Fruit production, pest control and labor among topics of Hort meeting

Tuesday’s meeting will cover a variety of topics related to apple, cherry and pear production

OKANOGAN – The Okanogan County Horticultural Association will be hosting their annual meeting next Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Agriplex building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Washington State University Extension is the event’s co-sponsor.

The meeting will cover a variety of topics related to apple, cherry and pear production, as well as the pests and diseases that can affect the crop and how to control them. There will also be a discussion on capital investment decisions and best practices to optimize labor.

The meeting provides an opportunity to receive four Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) pesticide update credits as well.

“Really important this year we will be discussing apple maggot. Apple maggot is a quarantine pest that has been found in Okanogan County and preventing its spread is critical to maintaining a viable tree fruit industry in Okanogan County,” said Tiana Dupont, with the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.

DuPont is a Tree Fruit Extension Specialist. Her work focuses on helping growers understand and apply research based solutions for tree fruit pests and pathogens.

The meeting starts out at 9 a.m. with a panel discussion on apple maggots and their current status and how to contain the pest, as well as potential quarantine restrictions. The panel consists of Will Carpenter with the Pest Board, Mike Bush from the WSDA, John Devaney with the Apple Maggot Subcommittee of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association

Next, at 9:40 a.m. Betsy Beers, Professor and Entomologist with the WSU Department of Entomology, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. Beers has worked for over 30 years on integrated pest management of apple and cherry pests.

She will discuss integrated pest management of the Brown marmorated stink bug, Spotted lantern fly and Apple leaf curl midge.

After a break, there will be a discussion at 10:30 a.m. with Tobin Northfield, an Assistant Professor for WSU Department of Entomology. He leads an interdisciplinary task force comprising researchers and representatives from government and industry that works to improve management X-disease and Little cherry disease. He leads a project focusing on X-disease vector management including the use of cultural controls such as Surround and Extenday.

Among the topics for discussion will be identifying the leafhopper vectors of X-disease, statewide distribution and seasonal infectious levels, monitoring, cultural controls and efficacious spray rotation.

Beers is back at 11 a.m. to talk about Spotted Wing Drosophila and Western Cherry Fruit Fly Management. This includes best management practices for Western Cherry Fruit Fly (WCFF). Organic post harvest management of SWD and WCFF. Introduction to new SWD baits.

At 11:30 p.m. DuPont will talk about Codling Moth Management through mating disruption best management practices and cultural controls and phenology based sprays.

The meeting will take a break at 12:10 p.m.

“New this year Robert Orpet will be describing the new phenology based IPM program for pear,” said Dupont..

Orpet who has been a pear entomologist at WSU TFREC since 2019 will talk about “Integrated Pest Management and How it Works for Pear Psylla and Mites” at 1 p.m. This includes psylla and mite management recommendations for early spring, summer and fall management.

“This year we will focus on labor management an important challenge in the face of rising wages and new regulation,” said Dupont.

Pam Lewiston, with the Washington Policy Center Initiative on Agriculture will discuss the topic “Current Status of Laws Impacting Labor at 2:30 p.m. and Diana Ferandez with WAFlA will be discussion “Strategies to Increase Labor Availability at 2:50 p.m.

There is a $10 entry fee to attend. The Okanogan County Agriplex is located at the county fairgrounds, 175 Rodeo Trail Rd., Okanogan.