Areawide IPM Program (AWIPM)
The purpose of the AWIPM program was to demonstrate the role of diversified crop rotations and host plant resistance in managing the Russian wheat aphid and greenbug in dryland wheat production systems. A secondary, but equally important, objective was to demonstrate the benefits of diversification to weed management and crop profitability. We also sought to provide tools to enhance the grower's ability to economically manage Russian wheat aphids and greenbugs.
Our approach was to build Russian wheat aphid and greenbug population suppression, particularly biological control and plant resistance, directly into agronomically and economically desirable cropping systems. We hypothesized that biological control would be enhanced by using diversified cropping systems that would increase the abundance and effectiveness of natural enemies by providing reservoirs for them in alternate crops during the summer when wheat was not growing. The diversified crop rotations were those already in use by some growers and were appropriate to the local agronomic circumstances. The program evolved during its five-year lifespan as it became clear that some of our initial assumptions were incorrect, and we focused the available resources on promising avenues of inquiry. In particular, we examined the socioeconomic aspects of various crop production systems, since these factors influence the decision to diversify production much more than pest management considerations. Our observations are discussed, where relevant, throughout this guide.