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UCCE eJournals help growers manage pests in agricultural and urban landscapes

The Issue

California produces more than 400 agricultural commodities, with over a third of the country’s vegetables grown in the state. In 2016, California exported over $20 billion worth of these agricultural commodities. Strawberries as well as vegetables such as lettuce and tomato are among the top eight commodities in California, valued at more than $5 billion in 2016. Invasive pests are a growing threat to California agriculture and landscapes. Invasive and endemic pests cause significant losses to the yield and quality of food crops. Additionally, in the urban environment, pests damage or are a nuisance in homes, home gardens, or landscapes, resulting in costly losses. To protect strawberry and vegetable crops, growers need to stay informed about pests and their management. Similarly, urban communities need to help to address endemic and invasive pest issues. Pests are organisms that damage or interfere with desirable plants in fields and orchards. A pest can be a plant (weed), vertebrate (bird, rodent, or other mammal), invertebrate (insect, tick, mite, or snail), nematode, pathogen (bacteria, virus, or fungus) that causes disease, or other unwanted organism that may harm water quality, animal life, or other parts of the ecosystem.

What Has ANR Done?

UC ANR educates the public about integrated pest management (IPM), an ecosystem-based strategy used to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. Strawberry and vegetable crops advisor, Surendra Dara, who currently serves San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties and previously served Ventura County, reaches out to his clients in the region and beyond through two extension electronic journals. Strawberries and Vegetables, http://ucanr.edu/blogs/strawberries-vegetables/, covers crop production and protection of strawberries and vegetables, while Pest News, http://ucanr.edu/blogs/pestnews/, addresses endemic and invasive pests of urban environment. As an IPM expert, Dara contributes to the IPM solutions of various crops grown in California and serves as a resource person in different parts of the state for microbial control of various pests as well as biostimulants and beneficial microbes.

The Payoff

98% of readers surveyed found UCCE articles useful

In a survey to measure the impact of Dara’s research and extension since 2015, 98% of respondents say they found the information useful and 92% say they will use or have used information from the eJournal articles. Respondents include those conducting IPM with producers; growers; UCCE Master Gardeners; biologists; farm advisors; soil consultants; students; home gardeners; builders; garden centers; and middle school, high school, and college educators, among others. Using the information provided, they identified various insect pests, used recommended methods of control, developed IPM processes for their organization, made public presentations, educated students, advised their colleagues and clientele, and more. In addition to clients in California, readership has extended to other parts of the US and world, including South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. By extending knowledge through these eJournals, UC ANR is not only helping growers and urban communities to address the pest-related challenges of supporting California’s agriculture abundance and environmental health, it is also contributing to global extension.


Supporting Unit: San Luis Obispo County

Santa Barbara County
Surendra K. Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor, skdara@ucdavis.edu