Counting collard pests cuts spraying
Dr Powell Smith: Joe Hilliard and his son produce collards in Santee, South Carolina. They had a lot of trouble with pest management when I first began to work with them, but I instructed both Joe and his son in how to identify insects in the field, how to determine the beneficial insects out there and showed them the importance of these beneficial insects in helping control the pest populations. Through the better use of identification and population estimates and choosing their pesticides more carefully, they have been able to reduce the number of sprays that they require to produce a crop of collards drastically. The pesticides they are using are very targeted and have fewer non-target effects than the older materials that they were relying upon in the past.
Joe Hilliard: Powell teaches us how to manage the diamondback moths on my collard greens. Every week we got on a cycle, we would spray just to prevent worms coming in, but he teaches us how to go out and count the population and when we get to a certain threshold in the population, then start spraying. We have probably cut back to ten or twenty percent of what we would normally spray. On the harvest end, we do not have holes in everything; on the production end, we increase our production and increase our yields and our profitability as well.