Oregon IPM Center Newsletter - Vol I Iss 3 - Fall 2020 - VegNet

VegNet continues with support from Western and Oregon IPM Centers

The 25 year old program serves as a warning system to vegetable producers in the Willamette Valley


Jessica Green demonstrates IPM methods at a field day.

Consistent, long-term monitoring and record-keeping are the roots of any good IPM plan, and no one knows that better than Jessica Green, Sr, Research Assistant, and entomologist. She has been monitoring farms across the Willamette Valley as the manager of VegNet, a project at OSU that surveys for key pests in vegetable crops. VegNet has been a vital tool for vegetable growers, scouts, consultants, and researchers since its creation in 1996. Recently, its future was in question as the sole funding source for 25 years, the Oregon Processed Vegetable Commission, was unable to continue supporting the project fully due to essential processors closing. However, with emergency funding from the Western IPM Center and new core support from the Oregon IPM Center, VegNet will continue for the foreseeable future.

VegNet provides weekly updates (link to newsletter) about key vegetable pest activity and populations throughout the valley. “This project was designed initially as an early warning system primarily to reduce losses due to insect contamination in brassica crops,” says Ed Peachey, Associate Professor of vegetable extension and weed management. The VegNet project was created by Dan McGrath in 1996, who continued to run it until handing it off to Green in 2012. Vegetable crops are highly susceptible to pests during establishment and also at harvest. By scouting for these pests regionally, growers and scouts can see trends, know which pests are active, and act quickly to take early preventative measures. 

Green monitors sweet corn, snap beans, broccoli, and cauliflower sites for 12 different pest species, including corn earworm, loopers, armyworms, and more. Monitoring tools include yellow sticky cards, pheromone traps, visual surveys, and sweep nets. Green processes the data into weekly reports that are delivered to roughly 400 subscribers. The reports include the raw data of pest activity, but also average counts for the current and prior years, previous 15-year period. The reports are utilized regularly by Valley Ag, Nutrien, Pratum, and other consultants, as well as state government, university researchers, growers, and processors. 

The VegNet blog also serves as a vegetable IPM hub specific to the valley, with regular blog posts about new pests, interesting field observations, and IPM strategies. While VegNet has primarily been a tool for field vegetable crops, there has recently been a surge of subscribers identifying as home gardeners. Green also gives presentations at commission and industry meetings, and other community events. Topics of the talks include principles of IPM, pest profiles, and research trial updates.

While the focus of VegNet is western Oregon, the data set that VegNet has been building for over two decades is extensive, and Green has big ideas about how it can expand and how it can be used in the future. She’s had conversations with researchers in Michigan, Ohio, and North Carolina about combining data sets to look for migratory patterns and long term trends of corn earworm and cabbage white butterfly, for example.

Learn more about the Oregon IPM Center's tools for pest monitoring and prediction. VegNet and USpest.org work closely together to provide decision-support to growers and ag consultants.


back to the newsletter


This article appears in Oregon IPM Insider, Vol 1 Iss 3, Fall 2020. 

Edited May 2024 to correct typos and provide new hyperlinks to the Oregon IPM Center.