The first late-summer plantings of desert Southwest vegetable crops are under way, including those that will be part of ongoing melon studies by the University of Arizona.
University of Arizona Extension Entomologist John Palumbo will study experimental insecticide treatments in Caribbean Gold variety cantaloupe at the Yuma Agricultural Center. The work seeks to test alternatives to neonicotinoid pesticides in the popular desert crop. Palumbo's ongoing work in melons is funded by the California Melon Research Board. Farmers in both states benefit from the research.
Transplant plugs were treated the night before with various trial insecticides. Already Palumbo saw plant symptoms to suggest that at least one of the materials may not work as applied but could provide insect protection through other means of application.
The work seeks to test chemistry effectiveness at controlling white fly and other insects common to melon crops.
The research farm will soon explode with new life in the next month as Palumbo and others plant various crops to test common cultural practices used by growers in the low desert region of the Southwest.