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First UC app for integrated pest management outreach

The Issue

The strawberry industry in California is valued at more than $2 billion, producing nearly 90% of the fresh market and processed strawberries in the United States. The crop is vulnerable to a number of pests and diseases, and timely information on identifying the specific problem and taking appropriate management action is critical to preventing crop losses. Smartphones have become very popular in the agriculture industry, and several growers and pest control advisors (PCAs) frequently use smartphones to access information for crop issues. UC’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) statewide program maintains a website with valuable resources about pest and disease management information, but for a variety of reasons a number of growers and PCAs do not use the website. For instance, the website has a huge amount of information for the user to digest, few or no pictures to identify some problems, and no dedicated access point for strawberry concerns. In response to this, a free IPMinfo app was created as an improved outreach tool for members of the California strawberry industry.

What Has ANR Done?

IPMinfo is the first integrated pest management information app from the University of California. It provides agricultural professionals with one-touch access to information about the biology, symptoms of damage, and management options for pests and diseases. For each pest, users will find information on its biology and damage symptoms as well as associated photos. Links in the management section take users to the UC IPM website for detailed information on control options. The disease section has information on symptoms and management options along with useful pictures. The free app was created by Cooperative Extension advisor Surendra Dara of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties, a member of the UC Statewide IPM Program.

The Payoff

Instant access + Instant info = Instant success

Within just five months of its release, more than 300 people had downloaded the free IPMinfo app. Positive feedback from industry and community-based users has confirmed its usefulness, reliability, and user accessibility. IPMinfo currently has information in English on strawberry pests and diseases, but the app template can easily be expanded to include information for other crops as well as translations to other languages. Furthermore, this app was developed in only four months and on a very small budget, demonstrating the potential for UC ANR to improve outreach quickly and economically and to rapidly respond to California’s local and industry-wide needs.

Clientele Testimonial

“What a great app. This is a modern day of information instantly. As a newcomer to the strawberry community, this will be a great help to me in learning current issues.” - strawberry industry trader


Supporting Unit: Santa Barbara County

Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor, (805) 781-5940, skdara@ucanr.edu