Avocado Pest Management
The Petty Ranch in the Ventura area has been using integrated pest management since before the term existed. In the 1930s they joined Associates Insectory, started via a partnership between lemon and orange packing houses.
About 12 years ago, they also started planting avocados into their rotation. Here’s Petty Ranch Manager and 5th generation farmer Chris Sayer.
Sayer… “Compared to citrus avocados are relatively pest free. The most significant one is the a avocado thrip and the persea mite. We control those primarily through the release of predatory mites that we get from the insectory. And occasionally, maybe one year out of five, we actually have to go in and apply some agrimac to keep the thrips under control if the beneficials aren't quite getting the job done. But most of the time they do a wonderful job.”
Sayer’s approach to integrated pest management is to try to maintain a balance with nature as much as possible. However, there are times that sustainable farmers like Chris need tools to bring nature back into balance to produce a crop.
Sayer… “Our first line of response is, you know, our beneficial release program and trying to keep the various insects under control. And then we'll spray, if necessary, to bring that back into balance. I prefer to look at it as, you know, we're using the conventional materials to restore balance rather than trying to just bludgeon nature into submission.”
Chris continues to find ways he can keep that natural balance in his orchards.