Start Farming Blog

April 13, 2016

Cash flow statements are very useful – they may very well be the first place where a farmer will spot a trend in business performance that may benefit or harm the operation in the long run. Cash flow statements show the business’s liquidity, the ability to pay expenses as they come due.

April 13, 2016

Sorting through some of the differences between soil health tests can be challenging. Penn State offers a Soil Quality Assessment Worksheet that may be beneficial.

April 12, 2016

In a previous article, I had mentioned Closer (sulfoxaflor) insecticide as being registered for use on strawberries. It had been for a while, but last fall EPA issued a cancellation order for the product, after the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that EPA improperly approved the registration.

A tarnished plant bug on a strawberry flower. Photo: Kathleen Demchak
April 11, 2016

Last month, we discussed new herbicides that have become available for use on berry crops in the last few years. In this article, we’ll cover changes with insecticides and miticides.

April 11, 2016

The allium leafminer (also known as the onion leafminer) has recently been detected and confirmed from infested leeks and onions in Lancaster County. This is the first confirmed infestation in the Western Hemisphere. Your assistance is needed for monitoring and controlling this new invasive species.

April 7, 2016

Agriculture Handbook 66 (AH-66) represents a complete revision and major expansion of the 1986 edition. It has been reorganized and now includes 17 Chapters and 138 Commodity Summaries written by nearly a hundred experts in 792 pages.

April 6, 2016

Before you pull out the subsoiler, take a shovel and check soil aggregation and porosity.

Gala at tight cluster. Photo: K. Peter
April 5, 2016

The recent winter-like conditions do not kill scab spores and the spores continue to further mature and release. If the weather forecast comes to fruition, an apple scab infection event is predicted for April 7. If your trees have green tissue, recommendations for dealing with scab while managing cold injury are discussed.

Picture 1. Pheromone traps for Oriental fruit moth in peach orchard during the 2016 season. Photo: G. Krawczyk
April 1, 2016

The calendar still says March but it feels as though it is at least mid April. Be prepared to set out your sex pheromone traps earlier than normal, as they are the simplest tools to accurately establish biofix dates and to precisely monitor the trends in population development through the season. Warm temperatures resulted in increased activity of pear psylla adults, and pre-bloom application(s) of oil should slow down egg laying. San Jose scale nymphs become active when the sap begins to flow in the spring, and they should be controlled pre-bloom or during the first cover spray.

Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA)
April 1, 2016

All current conditions point to an early spring and tree fruit bloom. At Rock Springs we had first bloom on Methley plums and pink on peaches on Friday March 25th. Last year we observed the same growth stage on April 29th!

A thermometer that records the maximum and minimum temperature is extremely useful for determining degree hours.
April 1, 2016

This article will help you manually determine infection periods for certain diseases (scab, fire blight, cherry leaf spot). Also included is a table listing coppers available to manage bacterial spot during cover sprays.

Apple scab conidia Photo: Kari Peter
March 31, 2016

If the rain that is forecasted comes to fruition, we will experience a major scab infection period late March 31–April 1. With temperatures averaging around 60°F, only 6 hours leaf wetness is needed to cause an infection event. Protection is needed for vulnerable green tissue.

Picture by permission of Greg Brann, NRCS, Grazing Soil Health Specialist
March 14, 2016

Here you will find common techniques producers use to keep their animals healthy and avoid having to treat them.

March 9, 2016: No green tip yet on Gala…but it will be soon! Photo: K. Peter
March 10, 2016

The first scab spores of the season have been detected; however, there is no scab infection risk until green tissue is present and there is an infection period. Since trees are pushing due to the warm weather the last several days, now is a good time to apply dormant copper sprays to manage diseases.

March 2, 2016

Frost Seeding for Pasture Renovation-If stands are thin, consider frost seeding as an option to thicken your pasture.

Sudan cover crop, July 2015
February 25, 2016

An important question for all growers to be asking themselves. University of Delaware Fruit and Vegetable Extension Specialist Gordon Johnson, reminds us that this is exactly the question we need to be thinking about as we plan for and manage our cover crops. Take time to consider what your cover cropping goals are and how to manage them in order to maximize the benefits you're working towards.

February 25, 2016

New and experienced growers alike may often overlook the importance of regular equipment checks and maintenance during the heat of the season. Take a look at the top 10 tractor checks to prepare for the season and to get yourself and your staff in the habit of performing regular checks. Being proactive can go a long way!

February 22, 2016

In a recent article I described some important aspects of designing field experiments to avoid biasing the data. The take home lesson was that treatments should be replicated and randomized. In this article I will describe methods to summarize and interpret the data resulting from field experiments with a single qualitative treatment variable.

Companies, such as Pennsylvania’s Adams County Nursery, had their booths set up at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference to service not only the demand for eating apples but needs for the growing hard cider industry.
February 22, 2016

February 1 - 4, 2016 was the annual gathering of growers, from across the region for the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference. This educational event allowed growers to obtain the latest information on issues surrounding crop production, marketing, food safety, and farm labor. In addition, participants got to see new products and innovations in the trade show with over 160 exhibitors.

Spanish session participants practice identifying weeds with a hands-on activity. Photo credit: H. Nunez Contreras.
February 18, 2016

Since 2009, Penn State Extension has hosted a full-day session at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention (MAFVC), taught completely in Spanish. These sessions have targeted Hispanic and Latino farmers, farm managers and farm workers, working in horticultural crop production. Bilingual educators from surrounding states have collaborated in the project, and helped to create a learning environment that is friendly, engaging, inclusive, and highly relevant.