Michigan State University Awarded Grant to Tackle Spotted Wing Drosophila

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, awarded $150,000 to scientists at Michigan State University (MSU) to combat spotted wing drosophila (SWD). SWD is an invasive pest that decimated 21% of Michigan’s 2016 cherry crop, according to industry surveys.

Michigan State University, the Michigan Cherry Committee, and the Michigan State Horticulture Society are matching the Foundation’s grant for a $300,000 total investment in research to mitigate and prevent future damage from SWD. The pest poses an economic threat to Michigan tart cherry farmers, who must take costly measures to protect their crop against SWD. Michigan produces two-thirds of the nation’s supply of tart cherries, or more than 200 million pounds, which fetch hundreds of millions of dollars in the global export market.

“This important research has the potential for far-reaching impacts on American farmers not only in Michigan but in the 40 other states where spotted wing drosophila has been identified,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., executive director of FFAR. “By responding rapidly to emerging issues, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research serves as a bridge to traditional funding sources while supporting critical short-term research that will help farmers in the field.”

The grant is issued through the Foundation’s Rapid Outcomes from Agricultural Research (ROAR) program, an initiative designed to prevent and mitigate damage from emerging pests and pathogens through short-term research funding. Applicants are encouraged to form broad-based coalitions to increase research collaboration and maximize the mitigation potential of each grant.

“Invasive pests pose a serious threat to the livelihood of Michigan’s cherry farmers,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Michigan State University is a national leader in agriculture research with the expertise needed to quickly respond to threats to this important part of Michigan’s diverse agricultural economy.”

To date, few management systems have yielded both immediate and long-term solutions to combat this invasive pest. This grant will support the investigation of integrated pest management strategies with the potential to mitigate the damage caused by SWD not only in tart cherries, but also in other specialty crops including blueberries and raspberries.

“We are fortunate as a state to have excellent researchers working with growers on SWD,” said Phil Korson, Executive Director of the Cherry Marketing Institute. “The industry has supported research, and MSU has received several national grants. I’m confident that, with the additional resources from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, our team will lead the way in developing a holistic plan for this pest.”

MSU researchers aim to tackle this issue three ways:

  1. Investigate suitability and optimal application techniques for current pesticides;
  2. develop real-time SWD population maps to disseminate outbreak data; and
  3. provide direct outreach to farmers who will most benefit from improved SWD management.

Julianna Wilson, Ph.D., an entomologist and tree fruit outreach specialist at Michigan State University, will lead the team of collaborators.

“SWD is a serious concern for tart cherry growers. Their production costs have increased by 20% to 30% due to dealing with this pest,” Wilson said. “Our team of MSU researchers is building off preliminary research and going to new resources of external funding to find the most effective and cost-efficient integrated pest management strategies for growers.”

Co-principal investigators on this project include:

  • Bill Ravlin, Ph.D., MSU professor and entomology department chair
  • Larry Gut, Ph.D, professor at Michigan State University
  • Rufus Isaacs, Ph.D., professor at Michigan State University
  • Nikki Rothwell, extension specialist at Michigan State University
  • John Wise, Ph.D., professor at Michigan State University

To ensure immediate and useful application of research findings, MSU collaborators will coordinate with a Consortium, Task Force, and Advisory Committee formed under the umbrella of the Michigan SWD Initiative. Membership includes cherry growers and producers, MSU professors and Extension Educators and representatives of the Michigan Tree Fruit Commission, Michigan Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Michigan Cherry Committee, Michigan Tree Fruit Commission, and Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Stone Fruit Stories
Stone Fruit
August 29, 2017
What Will Be the Next Generation of Cherry Canopies?
Take a look at what the future has in store for NC-140 Sweet Cherry Canopy Architecture and Rootstock Trials. Read More
Insect Control
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in California
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Stone Fruit
August 1, 2017
Researcher: Cherry Growers Must Use Disease Management Strategies When it Comes to SWD
Dave Jones, Extension Educator with Michigan State University, says growers are well accustomed to monitoring and thinking ahead. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 31, 2017
Clemson Peach Breeding Hones in on Disease Resistance, Flavor
In spite of the March freeze that devastated growers in the region, one producer says breeding for taste and quality needs to prevail. Read More
Disease Control
July 25, 2017
Brown Rot Sinks its Teeth into Michigan Cherries
Unseasonably wet weather causes outbreak, and growers are warned it can spread to peaches. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 6, 2017
Oriental Fruit Moth One Shifty Pest
This moth has many characteristics that have allowed it to adapt and thrive in many peach and nectarine growing regions. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 5, 2017
Floyd Zaiger is the Sweetness Scientist Behind Zaiger Genetics
Floyd Zaiger’s innovative lab extends to the orchard, where he and his kids’ crosses produce some of the world’s most fabulous fruit. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for National Pollinator Week
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 17, 2017
Keep an Eye out for Peach Leaf Curl
Follow these tips to prevent the disease next year. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 12, 2017
Monster Sweet Cherry Crop Expected
But the tart cherry crop is forecasted to drop nearly one-quarter from 2016. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 6, 2017
California Dried Plum Crop Expected To Double
After the disastrous 2016 bloom, a more normal crop this year has the prune industry back on track. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 5, 2017
Michigan State University Awarded Grant to Tackle Spotted Wing Drosophila
Research team seeks solutions to protect state’s cherry crop. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 4, 2017
Multiple Leader Training Optimizes Sweet Cherry Labor Efficiency
The final intensive training system to be examined in the North American NC-140 Sweet Cherry Canopy Architecture and Rootstock Trial Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
peach buds and blossom
Stone Fruit
May 8, 2017
USDA Researchers Say Georgia Peach Crop Worst in 100 Years
Spring freeze, not enough chill hours make for a tough growing season. Read More
The Latest
Stone Fruit
September 25, 2017
Many Pollinators Boost Cherry Yields — N…
Researchers are finding a multi-pronged approach to pollinators give both sweet and tart cherry growers the best results. Read More
Stone Fruit
September 9, 2017
Southeast Peach Prices Soar with Small C…
While the Georgia and South Carolina peach crop is tiny, locally grown peaches are selling for big bucks. Read More
Farm Marketing
August 31, 2017
Winning at Farmers’ Markets – Secr…
Small farmer Rodney Stackhouse cashes in at 25 farmers’ markets a week by growing 200-plus varieties of stone fruit and empowering a crackerjack staff. Read More
Stone Fruit
August 29, 2017
What Will Be the Next Generation of Cher…
Take a look at what the future has in store for NC-140 Sweet Cherry Canopy Architecture and Rootstock Trials. Read More
Insect Control
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in…
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Stone Fruit
August 1, 2017
Researcher: Cherry Growers Must Use Dise…
Dave Jones, Extension Educator with Michigan State University, says growers are well accustomed to monitoring and thinking ahead. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 31, 2017
Clemson Peach Breeding Hones in on Disea…
In spite of the March freeze that devastated growers in the region, one producer says breeding for taste and quality needs to prevail. Read More
Disease Control
July 25, 2017
Brown Rot Sinks its Teeth into Michigan …
Unseasonably wet weather causes outbreak, and growers are warned it can spread to peaches. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 6, 2017
Oriental Fruit Moth One Shifty Pest
This moth has many characteristics that have allowed it to adapt and thrive in many peach and nectarine growing regions. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 5, 2017
Floyd Zaiger is the Sweetness Scientist …
Floyd Zaiger’s innovative lab extends to the orchard, where he and his kids’ crosses produce some of the world’s most fabulous fruit. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for Nat…
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 17, 2017
Keep an Eye out for Peach Leaf Curl
Follow these tips to prevent the disease next year. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 12, 2017
Monster Sweet Cherry Crop Expected
But the tart cherry crop is forecasted to drop nearly one-quarter from 2016. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 6, 2017
California Dried Plum Crop Expected To D…
After the disastrous 2016 bloom, a more normal crop this year has the prune industry back on track. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 5, 2017
Michigan State University Awarded Grant …
Research team seeks solutions to protect state’s cherry crop. Read More
Stone Fruit
June 4, 2017
Multiple Leader Training Optimizes Sweet…
The final intensive training system to be examined in the North American NC-140 Sweet Cherry Canopy Architecture and Rootstock Trial Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 8, 2017
USDA Researchers Say Georgia Peach Crop …
Spring freeze, not enough chill hours make for a tough growing season. Read More