By D. Bruce Bosley
Extension Agent/Cropping Systems
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
There is an excellent tool for anyone who wants to learn how to identify major crop and garden pests for our region, understand how these pests damage plants, determine when they reach an economic threshold for control treatments, and find the labeled pesticides that can be legally used to control them. I'm speaking of the website entitled: High Plains Integrated Pest Management Guide for Colorado, Western Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. This website can be found on the Web at www.highplainsipm.org.
The High Plains Integrated Pest Management Guide was first published in 1998, with the objective of replacing the recommendation guides produced by individual states. Resources for producing and updating guides had become increasingly scarce, and the Guide authors were of the opinion that a combined effort would produce a much more comprehensive and useful publication. Additionally, the agricultural production environment was sufficiently uniform across the contiguous 4-state area that single recommendations could be made for the region for a given pest problem.
In total, 19 entomologists and plant pathologists from the four states have contributed to the Guide. The first hard copy version of the Guide exceeded 300 pages and provided arthropod pest and disease recommendations for most crops grown in the region. Several introductory chapters were developed, as well as crop chapters.
Individual pest sections in the crop chapters provided, where available, information on identification, plant damage, non-chemical management approaches, treatment decisions, and chemical control. Links to several state weed management recommendations are provided in the Guide.
Updates, primarily addressing pesticide product availability, were developed, printed and distributed annually. A few years ago, the Guide authors decided to convert to an online document to provide more flexible, timely and efficient updates. The online document also gave us much greater ability to improve the content format or structure of the Guide or its components as the need arose. The Guide is now available only electronically. The electronic version of the Guide seems to have been well accepted, with average daily visits increasing from six to 144 since it first became available.
I personally find this online guide very easy to use and also helpful in making research based recommendations regarding insect and disease pest management for field crops. The High Plains IPM Guide is currently being expanded to include information on pest management for vegetable and fruit crops and landscape plants. Some sections are complete while others are being developed.
If you are involved in making field or horticultural crop pest management decisions you owe it to yourself to check this website out.
Please contact me, Bruce Bosley, if you have questions on this or other topics. (522-3200 ext. 285).