- Posted By: Mark Bolda
- Written by: Mark Bolda
I had a fruitful meeting with PPQ Supervisor Rick McKay, Inspector Leah Gayagas and currently serving Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner Mary Lou Nicoletti on May 19. This meeting was concerning the current inspection and field closure procedures for light brown apple moth in strawberry and caneberry growers in the quarantine zone which covers all of Santa Cruz county and most of the berry production areas of North Monterey counties.
At the time of the meeting, three raspberry fields and one strawberry fields had been closed because of positive finds, so this matter is of considerable urgency to the berry growing community.
Inspections are to take place for each grower every thirty days, either at the cooler for those sending fruit there, or at the field for those growers who are sending fruit out of the quarantine zone venues such as farmer's markets and fruit stands. In addition to this, it is worth reminding growers who are growing fruit for export out of the USA that county phytosanitary inspections are also being done on every load, and they will forward suspect leafrollers to the USDA PPQ program.
Inspections are being done as before, that is to say that 2% of a designated load are evaluated for leafroller presence. If a leafroller is found in the load- and this means any leafroller species - a hold is put on the load and also on the field from where the load came. If no leafrollers are found, the field is clear for another thirty days. A suspect leafroller gets shipped up to the identification laboratory in Sacramento immediately via FedEx and a positive or negative determination should be available within one or two days of the find. If determined to be positive, the hold on the fruit and field continues, if negative then the hold on the fruit and field is lifted. As noted before however, if the larva is very small or is in the pupal stage, the determination will take longer, maybe up to a week and a half.
Field closure is done after an inspection of the field from where the infested load originated. Size of the closure is not arbitrary, it depends on where the larvae are. If they are in a corner of the field only, then only that corner will be closed. If they are spread evenly through the field, then the whole field will unfortunately be closed. Growers should be aware of the trend of finding more leafrollers along the edges of fields in wooded and riparian areas.
One key point out of this meeting for berry growers and their consultants is that once a hold is put on a field, it must be inspected for light brown apple moth larvae before being released. The date of inspection is negotiable, and it might not necessarily be in one's best interest to have a field inspected immediately, since if there are no larvae found, then the hold on the field is lifted and no regulated spray and subsequent field inspection necessary. So, it would seem a good thing for growers experiencing a load hold and subsequent field hold to get that field cleaned up right away. Arrangements can generally be made for inspectors to come out a few days after a hold is put in place, which would give the grower time to spray a fast acting material like a spinosyn and run a crew through and pick out leaf rolls. By doing all of this effectively, the grower avoids the burden of dealing with the regulated spray (and it's disappointingly short list of allowed chemicals) and follow up inspections. By moving quickly, the grower can avoid all that.
The attachment below is the USDA inspection protocol for fruit inspected at a cooler.