IR-4 in Imperial County
The Imperial County Cooperative Extension Office operates one of a few IR-4 Centers in California. Eric Natwick is the Center Director and Brent Boutwell as a Staff Research Associate conducting IR-4 projects at the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center. The IR-4 (Interregional Research Project #4) was organized over 40 years ago by the state Agricultural Experiment Stations to facilitate registration of sustainable pest management technology for specialty crops or minor uses. Most of Imperial County’s crops qualify especially vegetable crops. Sustainable pest management tools enable specialty crop growers to produce high quality food. Approximately 80% of IR-4 research projects are conducted on reduced-risk chemistries and biologically based products that fit well into Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems. All IR-4 projects are conducted under rigorously monitored Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) by certified personnel.
During FY 2009-2010, we conducted 21 IR-4 research projects on crops (broccoli, barley, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumber, onion (dry bulb and bunching), head lettuce, peppers (bell and non-bell) potato, tomato, turnip greens, dry shelled beans, radishes, basil, eggplant, okra, garden huckleberry and summer squash} testing 12 different chemicals. Over 100 chemicals on over 40 crops have been investigated by the Imperial County IR-4 Center for registration on various crops in the last 16 years with an average contract of $85,000 annually; $105,000 in FY 2009/2010.