Pesticides Used in Grape Pest Management
Agricultural production is not natural, and viticulture is no exception. Since the distant past when man started producing food rather than hunting and gathering, there has been a continuous struggle with nature. Nature maintains ecosystem stability. When a new element, such as a crop, is inserted into an ecosystem, the components of that system shift in response. Thus, our agricultural production systems, artificial additions to the natural environment, are constantly challenged, and insect pests are key contenders. Pests have had a strong impact in the making of history. Adequate pest-control methodology is necessary to compete in domestic and foreign markets. Chemical, genetic, biological and cultural controls are all used to reduce crop losses caused by agricultural pests. The best method of pest management is to use crops that are naturally resistant to the pest. If such stock is not available or if the resistant qualities are lost, biological control using non-pest species is an alternative. These biological pest-control agents may poison, infect with disease, literally eat or cause other lethal effects to the pest population. Cultural control, such as crop rotation, is an effective pest-management tool. Chemical pesticides are frequently the most economically feasible method to reduce pests. Pest management is a dynamic area that is an ongoing challenge that scientists must continue to address. Ever-changing conditions caused by local climates, new crop varieties and fluctuations in pest pressure, related to changes in pest populations, give chemical pesticides a key role in successful pest-management systems. Today’s farmers produce over 80 % more per acre than was produced by the preceding generation, and part of this increase is due to the use of pesticides (Ragsdale 1987). Pesticides provide benefits to producers through prevention of yield losses, improved crop quality, enhanced market opportunities, facilitation of farm work and harvest and an improved cost/profit ratio. Consumers, in turn, benefit from a food supply that is ample, varied, safe from microbial contaminants and available throughout the year and that promotes good health. However, agriculture has not taken the steps necessary to present credible information that reflects the benefits derived from pesticide use. In order to examine these in a more definitive manner, one must examine the impacts of changing pest-management tactics (Ragsdale and Stinner 1999). This examination involves such concepts as economic thresholds, injury levels and crop loss. Pesticides, if used indiscriminately, can not only cause serious injury to the environment but also evoke problems such as pesticide residues, resistance and resurgence. In this chapter, commonly used insecticides, along with biopesticides and botanicals in viticulture are discussed in brief.