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Statement of Interests - Dr. Larry Gut

As Michigan's Extension Specialist in Tree Fruit Entomology, I am responsible for developing the technology and knowledge base to support the promotion and adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in apple, cherry, peach, pear and plum.

My general professional goal is to contribute to an understanding of the ecology of tree fruit production systems and to develop and implement appropriate methods for managing them. To achieve this, I have obtained the funding and resources necessary to establish a short-and long-term applied research and extension program, while also building a solid basic research program centered on the use of pheromones and other behavior-modifying chemicals for insect control. I am committed to working closely with producers and take an active role in implementing research results.

The overall aim of my program is to conduct fundamental and applied research that leads to the development of ecologically and economically sound pest management programs. A substantial portion of my research focuses on reducing reliance on the broad-spectrum insecticides that have formed the basis for insect pest management in fruit production systems for over 40 years. Although these materials have been effective and economical, many factors acting together have accelerated the need to develop alternative control tactics. I have focused special attention on a novel method of control that is commonly referred to as mating disruption.

Additionally, I am actively researching chemical attractants for several insect species in an effort to develop monitoring systems or new controls. The ability to accurately measure and predict pest activity is fundamental to the successful implementation of IPM.

I have a robust insecticide evaluation program funded through grants from private companies and competitive grants awarded by apple and cherry commodity groups. The majority of my research on chemical control of fruit pests is working with selective insecticide chemistries to determine how they might fit into apple, cherry or peach IPM programs. I have developed a strong on-farm component to complement other aspects of the insecticide research program at MSU.

The major responsibility of the Tree Fruit Entomologist at Michigan State University is to serve the fruit industry as the extension specialist. My approach to extension education is based on a belief that outreach programs need to be research-based, timely, team efforts, and tightly coupled with producer's needs and interests. I am committed to providing timely and accurate information that will help the fruit industry in our state refine their current IPM practices and also challenge them to try new methods. I believe on-farm research and demonstration projects are the best means of delivering new information and technology to growers and crop consultants and thus have taken an active role in the implementation of my research results.

Overall, my research and extension program is laying the foundation that will allow the Michigan fruit industries to respond to changes in the availability and efficacy of insecticides in a proactive manner.

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