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Economics and environmental impact of a sustainable integrated pest management program in celery

Trumble, J.T., Carson, W.G., Kund, G.S.
Journal of economic entomology 1997 v.90 no.1 pp. 139-146
profits and margins, Apium graveolens, Lepidoptera, Liriomyza, integrated pest management, chemical control, economic analysis, costs and returns, crop yield, environmental impact, solvents, air pollution, Bacillus thuringiensis, methomyl, permethrin, emissions, California
Studies were conducted on celery plantings in 1992 and 1993 (experimental plantings) and 1995 (commercial field) that compared the benefit of current chemical standard pesticide practices with an integrated pest management (IPM) program based on B. thuringiensis. In experimental plantings at a field station, the chemical standard treatment consisted of 9 applications of methomyl and permethrin. The IPM program used 3 or 4 applications of B. thuringiensis, the need for which was determined by sampling insect populations for established thresholds. Each control program was evaluated for yield, crop value, and cost of the control strategies. A partial budget was constructed that determined net profits for all treatments. Both the chemical standard and IPM treatments reduced pest populations and damage, resulting in better yield and net profits as compared with the control treatment. The reduced input costs of the IPM program resulted in better economic returns in both years. In 1992, net profits were higher by $1,485/ha. In 1993, when celery prices were lower, net profits with the IPM program were higher by $614/ha. The program was validated in 1995 on a commercial celery operation in Ventura County, California. The IPM program generated a net profit more than $410/ha higher than that of the grower's chemical program. Because reduced potential for insecticide resistance in the IPM program was not accounted for in the economic analysis, and the validation trials were conducted on a progressive operation using approximately 40% fewer pesticides than most celery producers, the results of the economic analyses are conservative.