I am a University of California pomology farm advisor and have worked in the pear industry for going on 26 years. I read the article on WSU mating disruption research in the March 1 Good Fruit Grower and noted that it stated that mating disruption began in walnuts in California. Actually, puffer mating disruption that is currently being used in tree fruit began in 1996 by Dr. Harry Shorey, who developed the strategy and was funded by the California pear industry to test the dispensers in an areawide project in Lake County. I was his local collaborator, and we began using puffers on 160 acres (5 orchards). The project expanded yearly (we were the first USDA areawide puffer project grant and also received multiple CalDPR grants and industry funds, winning a Pest Management Alliance award) to 1,300 acres, and to this day is the main commercial strategy employed for codling moth on the North Coast and in much of the California pear acreage. Dr. Steve Welter began studying puffers following the death of Dr. Shorey and after the puffers had been employed commercially for some years. His research helped further elucidate the mechanisms, or reasons, the puffers were effective. The walnut puffer project led by Dr. Welter was designed based on the Lake County project design, and is credited as such by Dr. Welter. Indeed, the rate (1 per acre) determined as effective in pome fruits in Michigan and WSU studies is the same as those originally determined to be effective by Dr. Shorey many years ago, and that is the standard rate employed today.
I would be happy to refer you to local industry members who have been intimately familiar with the use of puffers in California.
University of California Cooperative Extension
Dear Good Fruit Grower:
I just received the March 15 Good Fruit Grower today at work (Rothrock Farms, Inc.). I just have to tell you that I am tearing off the front page and framing it for our farm office before the foreman gets to read it! Just love the picture!
Rothrock Farms, Inc.