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Millennium Grove Avocado Demonstration


PROBLEM: Spray oriented critics maintain that biological control is compromised over large areas of the Santa Clara River Valley by dust plumes originating at the Toland Sanitary Landfill.

SIGNIFICANCE: Road dust is frequently noted as interfering with biological control on crops located within a few yards of the dust source. Regional dust effects, operating over a scale of miles, have never been specifically investigated. Biological control monitoring at the landfill carries implications wherever agriculture lies adjacent to large–scale earth–moving operations.

STRATEGY: Create a biological pest control demonstration on landfill – owned buffer zones where exposure to putative dust sources is greatest. Successful biological control at the landfill will serve the dual purpose of satisfying critics on the regional dust issue and providing a no–spray demonstration to the local community.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Launched a monthly insect monitoring program under contract with landfill operators. Demonstrated that most "dust–induced"; insect outbreaks in the landfill buffer zones are actually ant–induced and disappear as ants are brought under control. Advising on biological management of persea mite in the newly planted 18 acre avocado orchard and on habitat manipulation to support the natural enemy complex–including mulch, cover crops, insectary plants, etc.

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