Integrated Pest Management plays a key role in our organic production system. Identifying and monitoring pests, record keeping, logging weather data, and computer modeling make up the major components in our pesticide application decisions. We blend state of the art technologies with new and old certified organic products in order to produce high quality fruit in our challenging Midwestern environment.
Our overall concept is to enhance the environment and provide a balance between beneficial and pest insects. We use many approaches to keep pest populations low and to soften the natural spikes and drops in populations. We then use certified organic products to repel, kill, confuse, or inhibit the mating of pests.
This position will include all the work described in the General Intern Position. Up to 20% of work time will be spent specifically on pest monitoring, trap maintenance, record keeping, and running computer models.
We monitor leaf wetness and temperature with Spectrum Technologies weather data loggers. We time pesticide and repellant products using degree accumulations for codling moth and plum curculio. We monitor populations of apple maggot and codling moths with traps in all our apple blocks. We also monitor several pests for the Minnesota Department of agriculture. We monitor conditions for diseases and run computer models for the development of apples scab and fireblight. The IPM intern will be responsible for weekly monitoring and maintenance of traps in up to 20 orchard blocks. The intern will also be responsible for downloading the weather data loggers onto a PC and running and reporting the results of the disease models.
Some application of certified organic products may be required. Use of a backpack sprayer, boom sprayer, or airblast sprayer may occur. Regular orchard pesticide application is NOT the responsibility of the IPM intern.
Formal training in entomology or plant pathology is preferred. Experience in fruit production is preferred but not required. Identification materials are provided and of course the intern will be trained to use the computer modeling programs. Familiarity with computers and windows based programs is required.
All the tasks in this position can be learned on the job. The applicant with a strong understanding of insects and diseases of fruit crops will get more from this experience. If you have not had any formal training in this area a strong interest or experience in fruit production will be necessary.