Progress 06/15/07 to 06/14/09
OUTPUTS: Three grower field days were conducted at AlMar Orchards on November 2, 2007, November 11, 2008 and June 25, 2009, and were attended by a range of 60-100 growers, members of the public and MSU Extension personnel. Project results were presented at extension and scientific meetings: 2 posters and 2 spoken presentations at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, MI in 2007 and 2008; spoken presentations at the SE MI Spring Tree Fruit Meeting, Flint, MI and Ag and Natural Resources Week, East Lansing, MI, 2008. Scientific presentations were presented at the American Society of Animal Science, Indianapolis, IN, July, 2008; Michigan State University Department of Entomology Seminar, East Lansing, MI, October 2008; International Organization for Biological Control/WPRS Working Group "Integrated Plant Protection in Fruit Crops" in Avignon, France, 2008; and the Entomological Society of America, Reno, NV 2008. 2 written articles were prepared for the MSU IPM Program Annual Newsletter, 2008 and 2009, and 4 written articles have been produced and distributed through the Upper Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Growers Network. The project was featured in print (Good Fruit Grower, newspapers and web news sites [over 700,000 web outlets]), radio (2 features on National Public Radio) and in television media stories. PARTICIPANTS: David Epstein is a Michigan State University Distinguished Academic Specialist working in tree fruit pest management. Epstein quantified aborted June drop apples in research plots, determined percent of June drop apples eaten by rotationally grazed hogs, monitored plum curculio populations and attendant injury to fruit and conducted extension activities to deliver integrated management practices to grower community. Dr. Dale Rozeboom is an Associate Professor and Extension Pork Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at MSU. Dr. Rozeboom monitored the reproduction and health of orchard-raised swine, monitored the growth and carcass attributes of orchard-raised swine, and determined plum curculio larval survival with swine ingestion. Dr. Matt Grieshop is Assistant Professor of Organic Pest Management at MSU. Dr. Grieshop lead the efforts on determining the effects of hog grazing in apple on codling moth and weed management. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences included apple and pork producers, organic farmers, researchers and extension personnel working with fruit and pork producers, other producers of perennial tree fruit and nut crops, cider producers, and consumers of locally produced, orchard grazed organic pork products. Integration of animal and plant agriculture is cited as essential to the maintenance of farm health in classical organic literature. This concept conflicts with the majority of modern farms, where plant and animal production systems operate in isolation of one another and deficiencies in farm health are corrected with petrochemical based energy and inputs. Modern organic farming systems have integrated animals through use of manures to promote soil health. However, even in organic agriculture, farms that more fully integrate animals into plant agriculture are the exception rather than the rule. The integration of livestock into plant agriculture provides opportunities for organic farmers to enhance farm diversity, ecosystem sustainability and farm profitability while reducing off-farm inputs for pest and nutrient management. Rotational hog grazing provides an ecological pest management approach for suppressing pest populations over time. This will reduce the growers' need for responsive pest management, typically pesticides applied when pest populations attain outbreak levels. Additionally, hogs are partially fed on apple pumice, a farm waste product, and harvested at maturity, providing an additional high-value product for organic farms with on farm herds. A potential benefit to local swine producers is the development of a "rental" market similar to those already developed for sheep and goats for weed management. Thus, in contrast to off-farm-input based pest management, pest management provided by hogs has the potential to either "pay for itself" and keep pest management dollars within local agricultural economies. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The project received a one year no-cost extension to enable researchers to collect and analyze data through the 2008 growing season and into spring 2009. No other significant changes occurred.
Outcomes: Flash grazing of hogs in apple significantly reduced the incidence of injury to fruit from the two most economically important insect pests of organic apple in Michigan; plum curculio and codling moth. The number of "June Drop" apples for Idared and McIntosh was quantified as a mean of 123 apples per tree for both years, 2007-2008. Forty-seven percent of field-collected, aborted apples in 2008 had at least one C. nenuphar oviposition scar, and 15.7% of drops contained viable larvae. Twenty-seven two-month old Berkshire hogs (Ca. 20-30kg) in 2007 and 24 hogs in 2008, grazed prior to predicted emergence of C. nenuphar larvae, consumed 99.8% and 99.9% of dropped apples in 0.4ha plots. Hogs were rotated among 3 grazed plots, spending 2-3 days in each grazed plot per week for 3 weeks. A controlled feeding experiment demonstrated that ingestion of C. nenuphar larvae in apples by pigs was 100 percent lethal to the larvae. Summer C. nenuphar feeding injury, following the start of grazing in 2007, was 4.9 fold higher in non-grazed control plots. Spring C. nenuphar oviposition injury in 2008 was 8.7% in non-grazed plots and 4.1% in grazed plots. Summer C. nenuphar feeding injury was 3.4 fold higher in non-grazed plots in 2008. Flash grazing of hogs in apple significantly reduced within tree row weed cover. Grazed plots had significantly less codling moth injury to fruit, significantly lower percentage grass cover in tree rows, significantly higher bare ground coverage in tree rows, and significantly lower grass biomass in grazed plots. Orchard-reared hogs demonstrated adequate reproductive and growth characteristics. Overall, the health status of all animals was acceptable, and did not require the use of any pharmaceuticals. Apple pulp and discarded whole apples were provided continuously, about 450 kg per day since weaning, providing over 50% of their daily food intake. Impacts: The long-term outcome of integrating hogs into apple production for pest and nutrient management is not yet known. The long-term aspects of organic pork production when conducted in conjunction with organic apple production are also unknown. Initial studies about the economics of hog rearing from farrow to finish under orchard conditions, and the economical impacts of hog grazing on purchase of inputs for pest and nutrient management have not been initiated. Continued monitoring of hog health under this orchard system, in particular infection by internal parasites, also needs to be continued for several years before long-term impacts are understood. The testing of fresh and aged feces done was preliminary and inconclusive.
- No publications reported this period
Progress 06/15/07 to 06/14/08
OUTPUTS: A grower field day conducted at AlMar Orchard, Flushing, MI on November 2, 2007 was attended by over 60 growers and MSU Extension personnel, and covered by 3 separate news organizations (Flint Journal, Growing GREEEN, and MI Farmer). Project results were also presented during an organic fruit production symposium to an audience of 75-100 at the 2007 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, MI on December 6, 2007. Newsletter articles have been produced by the MSU IPM Program and the Upper Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Growers Network. The project will also be featured in the next edition of the Good Fruit Grower Magazine, Yakima, WA. PARTICIPANTS: David Epstein, Project PI, field investigations into quantifying "June Drop" and hog consumption of aborted apples, monitoring insect populations, quantifying insect damage to fruit Dale Rozeboom, Co-PI, animal reproduction, health, growth TARGET AUDIENCES: Organic and conventional fruit producers, hog farmers,apple and pork product consumers, professional crop consultants, extension educators, local rural community members, research scientists working in fruit and animal production PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: No Project Modifications information reported.
The study quantified the number of "June Drop" apples for Macintosh and Ida Red trees as an average of 123 apples over a 3-week period, showed that hogs effectively consume June Drop apples, that PC larvae do not survive the hog digestive system, and that resultant adult PC summer feeding was reduced five-fold where hogs were grazed. The 2007 work with hogs indicated that hog size is an important factor in integrating hogs into an orchard system. Rooting of young hogs (under ca. 60 lbs) in the tree row soil as they foraged through the orchard averaged 4-6 inches in depth. The young hogs readily ranged throughout the 1-acre plots. Rooting by hogs larger than ca. 60 lbs resulted in some exposure of tree roots and some destruction of sod in the drive rows, and movement was restricted to small sections of the 1-acre plots. Adult hogs had no clinical signs of any illness. Two of the 27 pigs experienced growth rates substantially slower than the others from October to December of 2007, and were cared for separate from the group. For all animals, there were no indications of external parasites. Samples from adult sows tested positive for Balantidium coli, a common parasite in swine, but not a cause of decreased health. A few eggs of Ascaris suum and Strongyle Type (Threadworm) were found in one sow in early summer, but were not found in subsequent fecal samples from the same or any other sow. A similar infectivity was observed in growing animals, with an exception of 1 sample, which tested positive for a few Coccidial oocysts. Overall, the health status of all animals was acceptable, and did not require the use of any pharmaceuticals. All lactating animals had ad libitum access to apple products, ground corn, and alfalfa hay. Growing pigs were provided ca. 2 kg of ground corn and hay per day beginning in October. Salt was provided at a rate of 4 to 6% of the supplemental food. In December of 2007 the amount of supplement provided was increased to 5 kg per pig per day. Pigs had not achieved a desirable market weight at 8 months (average weight of 59.9 kg.). Conventionally raised hogs typically reach market weights of greater than 150 kg in the same time period. Al-Mar Orchard owners chose to limit feedstuff purchases by utilizing apple by-products from their farm. Since pigs were not ready to harvest, the objective to measure carcass attributes were not attained.
- No publications reported this period