Featured: Row Covers Protect Cucurbit Crops from Pests, But What Material Works Best?
DURANT, Oklahoma – Row covers, in general, help protect vegetable crops from insect pests such as the squash bug, but what kind of row cover material works best and is cost effective?
Oklahoma State University horticulturists have received funding from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program to evaluate row cover materials and their ability to exclude insect pests in cucurbit crops.
In a previous SSARE funded project (OS14-091, “Row Cover Use Methods for Cucurbit Pest and Pollinator Management”), Jim Shrefler and his colleagues found that with careful management, row covers prevented the squash bug from accessing the plants, but also prevented the pollination that is needed for fruit set.
“Although effective, the material has several drawbacks, including high temperatures under cover that could interfere with fruit set, potential exclusion of pollinators, insect pest entry through open covers, and a high incidence of disease,” said Shrefler. “We need to find a suitable row cover material that will not only exclude pests, but one that will be convenient to use, not be conducive to diseases, and be cost-effective.”
In a new SSARE study (OS18-120), “A Comparison of Row Cover Materials for Use in Excluding Major Insect Pests from Cucurbit Crops,” OSU researchers are evaluating several row cover materials: a frost blanket type of material, a woven mesh netting that is used for insect exclusion in the fruit tree industry, and a formed mesh material used for insect exclusion purposes. The materials will be evaluated against no row covers as the control in field trials over the next two years.
Research for this project is ongoing. Final results are expected in the spring of 2020.
SARE State Coordinators are vital for expanding sustainable agriculture training for Extension, NRCS, and other agricultural professionals, who will then help producers transition to a more sustainable agriculture.
Recent News From Oklahoma
Using Row Covers to Protect Squash from Insect Pests
DURANT, Oklahoma — Using row covers on squash protects the vegetable crop from insect pests such as the squash bug, but timing of their removal can impact pollination and subsequent plant yields, according to Oklahoma State University research. In a two-year study, horticulturist Jim Shrefler analyzed pest and pollinator incidences and measured squash yields using […]
SARE IN OKLAHOMA
The Oklahoma Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is a professional development program sponsored by the Southern Region SARE and co-coordinated by Oklahoma State and Langston universities. We are committed to the sustainability of agriculture through economic viability, sound environmental and natural resource management, and awareness and recognition of social acceptability.
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service provides technical information and educational programs designed to help Oklahoma agricultural producers as they implement strategies and practices to improve the sustainability of their agricultural operations.
Much of the technical information is derived from research-based knowledge generated by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station at Oklahoma State University and the Langston University Research Program, as well as through the Land Grant University network around the country. These institutions employ a myriad of means to promote the sustainability of agriculture including: basic and applied research projects, training for cooperative extension field staff and personnel from many of the agencies and non-governmental entities working with agricultural producers, educational programs and demonstrations for producers, written information, one-on-one producer assistance, business development and planning, pilot plant operations, and much more.
What We Do
Oklahoma SARE is mandated by the Southern SARE professional development to coordinate sustainable agriculture professional development efforts in Oklahoma. The program works with other sustainable agriculture entities to achieve its mission.
Oklahoma SARE is committed to spreading the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture through education in various channels including class room education, workshops, demonstrations and travel workshops.
We share information about sustainable agriculture research, extension and education opportunities with extension, NRCS, NGOs , growers, and community groups who would like to promote sustainable agriculture in Oklahoma. Oklahoma SARE thrive to ensure all agricultural communities in the state get information about grant opportunities from SARE and elsewhere in timely manner.
The OkSARE program is co-coordinated by two faculty members from each institution and is supported by an assistant extension specialist who oversees the day-to-day activities of the program.
Professional Development Program
Within each state, agricultural educators work directly with farmers and ranchers to further sustainable agriculture production and marketing practices. Through a program called the Professional Development Program (PDP), SARE state ag coordinators provide support for sustainable agriculture education and outreach strategies.
SARE and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) offer the Sustainable Agriculture Fellows Program, which enhances Cooperative Extension personnel’s understanding of sustainable agriculture and provides broad-based, national exposure to successful and unique sustainable agriculture programs.