About The Integrated Management of Field Bindweed in Organic and Transition Systems Project

Welcome to the website for the USDA-NIFA-ORG funded Project: Harnessing the Voracity of the Biocontrol Tyta luctuosa to Improve Management of Field Bindweed During Transition to Organic and Beyond. This site describes our three-year project, our activities and our intended outcomes.

The transition to organic production is fraught with challenges, and control of perennial weeds during the transition can be a major barrier to success. Left unchallenged during the transition period, perennial weeds can create a catastrophe in organic production systems. Likewise, if control of perennial weeds is the sole focus of the transition period, growers may lose so much income as to make the enterprise unsustainable. The goal of this project is to develop and demonstrate ecologically-based management plans for field bindweed; these will allow producers transitioning to organic to successfully manage this invasive, persistent weed.
Field bindweed is very common and difficult to control in organic systems. Presently, there are two USDA-APHIS-approved biological control agents of field bindweed. One of them is a noctuid moth, Tyta luctuosa. It is an obligate voracious herbivore, which means that it must feed on bindweed during its larval phase in order to develop into reproductive maturity. One intended output of this research is the development of attractants that draw bindweed moths to patches of bindweed growing within crops. We believe this will improve efficacy of T. luctuosa as a biological control agent, particularly when integrated with other control methods.

A second aim is to research cultural and physical weed management strategies that may be compatible with an integrated approach. Timing of application of organic herbicides will be tested, as will more novel techniques such as abrasive and steam weeding. If successful, this project will improve the competitiveness of organic producers, and particularly those who are undergoing the transition to organic practices.

Project Objectives

  1. Engage producers in developing plans for control of field bindweed, with a focus on successful release, management, and evaluation of Tyta luctuosa for potential to regulate field bindweed in perennial crops.
  2. Develop and refine attractants to improve potential of aggregating field bindweed moths onto field bindweed patches in fields that are transitioning to organic.
  3. Evaluate integration of cultural and biological control for field bindweed in organic perennial production systems.
  4. Report experience and discovery by cooperating producers and researchers as case studies and project summaries through eOrganic and traditional extension platforms and publications.

The Integrated Management of Field Bindweed in Organic and Transition Systems Project is based at Oregon State University and is funded by a grant from the Organic Transitions Program, a program administered by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Grant Number 2017-51106-27004