Exclusive: Kansas Department Of Agriculture’s Jeff Vogel Discusses TMV And The Kansas Pest Freedom Standards

Greenhouse Grower talked to the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Weed Control Program Manager Jeff Vogel to learn about the Kansas Pest Freedom Standards and how the state is regulating tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) on petunias this season.

Greenhouse Grower (GG): Please describe the Kansas Pest Freedom Standard and where the presence of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is included within that.

Jeff Vogel: The Kansas Pest Freedom Standard is a list of regulated non-quarantine pests that apply to live plants that live plant dealers may possess, sell, grow, etc. Within that, we list several different categories of pests, including insects and diseases, and viruses. We have zero tolerance for viruses in Kansas. A while back, the change was made so we would regulate not only perennial nursery type plants – woodies – but also all live plants, including bedding and annuals. The idea behind that was to clean up some of the disease and pest issues in the greenhouse. This has been in place for a number of years now. So we inspect and certify and regulate annuals and bedding plants the same as we would perennials or herbaceous perennials or woody plants.

Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) falls in that category of viruses. TMV presents a big concern for us because of the fact that it can be transmitted through physical contact – sap – and it’s not an insect vectored disease, where we could control the insect. For example, INSV would be thrip-vectored, so if we could control the thrips, we would be able to control the spread of that disease. In this case, it was a big concern because of the host range and then also the fact that it could be easily transferred through planting plants or transplanting plants and could become a much larger issue as the season went on. So we were trying to get on top of the issue before it became larger and growers were closer to the actual retail selling season.

From communication with the Dümmen Group and [broker] Ball Seed, who’s been working with us, too, it’s unclear how many varieties were infected. When it started off with one or two varieties and then all of the sudden it was 30 different varieties or more – I don’t know how many were infected – but it got exponentially bigger very quickly. That was another reason to be proactive. I wouldn’t call this an emergency situation but sometimes when we’re dealing with a plant pest, you don’t have all the information you’d like to. In this case, I don’t know if we have a handle on exactly how many varieties were infected, but we’re getting a better picture now. That’s why we moved very quickly on our response.

GG: Does Kansas inspect every grower operation?

Vogel: In Kansas, there are two different types of inspections. One is a verification inspection, which is a non-requested inspection. We randomly pick growers to inspect and to verify that they are in compliance with state regulations. These verification inspections can be targeted based on a random list, or trace-forward, trace-back on an already known pest issue. So if we have a pest issue, we know the source, we know plant dealers who named them as a source, and we’ll make sure we get this pest issue cleaned up.

Then we also have our export inspections, which are requested inspections from growers that need certification to ship plants out of state. So depending on the situation, we don’t inspect every grower. We inspect every grower that ships out of state or they may be part of that random verification inspection protocol.

GG: What is the protocol for testing plants for the presence of TMV and determining whether or not they should be destroyed?

Vogel: In this case, if we come across a lot of petunias that test positive for TMV, we will issue a regulatory action ordering those plants to be destroyed.

If we go into a facility and test a petunia that’s known to be positive, we’ve had a positive test in the state before and the facility has bought cuttings sourced from Dümmen El Salvador or Welby Gardens or Timbuk II, that’s really specific. If plants test negative through the test strips, we’ll place the grower under compliance agreement to follow the specific list of best management practices that prevent the spread and transmission of it into other hosts, up until only about a month. After a month, the symptoms should have presented themselves and after a month, if the symptoms aren’t there, the plants should be clean.

If we test something and it’s positive, it’s rejected. It needs to be destroyed at that point. But if it’s a known positive plant – we’ve had another positive at another grower in the state – there are two options. The grower can either sign a compliance agreement with us to follow BMPs to prevent the spread, or  if they refuse to do that, the plants can be destroyed, because it has to be managed and they have to manage it in a certain way to prevent the spread of it.

There aren’t very many, but in the situations where this has come up, growers have signed compliance agreements with us, and they’re very short. It’s only a month where they have to use gloves, handle them separately, those kinds of things. We’re concerned, even with a negative test. Maybe the symptoms haven’t shown themselves yet – and then maybe later on, we’ll come back and all of the sudden there’s a handful of plants that have shown symptoms and it might be positive at that point. Then we’ll follow through with the normal enforcement procedure. But we have given them the option of the compliance agreement.

On the retail side, it’s less controlled. If we find positive plants there, those will be rejected and destroyed. For Kansas, and across the country, that’s not an unusual thing.

GG: Will Kansas agricultural inspectors be in retailer operations this spring?

Vogel: Yes, that’s very typical, though. We will typically be in retailer operations doing these random inspections or trace-forward, trace-back in the spring time anyway. Hosta virus x was a big issue a couple of years ago and we were in retailers quite a bit at that point. It’s prime season to be out there, doing verification.

GG: Will the state provide any assistance to growers or retailers affected by this?

Vogel: No. Our actions are very typical and our relations working with the growers are very typical of any other pest problems that would pop up. We’ve been working closely with the broker and we’ve talked to Dümmen, too, and they realize that this is an issue and are trying to make things right by offering credits to growers.

We’re trying to get this taken care of before a bunch of hanging baskets are grown out and the value of those are more than a flat of rooted cuttings that just came in. We want to do this while being very proactive here and trying to communicate this issue to the growers.

I’m talking with counterparts in other states as we move forward, but bedding and annual plants are looked at differently in other states. Some states care about it and some states don’t. If we have TMV-infected petunias coming into Kansas on the retail side when we get closer to spring and early summer, that’s our big concern because maybe the out-of-state sources who grew those perhaps weren’t required to manage it. We have to realize, too, that people don’t want to sell diseased plants, but at the same time it’s a concern for us because there could be a second issue that pops up on the retail side as we go later in the spring.

GG: Will other states that you’re working with take similar actions?

Vogel: It depends. From my understanding, Colorado does, and it certified Welby Gardens in that state; whereas in Ohio (where Timbuk II is located), does not inspect and certify. So that goes back to us working with growers in other states to understand our requirements here in Kansas that all plants need to have certification and they need to be pest free, with some tolerances under the pest freedom standard. Because our pest freedom standards, viruses are zero tolerance but other types of diseases, there are some tolerances in there, depending on the category of the plant. We’re just trying to be proactive about our approach to this so the situation doesn’t get larger as we go forward.

In Ohio and other states, things are looked at differently than they are in Kansas, and that’s something that I’m looking at trying to address with our Central Plant Board, a group of my counterparts in other states who meet yearly. I’ll give a presentation on what we experienced here and how we handled things and why it’s important to understand how each state handles live plants. It’s been a learning experience. The state summary of regulations on the National Plant Board website lists different state requirements, and we try to spell out that all live plants, if they are being shipped in for sale and distribution, need to be inspected and certified.

GG: How big is the floriculture industry in Kansas?

Vogel: As far as live plant verifications we issued for export, those are generally between 50 and 60 a year. But we issue 1,700 to 1,800 live plant dealer licenses, and those include growers, retailers and landscapers. We have a business license and on top of that, people who export plants will receive a live plant certificate so they can export plants to other states if they meet requirements.

Read the KDA’s best management practices. For more information or if you require assistance from KDA on this matter, call 785-862-2180 or eMail ppwc@kda.ks.gov.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Crop Inputs...
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years From Now

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Avoid Surprises On The Delivery Dock

A call in advance about problems with a plant shipment to a retailer you supply goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

Read More
Janeen Wright

March 2, 2015

Deliver Plant Quality That Trumps Price [Opinion]

The industry's goal is to have loyal customers who return to the same plants time and time again, not because of price, but owing to a plant brand that shouts top-notch garden performance and is synonymous with excellence, which gives them the secure knowledge that their investment will be worth every hard-earned cent.

Read More
Latest Stories
Rose Rosette on Knockout rose, May 2013. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 2, 2015

Rose Rosette Disease Fight Gets A Boost From Government…

In 2014, $4.6 million was awarded through the Farm Bill to tackle rose rosette disease, a devastating pathogen that affects one of the industry’s most important crops.

Read More
Fig 1 Leafy Gall On Leucanthemum Becky

March 2, 2015

How To Prevent Leafy Gall Before You Lose Plants

Leafy gall is a nasty disease that can go undetected until plant damage is done. Take these steps to protect your crops from infection.

Read More

February 17, 2015

A New Look At Biological Control: Can Plants Affect The…

The success of a biological control program depends on a number of factors including quality of natural enemies, timing of release, release rates and environmental conditions. However, what is typically not taken into consideration is how plants can affect the performance of natural enemies, including attack rate and searching ability. Biological control agents work hard to protect plants, but plants have ways to help themselves, too.

Read More

February 1, 2015

New Pest Control Products For Your Toolbox

Add one of these new insecticides to your IPM program for successful pest control.

Read More
IR-4_profile_Feb2015

January 29, 2015

IR-4: A Pest Management Resource For Growers

Almost 40 years ago, IR-4 (Interregional Research Project Number 4) began serving the ornamental horticulture industry, helping to facilitate the registration of pest management tools. IR-4 does this primarily by surveying growers about their pest management issues and then hosting workshops to review survey results and set priorities for the coming years. Most recently, IR-4 coordinated a meeting of researchers and industry members on pollinator health and neonicotinoid chemistries to start a discussion on the needed research. The next step will be to get the outcomes from that workshop out to the public.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow: Peace Tree…

Lloyd Traven, a speaker at the upcoming Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow, was one of the industry’s early adopters of biocontrols in the greenhouse. Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm, is evangelical about the technology as an effective tool for resistance management, as well as improved plant quality that contributes to a grower’s bottom line.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Southwest Perennials Improves Production, Shortens Crop…

A father-and-son team find LEDs deliver a higher rooting rate for cuttings propagated under the lights.

Read More
Wainwright-web-620x349

January 22, 2015

Quality Control With Biocontrols

Make sure the shipment of beneficials that just arrived is viable and ready to go to work in your greenhouse, nursery, or field. Here are five steps you can take to ensure success with your biocontrols.

Read More

January 9, 2015

6 New Fertilizer Products For Healthy Plants

These five products add even more options for delivering nutrients to the root zone.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Fertilizers And The Future

As growers look for new ways to cut costs and conserve resources, fertilizer and equipment companies are offering products that strive to save water, reduce toxic runoff and keep chemicals out of the equation.

Read More

December 31, 2014

Gain Greater Control Of Fertilizer With Automated Ferti…

University researchers look at integrating irrigation and fertilization with the help of water sensors to reduce fertilizer treatments and improve application timing.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

Fact Sheet: The Value Of Neonicotinoids To Turf And Orn…

An extensive study of the diverse turf and ornamental industry (“The Green Industry”) reveals that neonicotinoids are the top-rated products used by professionals to control their most important pests in greenhouses, landscapes, lawns, nurseries and trees.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

New Study Finds Neonicotinoids Are Top-Rated Products F…

According to results of a survey by AgInfomatics, professionals in the turf and ornamental industries fear the loss of neonicotinoid products would reduce the quality of their plants and services, increase costs and negatively impact their ability to manage pest resistance.

Read More

December 2, 2014

Grow-Tech Announces BioStrate, Its Newest Hydroponic Gr…

Grow-Tech LLC recently announced the release of BioStrate Felt, a biobased textile specifically engineered for the growing of hydroponic microgreens and baby salad greens.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Former Harris Seeds Co. CEO, Per Jensen, Passes At 85

A passion for plants defined long-time industry influencer.

Read More

November 21, 2014

Ramped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers

Biological pest control company Beneficial Insectary is now producing both Amblyseius (=Neoseiulus) cucumeris and Stratiolaelaps scimitus (formerly Hypoaspis miles) at its facility in California. Domestic production in the U.S. is now benefiting growers in North America by reducing the transit time of perishable predatory mites between producer and grower.

Read More

November 18, 2014

7 New Media And Light Products For Greenhouse Productio…

New media and light products cover a broad sweep of growing conditions.

Read More

November 14, 2014

Skagit Gardens To Eliminate Use Of Neonicotinoid Pestic…

Skagit Gardens, a wholesale grower located outside Mount Vernon, Wash., will eliminate all use of neonicotinoid pesticides beginning in January 2015.

Read More