By Grower Staff

Most California pear growers are regularly incorporating sustainable practices into their farm management, according to recently released survey results.

The survey was conducted June through November 2009 by the California Pear Advisory Board, the Pear Pest Management Research Fund and SureHarvest Inc., according to a news release.

Growers were e-mailed a detailed self-assessment and asked to complete it. Seventy-one percent returned the completed survey.

Growers were asked questions related to several key areas of sustainability. The results also will provide a benchmark with which to compare in the future.

In addition, they will provide the industry with areas that may need improvement.

Here are a few of the results:

• California pear growers demonstrate a high rate of adoption of integrated pest management. For example, more than 95 percent report scouting for pests throughout the year and use this information to make pest-management decisions.

This compares with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, which found that 77 percent of participating winegrape growers scouted for pests in 2009.

The main pest is codling moth, and 95 percent of survey participants say they use mating disruption as their primary treatment.

• In the area of energy management, 8 percent of participants reported using solar to generate electricity for their operations.

• When deciding when to irrigate, 44 percent of those reponding say they use soil moisture monitoring devices.

• And 76 percent reported providing housing for at least some of their employees.

• The survey showed areas that could be improved. For example, only 18 percent report using evapotranspiration, or ET, to help schedule irrigations.