PEST ALERT – Black Fig Fly
(Diptera: Lonchaeidae: Silba adipata)
Invasive Fig Pest Recently Discovered in Southern California
Overview: Fig growers need to be aware of the black fig fly (BFF), an invasive insect that was recently discovered infesting figs in multiple counties in southern California. The BFF has been reported in the following counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. Movement of figs from these counties is strongly discouraged to prevent any artificial spread of BFF to other areas of the state. University of California Cooperative Extension personnel are currently working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to further delineate populations, as well as develop improved monitoring and management strategies.
and larvae subsequently feed internally on the fruit (Figure 2).
This feeding damages the fruit and causes it to prematurely drop from the tree. Upon completion of development, the BFF larvae make their way out of the fruit (Figure 3),
drop to the soil and pupate. In some cases, BFF pupae have been recovered inside of fruits as well (Figure 4).
Black fig flies overwinter as pupae in the soil. In the spring they emerge, mate and begin to attack figs. The BFF can have between 4 to 6 generations per year (more in warmer areas, fewer in cooler areas).
Monitoring: Fig fruits can be inspected for signs of BFF activity, such as larval feeding or exit holes. Focus on unripe fruits that have recently fallen from the tree. Populations of BFF adults can also be monitored using McPhail-type traps (Figure 5) baited with torula yeast lures, although the efficacy of this trap/lure combination is still under evaluation.
Management: Biological control appears to be limited and there are currently no chemical controls registered specifically for this pest on California figs. As such, orchard sanitation is critical, and growers should make sure to remove and destroy any BFF-infested fruits. Larvae in infested fruit are protected from pesticide sprays and there are no effective soil drenches for pupal control. Insecticidal baits (e.g. GF-120 NF Naturalyte®) may be useful for control of adult BFF but note that label rates have not been directly tested for efficacy against this pest. Consult with a licensed pest control adviser and your County Agricultural Commissioner before applying any chemical controls.
Do Not Move Figs: California figs are primarily grown in the Central Valley between Merced and Fresno, with many smaller orchards spread along the coast and in southern California. Movement of figs from the infested counties is strongly discouraged to prevent any artificial spread of BFF to other areas of California.
Reporting the Pest: If you find infested fruit or suspect that BFF may be attacking fruits in your orchard, please contact your local UCCE Farm Advisor and/or County Agricultural Commissioner.
Contact Information: If you have any additional questions, please contact Houston Wilson (Houston.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Authors: Houston Wilson (Dept. Entomology, UC Riverside), Kadie Britt (Dept. Entomology, UC Riverside), Phoebe Gordon (UC Cooperative Extension), Ben Faber (UC Cooperative Extension), and Sonia Rios (UC Cooperative Extension).
According to USDA,
US farm real estate value averaged
$3,380 per acre for 2021
and Irrigated CA crop land
averaged $16, 300
The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,380 per acre for 2021, up $220 per acre (7.0 percent) from 2020.
The United States cropland value averaged $4,420 per acre, an increase of $320 per acre (7.8 percent) from the previous year. The United States pasture value averaged $1,480 per acre, an increase of $80 per acre (5.7 percent) from 2020.
Farm real estate average value per acre was still highest in California, at $10,900. The mountain region, among them Montana, Nevada and Wyoming, was among the lowest. No wonder it is so hard to start a farm in California, much less in the coastal counties where land prices are even higher.
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Organic producers and handlers can now apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds to assist with the cost of receiving or maintaining organic certification.
Applications for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) are due Nov. 1, 2021.
“USDA is here to help all producers, including those who grow our nation's organic food and fiber. Many farmers have told us that cost was a barrier to their ability to get an organic certification,” said Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA). “By assisting with the costs, this program can help organic farmers get their certification along with the benefits that come with it.”
OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA's National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent during the 2021 and any subsequent program year. Producers can be reimbursed for expenses made between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 including application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage.
For 2021, OCCSP will reimburse 50% of a certified operation's allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $500 for each of the following categories (or “scopes”):
- wild crops
- State organic program fees
Organic farmers and ranchers may apply through an FSA county office or a participating state agency.
This funding will be complemented by an additional $20 million for organic and transitioning producers through the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. More information on that funding will be available in the coming weeks.
To learn more about organic certification cost share, please visit the OCCSP webpage, visit usda.gov/organic, or contact your local USDA Service Center.