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.
Sclerotia of Sclerotinia minor were produced in 0.25 pt glass flasks containing 15 to 20 sterilized 0.5 in. cubes of potato by seeding the potato tissue with mycelia of the fungus. After incubation for 4 to 6 wk at 68°F, mature sclerotia were separated from residual potato tissue by washing the contents of each flask in running tap water within a soil sieve. Sclerotia were air-dried at room temperature, then stored at 40°F until needed. Inoculum of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum was produced in 2 qt glass containers by seeding moist sterilized barley seeds with mycelia of the pathogen. After 2 mo incubation at 68°F, abundant sclerotia were formed. The contents of each container were then removed, spread onto a clean surface and air-dried. The resultant mixture of sclerotia and infested barley seed was used as inoculum. Lettuce ‘Magosa’ was seeded Nov 19, 2019 then sprinkler-irrigation was initiated to germinate seed in double rows 12 inches apart on beds with 42 inches between bed centers. Plants were thinned Jan 6, 2020 at the 3-4 leaf stage to a 12-inch spacing. For plots infested with Sclerotinia minor, 0.13 oz (3.6 grams) of sclerotia were distributed evenly on the surface of each 25-ft-long plot between the rows of lettuce and incorporated into the top 1 inch of soil. For plots infested with Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, 0.5 pint of a dried mixture of sclerotia and infested barley grain was broadcast evenly over the surface of each 25-ft-long lettuce plot, again between the rows of lettuce on each bed, and incorporated into the top 1-inch of soil. Treatment beds were separated by single nontreated beds. Treatments were replicated five times in a randomized complete block design. Each replicate plot consisted of a 25 ft length of bed, which contained two 25 ft rows of lettuce. Control plots received sclerotia but were not treated with any fungicide.
For treatments first applied at seeding, sclerotia were introduced into plots before the first application of treatments. The first application for at seeding treatments was made Nov 20, with an additional application on Jan 9. For treatments first applied after thinning, sclerotia were introduced into plots after thinning before the first application of these treatments, with additional applications as noted in the data sheets. An initial sprinkler irrigation supplied water for seed germination, with subsequent furrow irrigations for crop growth. The final severity of disease was determined at plant maturity by recording the number of dead and dying plants in each plot due to Sclerotinia minor (Mar 18) or Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Mar 17). As a point of reference, the original stand of lettuce was thinned to about 65 plants per plot.
In nontreated plots, 30 and 37% of lettuce plants were dead or dying due to infection with Sclerotinia minor and S. sclerotiorum, respectively, at the end of the trial. Please refer to the data tables to compare treatments of interest, using the Least Significant Difference Value listed at the bottom of each table to determine statistically significant differences among treatments. Endura+Stragus alternated with Merivon+Stargus, PhD, and Luna Sensation were effective against Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Endura on seeding water alternated with Merivon at thinning, Luna Sensation at thinning, Endura at thinning alternate with Merivon, Endura_stargus at thinning alternate with Merivon+stargus gave the best results against Sclerotinia minor(see table).
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.
Growers and PCAs can monitor data from the Yuma Leaf Wetness Network through the AZMET website located at the following URL: http://18.104.22.168:460
The website updates information on leaf wetness and near-surface air temperature every 15 minutes. Wetness data are provided in graphical format (see figure below). Output from the leaf wetness sensors increase from the grey (dry) zone of the graph to the blue (wet) zone when wetness (dew or rain) is detected by the sensors.
Beet armyworm: Moth activity has declined in most trap location and remains below average for this point in the season.
Cabbage looper: Cabbage looper activity remains unusually low for early November. Trap catches picked up a bit in Wellton and Gila Valley.
Whitefly: Adult movement has been about average for this time of year. Activity highest in Wellton near fall melons being harvested.
Thrips: Thrips activity picking up significantly in several trap locations; activity increased significantly in Bard and Dome and Gila Valleys.
Aphids: Aphid numbers peaked last week in many locations, particularly in the Gilas and Yuma Valleys.
Leafminers: Adult activity increased significantly last week, particularly in the Wellton area near melons.