Oct 17, 2023
Great Lakes EXPO: IPM Investigations

Training session to help growers scout for signs of pests and diseases

Integrated Pest Management can be an effective way to utilize natural resources while benefiting the environment. Growers know the importance of plant health — but do they understand the ins and outs of a successful IPM program? At the 2023 Great Lakes Fruit Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO, four speakers, Erin Lizotte, Laura Miles, Erin Hill and Jan Byrne, will lead an IPM Investigator Training session. Each speaker specializes in different pest management disciplines and will collectively cover scouting, problem-solving and diagnostics. 

IPM Coordinator at Michigan State University (MSU), Lizotte, provides IPM support for emerging commercial agriculture crops. Lizotte is a plant pathologist and has expertise in entomology, pesticides and field diagnostics. 

Having both a bachelor’s in science degree and a master’s in science degree from Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia, and a second master’s degree in Plant Pathology from MSU, Miles specializes in the application of molecular tools for the detection of common plant pathogens. 

During the session, Miles expects to “provide guidelines for the identification and description of symptoms, including their location within the plant and across the entire field,” Miles said. “This skill is valuable for pinpointing potential sources of plant health issues.

With degrees from the University of Michigan and MSU, Hill has experience in plant identification, weed ecology management in vegetable and field crops — including cover crops, organic products, weed-related crop technologies and herbicide resistance detection.

During the session, Hill explains that growers will learn and understand procedures and protocols for submitting samples to diagnostic labs.

“Growers also need to know how to best preserve and submit samples when advanced diagnostics are required,” Hill said. “Timely and correctly submitted samples can lead to faster and more accurate results.”

Specializing in plant pathology, Byrne has a graduate degree in Plant Pathology at MSU where she worked with diseases of both vegetable and floriculture crops. During the session at Great Lakes EXPO, growers can expand their knowledge in diagnostic abilities, according to Byrne. 

“This program will provide attendees a bit of a behind-the-scenes view of a diagnostic lab,” Byrne said. “The topics covered will help growers be able to better leverage the use of diagnostic labs at their land grant university.”

Growers will have the opportunity to learn about techniques successful for scouting, services offered at the MSU PPD lab, gain helpful guidance on collecting and submitting diagnostic samples and hear about various case studies demonstrating the potential impact of using a diagnostic lab.

According to Byrne, anyone can implement IPM strategies, not just the experts. 

“Growers can actively monitor their crops for signs of pests or diseases. Such involvement can help them develop the necessary skills to recognize potential plant health problems,” Byrne said. “This session will help increase attendees’ awareness of some of the resources available to help support their diagnostic and management needs. This includes access to experts, diagnostic labs, extension services and educational sessions like the IPM Investigators. These resources provide valuable information, guidance and tools for effective IPM.”

IPM Investigator Training session will take place on Wednesday, Dec 6, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Learn more about this session and others at www.glexpo.com. The 2023 Great Lakes EXPO will be held Dec. 5-7 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The latest labor-saving technology for vegetable growers will be at the Expo in the Innovation Aisle. Don’t miss the Ag Tech Symposium on Thursday, December 7 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For a preview of the diagnostic services offered by MSU PPD, growers are encouraged to visit pestid.msu.edu. Follow the lab on X (previously known as Twitter) @MSUDiagnostics.

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