When Dave Carlson called me on editorial deadline and said that he thought it was time for growers to spend money—and would we promote the idea, I knew that either a major personality transformation had occurred or the guy was being held by terrorists from a citrus or banana consortium. Dave, who is president of the Washington Apple Commission and who has, with others in the industry, reinvented the organization since its near collapse, has a well-earned reputation for being “economical.”
Dave believes that this year may be the most opportune time growers will have to drop their reliance on organophosphates and other standard chemicals and finally make the transition to integrated pest management, if not to fully organic orchards.
Prices have been good this past year for apples, and though not all fruit growers benefited, there likely is more grower money available for education and the resources and products needed to convert conventional operations to more environment-friendly systems. Dave worries that without fairly rapid conversion, growers may not be in a position, financially or competitively, to move to softer methods in the future.
Washington State University researchers and Extension educators (and their counterparts in universities throughout the world) have developed the information needed to make the switch to IPM, and much of it is available through Good Fruit Grower back issues, on our Web site, or on WSU tree fruit Web sites. And there are IPM specialists in most, if not all, growing areas who can assist.
In this issue, our “Good Question” department reflects the opinions of a variety of experts in pest control, and all seem to support the idea that IPM, though not without its problems, is the most accepted option for growers to manage pests. In addition, this particular issue of Good Fruit Grower includes a variety of information that should induce growers to expand their efforts to achieve integrated pest management.
This magazine takes no political or industry position, even on issues that growers, as a whole, support. But we can and do get scientifically sound information to you so that you can make your own decisions.
In his March 1 Good Fruit Grower column, Dave has promised to detail his reasons why he thinks you should spend your hard-earned money to quickly transition the tree fruit industry into a new era. And you can bet that he’ll have the figures to the nickel—unless he really is captive.