IPM innovator awards given
California’s Sunwest Fruit Company of Parlier and Gallo’s Sonoma Vineyards received the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s 2011 Integrated Pest Management Innovator Award for their leadership in using creative, effective solutions to reduce pesticide use.
Sunwest Fruit, a privately owned grower/packer/shipper of stone fruit and citrus, is certified for sustainable practices under the Protected Harvest program and markets its fruit under the Zeal label, an eco-label targeting socially and environmentally conscious consumers. The company traps red scale insects, tracking their populations with global positioning system mapping and partnered with Agrian, a Fresno-based software firm to develop an iPad application to capture the data. Pheromone disruption puffers are used for stone fruit pests and the company installed bio-filters in the Tivy Creek watershed to filter runoff and prevent pesticides and pollutants from entering the creek.
Gallo’s Sonoma Vineyards, with a long history of IPM practices, recently converted to double-row spray rigs to reduce single passes of herbicide application in the vineyard. The company provides funding and support for pocket gopher studies on its Laguna Ranch, uses falcons for starling bird control, and has installed owl boxes and raptor perches for rodent control. Other IPM measures include release of predacious mites and following an integrated Pierce’s disease management and removal program.