Regional agribusinesses are the latest beneficiaries of the nearly 30 years of research dedicated by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program to finding a solution to alfalfa snout beetle, an invasive insect that threatens alfalfa crops highly valued by dairy and livestock producers.
Through the scientific discovery process, Cornell University entomologist Elson Shields and research support specialist Antonio Testa discovered native New York nematodes as a naturally occurring biological control for alfalfa snout beetle, ASB, and pioneered the use of the insect-attacking, microscopic worms to reduce beetle populations to manageable levels.
The two scientists also developed a farmer-friendly, low-labor nematode rearing and application methods for farm-built and commercial sprayer units.
With training from Shields and Testa, regional crop service agribusinesses are filling an economic gap by offering custom rearing and application of the nematodes between planting and harvesting seasons. One spray service in the northern NY is developing its own nematode rearing facility for use in 2016.
Click here to learn more with comments from:
Dr. Elson Shields, Cornell University
Aaron Miller, Miller’s Spray Service, Lowville
Mary DeBeer, DeBeer Seeds and Spraying, Moira
Floyd Morter, Bourdeau Bros, Champlain
Brent Phillips, Bourdeau Bros, Canton
Cody Reynolds, Windsong Farm, Adams Center
Doug Moser, Moserdale Farm, Copenhagen
Lynn Murray, Murcrest Farm, Copenhagen
Cornell Cooperative Extension Field Crops Specialists
Kitty O’Neil: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence counties
Mike Hunter: Jefferson, Lewis counties.