to the desired plant spacing. Some growers have converted older machines to spot apply pesticides to crop plants rather than thin lettuce. Spot spraying just the crop plant makes sense – it reduces applied chemical amount by about 1/3rd as compared to band spraying and by roughly 90% as compared to broadcast. I have heard reports of improved efficacy with this technique, perhaps due to better coverage, however this potential benefit has not been validated in formal trials.
A drawback with automated thinning machines is their high cost. Retail prices for machines are approximately $25,000 per seed line, or about $200,000 for a 4-row, 2-line machine. Another option might be to use automated systems designed for spot spraying weeds. These devices have been commercially available since the mid 90’s and function similarly to automated thinning machines in that they use optical sensors to detect plants and solenoid activated spray assemblies to intermittingly spray unwanted plants (Fig. 1). The cost of these devices is quite reasonable – about $3,000 per unit, or about $24,000 for a 4-row, 2-line machine.
Automated spot sprayers are typically used in agriculture to control weeds in fallow fields (Fig. 2), but could easily be adapted to apply pesticides or even fertilizer to vegetable crops. Spot applying foliar fertilizers to vegetable crops is an interesting concept and is being investigated in California with lettuce.
Another potential use of spot sprayers is to control herbicide resistant weeds. The device can be positioned between crop rows to spot spray a non-selective herbicide to target weeds. Placing the sprayer in a hooded enclosure prevents unwanted drift onto crop plants. We are conducting trials using this technique in cotton this season (Fig. 3). We are also looking for collaborators interested in trying the device as a pesticide and/or fertilizer spot applicator in vegetable crops for this upcoming season. If you are interested collaborating or would like to see a demo of the device, please feel free to reach out to me.
The Yuma County Leaf Wetness Network remains in place for the 2018/19 vegetable season. Growers and PCAs may access information generated by the network by entering the following internet address: http://220.127.116.11:460
Upon entering the address above, you will be transferred to internet page that provides a series of tabs at the top of the page. Simply click on the tabs to access the information of interest.