The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) has released a new alfalfa year-round IPM program on its Web site (www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/). The year-round IPM programs identify major activities growers need to do at each crop-growing stage to implement a comprehensive IPM program. Under "How to Manage Pests," click on agriculture and floriculture and choose your crop.

Currently, programs are available for alfalfa, almonds, cotton, grapes, nectarines, peaches, plums, and prunes. Based on UC research and expertise, the year-round IPM programs provide annual checklists that guide farmers through a year of monitoring pests, making management decisions, and planning for the following season. The programs also outline specific IPM practices that reduce water-quality risks and other environmental problems. Problem pesticides are identified through the UC IPM WaterTox database that rates available options according to their potential to damage water quality.

Nick Groenenberg, a pest control advisor from Hanford, recently checked out the alfalfa year-round program and found it to be a comprehensive tool.

"This year-round information goes a long way in providing information about what growers have to do," he says. "Weed identification is helpful. A lot of insect controls are listed -- such as cultural, biological and chemical. You have to tweak some of the information to suit your own particular pest problem, but overall the information is extremely helpful."

Source: Western Farm Press.