Pest Management Recommendations -- There's an App for That!
March 26, 2020
Smartphones have become indispensable multi-tools for vineyard managers. The vineyard and enology team at Texas Tech University have developed an app that will allow grape growers to use their phones to tap into the collective knowledge and experience of pest management experts from universities and extension services across the country, and it is available to download online at no cost.
The Vineyard Advisor mobile app is a tool that provides up-to-date pest management recommendations synthesized from research and extension publications written by leading plant pathologists, entomologists, weed scientists, and viticulturists. The app database contains more than 350 problems afflicting grapes nationwide, including diseases, insects and mites, wildlife pests, weeds, physiological disorders, and environmental stresses.
The app has been updated for 2020 and several new problems were added to the database, including smoke taint and fire injury. Relatively new and emerging pest additions include spotted lanternfly, light brown apple moth, brown marmorated stink bug, European grapevine moth, spotted wing drosophila, Red Blotch, Pinot leaf curl, and several weed species.
The user-friendly app presents two search options: growers can search The Vineyard Advisor database for grape problems or for pesticides labeled for use on grapes.
Grape Problem Search
Growers can enter a grape problem name into the search box and the app will then retrieve the best matches to the search terms within its database. When the malady of interest is selected from the short list and the problem management page is loaded, recommendations for diseases, insects and wildlife pests are formatted in the following outline: Control Strategies and Action Thresholds, Natural Control and Cultural Practices, Organic Materials, References, Registered Pesticides, Additional Resources.
The section Control Strategies & Action Thresholds contains a concise narrative describing the recommended strategy for management of the specific problem and may include comments on its geographic distribution as well as relative frequency and severity of the problem. Research has established action thresholds for some problems, and links are provided to online pest and disease forecasting tools available for certain regions.
Often, non-chemical methods can greatly contribute to pest management and these are outlined in Natural Control & Cultural Practices. The role of predators and parasites is described, if relevant; and beneficial cultural practices such as canopy management and sanitation are included.
Many organically approved pesticides list various grape problems within their scope of control, but research data is lacking for most of these. The section Organic Materials outlines pesticides that have demonstrated some efficacy as reported by university researchers and extension specialists, and that section also provides recommendations on their use. Links are provided to the National Organic Program and the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) to assist with verification of organic status. Information sources used to develop recommendations are cited in References, and links are provided to online publications.
The Registered Pesticides section is a unique feature of the Vineyard Advisor. The app accesses EPA databases weekly to refresh its own database of all pesticide products with a federal label for use on grapes. A grape problem search returns an alphabetical list of all pesticide products labeled for control of that specific problem. When a product is selected from the list, the Pesticide Details page (described below) is displayed that contains key information about the product and the current label in PDF format.
Documents and links to external websites are provided within Additional Resources to help inform pest management decisions, such as pest identification and pesticide efficacy comparisons. Fungicide resistance management is explained, and summary tables display pesticide REI, PHI, and fungicide FRAC class. The app uses the location of the phone to provide links to the grower’s state agricultural extension service and the state agency that administers pesticide regulations.
The problem management page for weeds follows a simpler outline, since weed control methods are more generalized and less dependent on the individual weed species. For most weeds, problem pages are organized into Cultural Practices and General Recommendations, and Organic Practices and Materials. An additional section, Special Considerations, is provided for difficult to control weeds or those that have developed tolerance to herbicides. References are cited as previously described, followed by a listing of herbicides labeled for use on grapes to control the specific weed, grouped by preemergence and postemergence. Additional Resources includes herbicide efficacy comparisons, and links to external websites for weed identification, and to the grower’s state agricultural extension service and the state agency that administers pesticide regulations.
Vineyard managers often need to look up information on a new pesticide product or to review details of a familiar one by checking the current label. The pesticide database within the Vineyard Advisor can be searched by pesticide product name or by active ingredient. The grower can enter a pesticide product name into the search box and the app will retrieve the best matches to the search term, which often includes various formulations of the pesticide. When the product of interest is selected, the Pesticide Details page will then be displayed. It provides specifics for the product’s registration, and details of the active ingredients, formulation, signal word, target pests, use sites, and for some products, the current federal label in PDF format. Links are provided to resources for state pesticide label information, which may differ from the federal label.
Searching by active ingredient name enables the user to explore all options available in the marketplace including products from different manufacturers, various formulations, and combinations of active ingredients. Search results will display a list of all products containing that active ingredient; select the product of interest to view the Pesticide Details page.
The Vineyard Advisor app is produced by the Viticulture and Enology program at Texas Tech University. Development of the app was supported in part through a seed grant from the American Vineyard Foundation and additional support was provided by the Texas Wine Industry Development Act.
Download the Vineyard Advisor App
Free downloads of the app are available for iOS and Android devices. It can be downloaded from http://www.depts.ttu.edu/pss/VEpage/VineAdvisor.php. It is also available from the Apple App Store (iOS 8.0) or Google Play (Android 8.0 or later).
Dr. Ed Hellman is professor of viticulture and enology at Texas Tech University and is based at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in plant science from the University of Arkansas after earning his B.S. and M.S. degrees in horticulture at the University of Illinois. Hellman’s research program is focused on evaluating wine grape varieties and rootstocks and investigating the physiological basis of grape variety adaptation to climate. In addition, he created the Texas Winegrape Network, a comprehensive information resource for grape producers, and started a Viticulture Certificate program awarding continuing education units (noncredit) that is offered jointly by Texas Tech University and Texas Cooperative Extension.