Practices we use on our conventional farms
as far as chemical controls are heavily regulated and we also practice IPM to the tee – Integrated
Pest Management. We employ five pest control advisers who walk
our ranches on a daily basis. We use pheromone traps that are consistently
checked, and we also use a degree day model, which measures the number of degree days accumulated
on a daily basis for pest cycles. We all know that a snake sheds its skin as
well as most of the pests are worms that we have on our ranch do the same thing. And we
can tell at what instar a certain pest is just as we look at it. And we can time our
sprays around that particular instar to be most effective.
It’s not economical or ecological to just go out and spray whenever we need to.
And we use our IPM techniques to do the very best to apply our chemicals in a safe manner.
We use mating disruption by hanging these small, card-like structures about the size
of a playing card onto a tree branch, which emits the scent of the female of the particular
insect you’re trying to protect from. And by doing that it allows us to distract
and confuse the insect to keep it away from the fruit, rather than having to put on an
additional spray drop of an insecticide to kill that insect.
In conjunction with the mating disruption pheromones we have traps in the trees that
have an individual pheromone that smells like that insect we’re trying to trap for and we
can monitor those traps and if we see that those insect levels are in excess by a number
of insects in those traps. Then we can decide to put on a pesticide if
we feel that there is enough of a population to justify that application.