New tool to help Okanagan fruit growers deal with pest management

Decision Aid System (DAS) is a web-based platform designed to transfer time-sensitive information on pest management to orchardists

Melissa Tesche of the Sterile Insect program demonstrates the DAS on an iPad to Minister Norm Letnick and MP Stephen Fuhr. The system is designed for use on mobile devices.

The changing climate in the Okanagan has broad implications for agricultural pest control, including increasing populations of problem species, and the arrival of new pests in the region.

But a recently initiated project – adapting a successful pest management decision support tool developed by Washington State University – will provide Okanagan tree fruit growers with an important new resource to improve orchard management.

Washington State University’s Decision Aid System (DAS) is a web-based platform designed to transfer time-sensitive information on pest management to orchardists, using real-time, local weather data and scientific pest and disease management information to help predict and manage pests and diseases.

“This is the Cadillac of pest management decision support systems: tried, tested, and loved by Washington growers because it saves them time and money and improves the efficacy of pest management,” says Melissa Tesche, Acting General Manager for the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program. “The benefits to the Okanagan will extend beyond the growers—being more precise with chemical applications helps to maintain beneficial insect populations, reduces environmental impacts, and makes life even more pleasant for the communities bordering the orchards.”

DAS was designed to be used by growers and has a clear, simple on-line interface that provides information linking weather conditions with pest lifecycles and treatment information and alerts. It is programmed for conventional and organic management recommendations, allowing growers to choose the treatments that are right for their operation. The system has been in used in Washington State for nearly a decade, and is highly valued by Washington growers.

“Bringing Washington State University’s Decision Aid System to the Okanagan would not be possible without the cooperation of each of the project partners: Summerland Research and Development Centre, The BC Fruit Growers’ Association, BC Tree Fruits and Grower’s Supply, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, the Sterile Insect Release Program, and of course, the support of the BC Climate Action Initiative,” says Tesche.

Developing resources to link weather, pest and disease data with decision support tools was identified as a priority action under the Okanagan Regional Adaptation Strategy released earlier this summer by the BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative. The regional strategy brought agricultural producers together with local governments and provincial agencies to identify collaborative solutions and actions to adapt to the climate change impacts identified for the Okanagan.

Funding to adapt the Decision Aid System to the Okanagan is part of a $300,000 investment in the implementation of the Okanagan Regional Adaptation Strategy by the federal and provincial governments through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Climate adaptation programming reflects the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s ongoing commitment to climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector, while enhancing sustainability, growth, and competitiveness. These investments help achieve the federal government’s goal to encourage the agriculture and agri-food sector’s leadership in job creation and innovation.

The BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative was established by the BC Agriculture Council in 2008, and is led by an advisory committee of agricultural producers, food processors and representatives from various government agencies. The Initiative has been supported by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC with funding provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through Growing Forward 2.

Just Posted

COLUMN: Shuffling the deck chairs

Reflections after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces his new cabinet

Osoyoos driver admits being ‘drunk’ after crashing into pole

A 52-year-old Osoyoos man admits being drunk after hitting power pole

Penticton Vees looking to put a strangle hold on league lead

The B.C. Hockey League’s top two teams meet tonight in Coquitlam to determine league supremacy

South Okanagan Similkameen kids big winners in Share-a-Smile Telethon

The annual OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre Share-a-Smile Telethon once again a success

Officers from the South Okanagan successfully track suspects

Officers from several South Okanagan RCMP detachments and Police Dog Services members catch suspects

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

Hergott: Day of remembrance for road traffic victims

Lawyer Paul Hergott’s latest column

South Cariboo Driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

Revelstoke man who sexually assaulted drunk woman sentenced to 18 months house arrest

For the first nine months he cannot leave his home between 2 p.m. and 11 a.m. except for work

Kamloops RCMP seek driver who hit teenager, then drove away

The 13-year-old boy was in a crosswalk, crossing Seymour Street at Eighth Avenue

City of Kelowna implements two new electric vehicle charging stations

EV drivers will now have four charging options across the city

Most Read