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Coordinating a Response to Tomato Bacterial Disease Outbreaks in Ontario Janice LeBoeuf Vegetable Crop Specialist Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

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Presentation on theme: "Coordinating a Response to Tomato Bacterial Disease Outbreaks in Ontario Janice LeBoeuf Vegetable Crop Specialist Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food."— Presentation transcript:

1 Coordinating a Response to Tomato Bacterial Disease Outbreaks in Ontario Janice LeBoeuf Vegetable Crop Specialist Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food

2 The Ontario Tomato Industry Area harvested 3-year average: 2002-2004 Processing tomatoes

3 The Ontario Tomato Industry Area harvested 3-year average: 2001-2003 Fresh market tomatoes

4 Issue: Bacterial Disease Outbreaks Bacterial spot and speck - primarily Bacterial canker - scattered, but severe in 2000 after storms left standing water

5 light spotting of the foliage vs. almost complete defoliation of the plant sunscald, poor colour development, rots due to early senescence of the foliage and lesions on the fruit fruit lesions reduce the quality of both fresh market and processing fruit (especially serious in whole pack or diced product) and interfere with peeling higher sorting costs on farm and in factory increased tare penalties and possibility of not meeting contracted tonnage lower solids, increased costs, slower factory operations, reduced peeled recovery for processors processors also risk falling short of packing goals Impacts to Industry

6 Outbreaks usually associated with heavy rain, high wind storm events Sometimes impacts widespread, sometimes localized (2000 vs. 2003)

7 Bacterial disease is a problem we struggle with in tomatoes year after year. "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein So, what can we do differently?

8 What were we doing? Seed treatment - chlorine or acid - most processors - most seed lots - always done right?? Two to four year crop rotation Spray copper in greenhouse or in field when symptoms appear Some growers using preventative sprays of copper - but often just a few applications at long intervals Adding Bravo with copper as a sticker Speck resistant cultivars Minimize leaf wetness in greenhouse transplant production Increase in drip irrigation Good drainage Burying residue Research, extension efforts

9 The Tour: Bacteria-palooza 2003 Arranged an informal bacterial disease tour with researchers, extension, processor agricultural staff, crop consultants, Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers directors Why did the outbreak occur? How could we have prevented it? How can we prevent future outbreaks? What are the critical gaps in our knowledge?

10 Follow-up Meeting: On the tour, the group requested that I arrange a meeting after tomato harvest to discuss the issue further At the meeting: researchers, extension, processor agricultural staff, crop consultants, tomato breeders, Ontario Tomato Seedling Growers Marketing Board rep, Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers reps, Pest Diagnostic Clinic (U of G), agribusiness Dr. Diane Cuppels reviewed what we know about the biology of the bacterial spot pathogen Dr. Ron Pitblado discussed management strategies for tomato bacterial diseases Then discussion...

11 What do we need to know to manage these diseases more effectively? Does the Group D bacterial spot overwinter in Ontario? Is bacterial canker an issue, or mainly spot and speck? Is the spot population in Ontario developing resistance to copper? Is it likely to? Are bacteria being introduced on peppers, fresh market cultivars, small lots of specialized processing cultivars being grown in the same transplant greenhouses? How can we minimize spread while handling and wetting- up the transplants? Can properly treated seed still harbour bacteria? How can we be sure that purchased seed lots have been treated?

12 What do we need to know to manage these diseases more effectively? What is the threshold of infected seed required to cause an outbreak? Is copper effective? Are we using it correctly? How is it best used? Where did the inoculum come from? Infected seed? Infected crop residue? Contaminated greenhouse or field equipment? Weed hosts? How is it being spread? Infected transplants planted in the field? Wind driven rain and mists? Processor staff, crop scouts, critters moving through fields? Equipment? How far can it spread on wind driven rain? Do stressful growing conditions increase disease infection, spread?

13 What do we need to know to manage these diseases more effectively? Can we test for infected seed, non-symptomatic infected transplants reliably and economically? How many seeds or transplants do we need to test to get meaningful results? Is group D more virulent, more destructive? Is there a lab in Ontario that will do PCR diagnosis on these diseases? Can we test seeds, seedlings, plants? What are they doing in other tomato-growing areas? ???

14 Action Plan Use what we know to try to manage bacterial disease more effectively Agree on priorities for research to answer some of our questions Focus on three aspects of production: seed, transplant greenhouse, field

15 Seed

16 OTSGMB Recommend transplant growers test questionable seed lots for the presence of acid or chlorine residue discuss at OTSGMB annual meeting communicate to transplant growers through OTSGMB newsletter identify lab(s) that can perform this service to OTSGMB members

17 Processors Recommend processors test seed lots for bacterial disease individual processors will test one processor rep will ensure protocols in place with lab(s) and let other processors know the procedure processors will share information

18 Transplant Production

19 Transplant Production - OTSGMB Recommend fixed copper bactericide starting 2 1/2 weeks after seeding, then at 5- day intervals apply to wet the foliage but not to excessive runoff if possible, last application should be 1 day prior to shipping

20 Transplant Production - Researchers/OPVG/OFPA/OTRI Research project to develop a transplant screening protocol

21 Transplant Production - OMAF Extension Educate field growers about the importance of the greenhouse copper program, discussing it with their transplant suppliers

22 Field Production

23 Field Production - OMAF Extension Recommend field growers apply a copper bactericide within 7 days after transplanting apply at least 3 applications at 7-day intervals Educate growers, industry When disease appears, make observations, share information

24 Field Production - Researchers/OPVG/OFPA/OTRI Research field copper applications to determine effectiveness (yield, quality, bacterial populations), end point Research on overwintering of the bacterial spot Group D pathogen Continue screening alternatives for bacterial disease control, including SAR products, growth regulators, conventional chemistries, biological controls, improving seed treatments

25 Other Activities Meeting programs include lots of bacterial disease information Discussion groups held with research, extension, processor staff, crop consultants, agribusiness, chemical company reps Newsletter articles and updates about bacterial disease management Tomato bacterial disease factsheet should be out this spring - in-depth look at current knowledge in biology and management

26 Other Activities Ridgetown College/OMAF staff visited many transplant producers in the spring of 2004 to test the concentration of copper in their spray solution and the amount of copper being deposited on the leaves Also checked leaves in field for copper residue Feedback given immediately so grower could correct any problems

27 Convincing chemical companies to fund research to screen products for bacterial activity Other Activities

28 All transplant growers trying to follow the new recommendations - not perfect, but improved Many field growers following the early and often copper recommendations - BIG CHANGE! More growers mixing mancozeb with early copper sprays to get boost in activity What has changed? What have we learned?

29 OPVG/OFPA/OTRI increased funding to Ecological/Epidemiological Studies of the Highly Virulant Group C and D Forms of the Bacterial Spot Pathogen (Cuppels, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) and Pest Management Studies in Processing Tomatoes (Pitblado, Ridgetown College) Research has shown that X. c. pv. v. Group B, C, and D strains overwinter under Ontario conditions (Cuppels, AAFC) What has changed? What have we learned?

30 Progress towards a procedure for detecting and quantifying bacterial spot populations on transplant seedlings in the greenhouse (Cuppels, AAFC) Groups A, B, C, and D strains continue to be studied: presence and persistence on plug plants, greenhouse equipment, etc.; survival on weeds; aggressiveness on tomato, pepper; susceptibility to Kocide + Bravo; ability to cause lesions on fruit (Cuppels, AAFC)

31 A number of potential bacterial disease control products tested, including various copper formulations (and range of spray solution pH), Agriphage, Chitosan Plus, ionized water, Tanos, combinations of Actigard, Bonzi, Sumagic, Apogee, Ammonium sulphate, Heads-up, Tilt (Pitblado, Ridgetown College) What has changed? What have we learned?

32 Pest Diagnostic Lab (University of Guelph) began to work closely with Dr. Cuppels to implement a commercial PCR diagnostic service for tomato bacterial diseases. Lab has been testing procedure on seeds, transplants, field plants. Protocol is evolving as the lab learns the PCR process and as Dr. Cuppels lab develops improved procedures. What has changed? What have we learned?

33 Results Record Ontario yield in 2004!! But I cant take credit for that.

34 Results High level of awareness of bacterial disease impacts, management practices Industry did not become complacent after a successful 2004 season without major outbreaks The industry saw the benefits of the improved management practices in 2004 We can probably avert some outbreaks, but some may not be preventable with current technology



37 IPM Training for Tomato and Pepper Industry Janice LeBoeuf OMAF Vegetable Crop Specialist Ridgetown, ON

38 IPM Training Objectives Understand the pests and their impacts Identify the pests Understand and identify other factors that impact crop health Up-to-date on new products/ techniques and the latest applied research Aware of the strengths/limitations of products/techniques Know where/who to turn to for answers

39 Variety of Methods 1-day tomato and pepper IPM training 1-day introduction to IPM training can be taken ahead of time IPM training sessions co-ordinated by our IPM Systems Specialist Margaret Appleby Summer student crop scouts, agribusiness and private crop advisors, growers and farm staff, research technicians, processor staff

40 Variety of Methods In-field IPM training Offer in a couple of locations each season Meet at a farm, discuss what we see, have seen through the season Out of field - may look at samples of problems, too Informal

41 Variety of Methods Tomato and pepper discussion groups Informal format Topic chosen and special guest experts invited Weed management, insect and disease management, transplant production… Pick the brains of the guest experts and each other

42 Variety of Methods Discussion groups, contd. Research, extension, processor staff, agribusiness and private crop advisors, chemical company representatives, tomato breeders Havent invited growers - allows more open discussion Participants learn from the experts and each other. Experts learn a lot from the participants, too! In-season conference calls - lot of interest, but not a lot of participation - busy time

43 Variety of Methods Processing Crop Updates - initiated by Elaine Roddy a few years ago Mine is on tomatoes and peppers Sent out by e-mail (and a few faxes) Covers all kinds of topics - pest ID, pest alerts, herbicide injury symptoms, new products, coming events, pest counts, weather summaries (OWN), nutrient management, pest control information, disorders, new publications, … approx. 70 on e-mail/fax list, 145 subscribe from OMAF web-site

44 Variety of Methods IPM Technical Update Meeting for Consultants (Margaret Appleby) OMAF Publications - Vegetable Production Recommendations (Elaine Roddy, Editor) HortMatters Newsletter (Hannah Fraser, Donna Speranzini, Editors) - agribusiness, consultants Veg Viewpoint Newsletter (Elaine Roddy, Editor) - growers OMAF Web-site - Vegetable index page at


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