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Invasive Weed Management Strategies using Herbicide Ballistic Technology

CIG Projects in PIA | Pacific Islands Area NRCS
 CIG Projects in the Pacific Islands Area:

Invasive Weed Management Strategies using Herbicide Ballistic Technology

Grantee: University of Hawaii

This project will demonstrate the utility of a new technology for invasive weed management called Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT). The innovative concept of HBT is that it is a discreet method of herbicide application, which allows an applicator to treat weed targets with long-range accuracy. This method of weed management creates efficient strategies to treat multiple targets from a single reference point and even target weeds that are not reachable with conventional weed control methods (e.g. cliff side weeds). An added safety feature of HBT is the encapsulation of the herbicide, which prevents pesticide exposure to the applicator while in the field.

This project will demonstrate novel methods for utilizing HBT in aerial weed targeting operations to eradicate incipient populations of Australian Tree Fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi) within the 7,050 acre Wainiha Valley Watershed. For this project, a 24c Special Local Needs pesticide label will be registered through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to allow for HBT applications across the state. A series of helicopter operations will be conducted over a 12-month time period to calibrate the efficiency of this technology from an aerial platform and will be monitored with GPS relocation to determine efficacy of the treatment. We will be able to precisely calculate the number of weed targets controlled and the associated cost. A workshop will be conducted at the end of the project to transfer this technology to our peer participants with first-hand training and experience utilizing HBT for weed targeting. We will develop a technical manual for standard operating procedures that will be made available for further reference. Participants are to include representatives from all watershed partnerships, invasive species committees and NRCS personnel. All demonstrations and workshops will be published as a series of edited and archived streaming video content to be displayed within the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service website.

The goals of this project are to:

  • Select twelve farms with coffee agroforestry on which to measure the five key indicators. No one has before gathered a group of such farms in one study.
  • Over an 18-month period, evaluate five key measurements on each of the twelve farms: soil organic matter, major insect pests, coffee yield and bean quality, production costs and market value, and environmental conditions (shade levels, tree density, plant species present, etc.). The data collected will be used to evaluate some important environmental and economic factors of coffee agroforestry. This will be new information, never before collected for coffee agroforestry systems in Hawai�i.
  • Analyze data accumulated during the project.
  • Produce a 12�18 page coffee agroforestry guide for extension agents and farmers in Hawai�i and distribute it freely. In addition to informing people of the results of the project, the guide will show how existing NRCS Practice Standards can be adapted for coffee agroforestry, such as Alley Cropping (311), Hedgerow Planting (422), Mulching (484), Multi-Story Cropping (379), Nutrient Management (590), Pest Management (595), and Restoration and Management of Rare and Declining Habitats (643).