CTAHR Status Reports

     

Vegetable Crops Technology
Transfer at the University of
Hawaii

     

By: Hector Valenzuela

HITAHR, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Spring 1993

THE INFORMATION AGE
The horticultural industry has grown to become highly competitive and complex, and no one person is longer capable of keeping up with the great amount of new information dealing with marketing, production technology, and governmental regulations pertinent to horticultural production. Information requirements for the horticultural producer have grown geometrically over the past decades. The increased demand for timely useful information is no longer met with the traditional one-to-one meetings between producers and extension agents on a routinely basis. Today producers have to rely on commercial product suppliers, market and technology-oriented trade magazines, governmental agencies, financial agencies, non-governmental groups, formal and informal grower organizations, private consultants, and on fellow growers, to keep abreast of up-to-date market and technological developments.

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE
The Cooperative Extension Service (CES), a cooperative alliance between the United States Department of Agriculture and State Land Grant Universities, was established in 1914 by an act of Congress, and is considered to have played an important role in contributing toward the establishment and success of modern agricultural production in the U.S. However, because of its magnitude, and due to the fast developments in the marketplace over the second part of this century, the CES has been caught out of synch, and is now trying to catch up to update the methodology used to deliver timely and appropriate information to meet the needs of the today's sophisticated horticultural industry.

UH-CES PROGRAM
A flexible and holistic multidisciplinary approached is used today in horticulture as well as in other industries to tackle important bottlenecks which a single specialist can no longer tackle alone. Such a system is currently being implemented at Carnegie Mellon University (a prestigious engineer and computer science school in Pittsburgh) in which faculty from several departments are grouped together to develop new market oriented technologies. A similar "task-force" approach is "informally" used at UH which target the major bottlenecks identified by the horticultural industries. This path is being further formalized and the CTAHR administration now encourages it by requesting that new research and extension projects include a team approach. For clarification, a team approach does not mean simply having a diverse list of sleepy participants in the cover page of new project proposals. A true multidisciplinary approach involves all participants in all aspects of the project (design, conduction, and implementation) and does not relegate individuals to their particular corners of expertise. The direction and activities of these groups is further strengthened when pertinent input and advise is given by industry action advisory groups.

OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the University of Hawaii Vegetable Extension Program is to develop appropriate technological packages (cultivar, fertilizer and irrigation rates, planting densities, pest control programs) for the major 20-30 vegetables grown locally. Recommendations from these packages are extrapolated to develop "best-estimate" recommendations for the production of related minor crops which do not receive research attention at UH.

CURRENT PROJECTS
Some of the current projects, personnel, activities, and impacts at UH which are utilizing the team approach either formally or informally are described below. These projects are tackling priority bottlenecks identified by previous/current industry analyses, and also intend to promote an environmentally sound agriculture for Hawaii:

Vegetable Crops Production Technology Transfer
Participants
Roy Yamakawa (CES Kauai), Randy Hamasaki and Steve Fukuda (CES Oahu), Alton Arakaki (CES Molokai and Lanai), Robin Shimabuku (CES Maui), Dwight Sato and Richard Nakako (CES Big Island), Steve Ferreira, Ron Mau, and Joe DeFrank (IPM Specialists), and Hector Valenzuela (Vegetable Specialist).
Activities
Meet at least once a year to discuss achievements, technology needs, and to formulate and update state-wide vegetable crops extension plans. The agents, in collaboration with researchers or specialists frequently conduct applied research work based on local technology information needs. Recent work has included cultivar trials on daikon, leafy greens, onions, tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, head cabbage, cucumber, eggplants, muskmelons, sweetcorn, taro, sweetpotatoes, and bell peppers among others.
Extension
Results from these trials are presented through field days, newsletters, and one-to-one visits. An illustration of related activities by the group which aim to improve delivery of timely information include extensive taro fertility work by Dwight Sato in collaboration with Jim Silva (Agronomy); taro nematode control by Dwight Sato in collaboration with Don Schmitt (Pl. Pathology); a one day workshop on hydroponics put together by Richard Nakano and given by Bernie Kratky (Horticulture); an evaluation of papaya fertility through sap analysis by Alton Arakaki; initiation on work on methanol sprays by several agents, and many others; and documentation of important insect pests in herbs by Randy Hamasaki.
Funding
Industry- None.
Impact
Commercial growers are using green onion, tomato, cucumber, sweetcorn, taro and sweetpotato lines recommended by CES county agents based on research conducted at UH. Commercial growers are following cultural practices based on recommendations given by county agents from research conducted at UH. For example, a successful hydroponic greenhouse operation was established in Kauai based on a project initiated by Roy Yamakawa, increasing the volume of available high quality fresh leaf lettuce in that island.

Silverleaf (Sweetpotato) Whitefly IPM
Participants
Marshall Johnson, Diane Ullman, and Ron Mau (Entomology); CES Vegetable Agents; Joe DeFrank and Hector Valenzuela (Horticulture).
Activities
The IPM research team (Entomology) has developed the background work in terms of pest dynamics in Hawaii and preliminary control activities, and laid out a plan for future activities. Alternative controls investigated include floating covers and use of living mulches to reduce whitefly populations.
Extension
A CTAHR task force meeting was held on Spring 1992 to develop research and extension action plans. Marshall Johnson gave presentation to growers in a living-mulch field day in Oahu (1992), and on a state-wide Teleconference (1993). Tapes of the program were made available to all counties for distribution to growers. Diane Ullman and Marshall Johnson gave two updates on whitefly research at UH to the State-wide vegetable action group in the Spring and Summer 1993. Ron Mau gave several workshops to CES agents and to vegetable growers in Maui. Whitefly updates have been reported over past 4 years by the quarterly vegetable growers newsletters distributed state-wide by the county agents and in the bimonthly Vegetable Crops Update sent to the county agents, specialists, and the State-wide Vegetable Action Committee
Funding
GACC to Entomology Team
Impact
Current information available on whitefly management has been widely distributed to commercial growers, especially on identification of strain involved ( by Biotype species), and detailed information on resistance to pesticides.

Diamondback Moth IPM on Crucifers
Participants
Ron Mau and Bruce Tabashnik (Entomology); CES Vegetable Agents; Joe DeFrank and Hector Valenzuela (Horticulture).
Activities
A CTAHR taskforce meeting held at UHM in Spring 1992. Ron Mau presented workshops and field days to Maui growers in Summer 1992 and in Spring 1993, and to Kamuela growers in Spring 1993. Ron Mau gave a presentation on a state-wide Teleconference on diamondback moth IPM. Copies of this tape were made available to all CES county offices for distribution to growers. Head cabbage cultivar trials were conducted in Maui in 1992 and 1993 and field day held in 1992. A range of tolerance to diamondback moth found among cultivars tested. A Chinese cabbage cultivar trial was also held in Volcano to test tolerance to DBM feeding. Ron Mau, in collaboration with DOA has begun an augmentation program for natural enemies of DBM.
Funding
Industry- None; State LISA and USDA grants for trap crop trials to DeFrank and Valenzuela; GACC/Legislative for beneficials augmentation to DOA.
Impact
Producers representing >80% of the cabbage industry in the state are aware of the UH practices recommended for diamondback moth control. This include timing and selection of pesticides, pesticide coverage, and cultivar selection.

IPM for Viral Diseases of Vegetables
Participants
John Cho, John Hu, and Steve Ferreira (Plant Pathology); Diane Ullman and Ron Mau (Entomology); Robin Shimabuku, Richard Nakano and Randy Hamasaki(CES), Ken Takeda and Hector Valenzuela (Horticulture).
Activities
A. Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV)
Based on selection work by John Cho, advanced TSWV resistant tomato cultivars were released to major tomato growers in 1992 and 1993 in collaboration with PetoSeed and Champion Seed.
Extension
Several field days were held in Maui in 1992 and 1993 to receive grower input and to demonstrate the resistance in the field. Growers from Oahu and Big Island attended some of these field days. A grower newsletter monitored vector levels in Maui until funds ran out in 1992. In Oahu Randy Hamasaki ran on-farm trials, and a tomato cultivar trial was also run in Waimanalo Station by Valenzuela and Hamasaki, both to evaluate the TSWV improved lines under low elevation conditions. Results were shown on a field day in Waimanalo in May 1993 and through grower newsletters. Several lettuce lines have been genetically engineered and selection work has begun to select for resistance to TSWV. A viable product (in Cooperation with SunSeed Genetics) is expected within 3-5 years. Two field days in Maui gave a progress report on this work. The field days were video taped by Richard Nakano and shown to growers in Kamuela. Selection work has been initiated by Cho on a new potential outbreak: PVY on tomatoes.
B. Cucurbits
In cooperation with researchers from Cornell University successful cross-protection studies by John Cho have been conducted over the past several years on zucchini.
Extension
Several field days were held from 1991-1993 in Maui and now several growers have tried cross-protection in their fields. Growers and extension agents from other islands have attended these field days. Steve Ferreira and Randy Hamasaki also conducted two-year on farm trials for cross-protection of watermelons in Oahu. A one-day workshop was given to the vegetable extension agents by John Cho and Diane Ullman on virus management in the Spring of 1991 and also with Steve Ferreira a 3-day workshop was given in 1992 to the vegetable agents. Diane Ullman and Ron Mau have also conducted work on vector management in cucurbits.
Funding
GACC- TSWV to John Cho et al.; GACC- vector management to Diane Ullman et al.
Impact
Over 80% of local tomato commercial growers are aware of the new PetoSeed lines and most are currently growing them during the summer months, at the time were disease pressure is highest. Several growers such as Mr. Shintaku in Oahu believe that the new lines have saved their tomato operations. Over 80% of commercial cucurbit growers in the state are aware of the cross-protection work and several are implementing this technique in their farms, especially in Maui.

Sustainable Vegetable Crops Production.
Participants
CES Vegetable Agents, Marshall Johnson and Ron Mau (Entomology), Joe DeFrank and Hector Valenzuela (Horticulture).
Activities
A task-force meeting was held in the February 1992 on Molokai to establish a sustainable program for vegetable crops production in Hawaii. The program initially would entail a sustainable demonstration project in Molokai, living mulch and no-till work conducted by Joe DeFrank, and the use of composts. In Spring 1993 collaborative work was established with the Worlds Sustainable Ag. Assoc. to conduct compost trials in Waimanalo. DeFrank is also conducting work on Azolla as a supplemental organic fertilizer source (and weed control) in paddy taro fields. The CES vegetable agents participated on a 1993 workshop dealing with the use of nitrogen fixation to improve soil fertility. Three of the team members (P.Y. Lai, Dwight Sato, and H. Valenzuela) were invited to visit nature farms and a nature farm experiment station in Japan in Summer 1993 to learn about their composting work. This group may become part of a UH Sustainable Research team organized by Bob Caldwell (Agronomy). DeFrank and Valenzuela are also involved in the LISA for Hawaii project which reviews and funds on-farm demonstrations and research on low-input technologies.
Extension
Living mulch field days have been conducted annually since 1991 in on-farm trials in Waianae and in Waimanalo. Living mulch trials and field days were also conducted in 1992 in Hilo (taro), and in Molokai with sweetpotatoes and a variety of other vegetables. The techniques has been tried on eggplants, zucchini, bulb onions, cucumber, cabbage, beans, sweetpotatoes, among others. A no-till transplanting field day was conducted in Hilo in 1992 by Joe DeFrank and Dwight Sato. Experimental plots are being established in a 1.6 Acre plot in Waimanalo. Videos of living mulch experiments and presentations have been made and are available for growers to borrow from extension offices.
Funding
Industry- none. Compost trials- MOA.
Impact
Awareness has increased among commercial growers concerning the availability of alternative techniques for improved fertility and pest control. A conventional grower in Oahu, for example, is trying intercrops with nitrogen fixing inoculated legumes-- based on techniques and materials provided by the extension program.

OTHERS
Other multidisciplinary programs at UH put together to improve client-driven research and extension programs include: Taro and Ginger Production; Marketing and Financial Management; and Crop Nutrition.

GAPS
Information gaps prevent CTAHR from develop integrated programs to improve the production and management of several vegetable crops. Important areas of work which have lacked attention due to a lack of personnel and research funds include: cultural management of specific vegetables grown in Hawaii (fertility recommendations, crop breeding, cultivar selection, growth and development); and economics of crop production (crop budgets for the major vegetables).