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Berry grower pioneers integrated pest management

ARTICLE/ 2016/ HortiDaily

Dale-Ila Riggs, president of the New York State Berry Growers Association, who has earned a recent Excellence in IPM award, has made it her mission to tackle head-on what could be the berry growers’ worst pest ever.

As a former Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educator and professional IPM scout who monitored dozens of vegetable and berry farms for pests as well as the beneficial insects that help keep pests in line — not to mention her experience on the 240-acre berry and vegetable farm she and her husband run together — Riggs has decades of practical knowledge under her belt. But with a formidable pest as destructive as SWD, dealing with it takes relentless advocacy and careful research.

A 'Berry' Good Net Remedy For SWD Fruit Flies?

American Agriculturist/ 2014

Riggs harvests all of her fruit crops for fresh, direct market sale from the farmstead, at farmers markets, and to dozens of regional restaurants. “We need a system that will control SWD yet be practical for working around the berries and less costly,” she adds.

Using exclusion netting helps manage SWD in blueberries

ARTICLE/ 2015/ Fruit Growers News 

Riggs earned her master’s degree in horticulture and adult education from Oregon State University. A fifth-generation Vermonter, she and her husband, Don Miles, started their now 240-acre farm from scratch in 1997. Prior to starting her farm, she was a regional vegetable specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension, winning the National Crop Production Award in 1997 ...
Despite the prototype nature of the project, and learning curves associated with anchoring netting that survived through 60 miles per hour winds and hail in thunderstorms, this trial clearly shows that 80 gram insect netting is a viable alternative for managing SWD,” Riggs said. “Beside providing protection from SWD, it prevents bird predation, and protects the crop from hail.
— Fruit Growers News