Page 16 - Griffin Gazette Spring 2017
P. 16

Keeping                    By Tami Van Gaal, CEA Division Leader
it Clean
                           Best Practices to Avoid Introducing Pests on Incoming
 SANITATION FOR CEA CROPS  Plant Material and People
                           Avoid piggybacking pests by controlling two significant sources:
Bonus Digital Content      incoming plant material and people. All incoming plant material
                           should be isolated and intensively scouted for any signs or
                           symptoms of disease, insect and mite pests. Even after scouting,
                           avoid growing newly received plant material with older crops
                           whenever possible. If new crops and older crops must be grown
                           side by side, delay bringing new crops into the existing space until
                           all symptoms of pests can be explained and/or treated. Remember
                           that it’s much easier to treat a condensed group of young plants
                           than a group of mature plants over a larger space.

                           Pay attention to product labels and state and local laws when
                           making product choices. Go in with your best solution; this
                           is not the time for second-tier products. If you rely on BCAs
                           for pest control, all incoming plant material should be given
                           an innundative treatment for your most common insect/mite
                           problems. For example, if you have concerns about spider mites,
                           then make a heavy release of Phytoseiulus persimilis. Remember
                           to review the spray history on the incoming crop to understand
                           BCA compatibility.

                           To limit pests traveling into your facility on staff and visitors, start
                           your efforts at the front door. Consider having staff change from
                           outside footwear to inside footwear before entering the production
                           space. All visitors should be required to wear disposable booties
                           and lab coats or suits that are disposed or laundered after each
                           use. If you use also use foot baths as an exclusionary tactic, be sure
                           to change the solutions frequently (as much as several times per
                           day). Oxidizers, such as ZeroTol 2.0, can be effective and are more
                           user-friendly than bleach. However, the level of active ingredient
                           needs to be monitored and maintained. Once the level drops
                           too low, the pests are not neutralized. If this happens, it’s easy
                           to understand how the footbaths serve as a source of inoculant
                           instead of a protective shield.

                           Best Practices to Avoid Spreading Pests
                           During Production
                           Even with strong efforts to minimize pests gaining access to your
                           facility, problems can pop up in production. Once that happens,
                           combine your crop protection strategies with some simple
                           sanitation efforts to prevent the problem from spreading.

                           First, make it a policy to keep doors to your production spaces
                           closed at all times. Open doors create strong air currents that can
                           quickly spread insects, mite and pathogens through a facility.

                           Next, keep a large supply of disposable gloves on hand. For other
                           activities where the risk of pest spread is higher (propagation or
                           planting), glove changes should occur frequently, such as by the
                           row, variety or specific amount of time. For activities with lower risk
                           of pest spread, glove changes can occur a less frequently.

                           Then, consider having all staff wear suits, coats or aprons when
                           working with the crops, especially in areas of infection or infestation.
                           Change these items at regular intervals (at break time or between
                           production spaces). Lastly, make it easy to support good practices
                           by placing garbage cans and laundry hampers where you want the
                           changes to occur.

                           The most diligent management strategy also considers how staff
                           moves between production spaces. Avoid visiting an infected or
                           infested space early in the day, then working in other spaces later
                           in the day. Instead, whenever possible, work clean spaces early or
                           assign specific staff to work only in the infested areas.
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