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Pest Management on Us Commercial Mushroom Farms

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In 2011, mushroom production in the United States was valued at approximately $1.10 billion. Total mushroom production was second only to China. Agaricus bisporus production accounts for nearly 98% of the total US mushrooms grown based on volume of sales. Approximately 65% of the US production occurs in Pennsylvania with California producing 14% and the remaining production spread across the US in several states. The close proximity of the Pennsylvania mushroom farms to one another has many advantages for the mushroom growers: centralized composting operations, centralized packing houses as well as having specialized crews that can travel between farms doing a variety of operations that are essential in mushroom production. However, the close proximity of farms, centralized operations and contracted work crews can also lead to many challenges to growers when it comes to disease control. In addition to these challenges, the US mushroom growers have recently been experiencing the loss of many conventional pesticides to address their needs. Fewer chemical options are available today to control pathogens and flies on farms. Because of these challenges, US mushroom growers have been proactive in addressing disease management through an aggressive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. An effective mushroom IPM program utilizes a multiple control approach including exclusion, cultural controls, sanitation, chemical control and biological control measures. The origination of IPM in the US mushroom industry started with a program to address sciarid fly populations in the 1970s. Since then, it has developed into a complete program to address all potential pathogens and pests. To understand the practices utilized by US mushroom growers better, the IPM program will be discussed sequentially, by describing control measures currently being utilized with an explanation of the potential pathogens and pests addressed by each step. The description that follows is not meant to be inclusive of all steps that are implemented on US mushroom farms, but rather it is meant to be a guide to promote the thought process that will provide growers with the tools necessary to improve upon their own IPM program.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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