Start Farming Blog
If you are new to farming or thinking of starting your farm next year, soil testing is probably the last thing on your mind. But come winter, when you are doing your planning for next year, you will want to have that soil test in hand. You will need the results to calculate what nutrients to apply and how much you need so you can complete your orders and have your crop plan ready.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications to help producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits.
If you are considering using a pesticide, it is important to make sure you are in compliance with Pennsylvania law. If you are not sure what you intend to do is legal, make the effort to find out for sure before you get into trouble with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). The rules apply to all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered pesticides, including registered pesticides allowed for organic production.
Soil in high tunnels isn’t exposed to the elements like soil in the field is, and if the plastic is kept on the tunnels for multiple winters, little leaching takes place. Thus, nutrients and salts can accumulate. How much difference does taking the covers off for one winter make?
Diversified farming means we have to be experts in the production requirements for each of the products we produce. On top of that, we need to be able to have a market for each product. How we plan to sell our products is just as important as deciding how we will grow them.
Another Berks County township is quarantined in the fight to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect new to the United States that was first found in the area last fall.
Pennsylvania agriculture is under pressure to reduce nutrient deposition in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Given current nutrient management regulations and restrictions, there are areas in Eastern Pennsylvania where available manure nutrients exceed those that can be applied as fertilizer to local crops. It seems logical that the region of Pennsylvania outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed should be part of a serious discussion for future livestock expansion.
You might want to get familiar with the term "Bud Box". It may change the way you work your cattle.
Powdery mildew, a warm-weather high-humidity disease, is present in some blueberry plantings. Lowbush, highbush, and rabbiteye blueberries are all affected.
Two of our least favorite fall pests may be consorting together. Warm rains in the spring and now late summer, combined with heavy dews have resulted in medium to high insect and fruit rot activity this fall in berry crops.
Pennsylvania growers understanding the benefits of cover cropping recognize that establishment time is near.
Researchers at Penn State are investigating how solitary and wild bees are increasingly important in the pollination of crops.
Information for Pennsylvanians about the biology of Avian Influenza ("Bird Flu") and recent outbreaks.
As the market demand for more locally grown produce harvested year-round increases, onions are a crop that seems to be receiving a great deal of attention. Season extension and overwintering techniques utilizing plasticulture technology can be applied successfully to growing onions, adding financial value to your farm operation.
A good disease management plan can increase your probability of success for the season. Farmer Anton Shannon and Educator Tianna DuPont, shared tips for disease prevention, identification and control at a recent field day at one of Penn State Extension’s Models for the Future sites.
Even if it's still hot and muggy out there, now is the time to start thinking ahead. As fall approaches, you can plan to take steps to get your pasture prepared for the winter and ready for a great start in the coming spring.
Many greenhouse and nursery operations use fertilizer injectors, also known as proportioners, to deliver precise concentrations of water-soluble nutrients to plants through irrigation systems. Injectors pull a concentrated fertilizer solution from a stock tank and add it to the irrigation water.
Infestations of red mites left alone can eat enough chlorophyll out of the leaves of apple trees that the trees can’t store energy anymore, resulting in smaller fruit and a reduced fruit bloom the following season. Luckily we don’t often see red mite infestations due to a successful story of biological control in Pennsylvania. Dr. Dave Biddinger explained how to scout for red mites and maintain a successful biological control program at a Young Grower Alliance training session on July 16.
Make sure you know where apple scab overwinters, how to monitor and when it is most likely to appear. Penn State Tree Fruit Plant Pathologist Kari Peter met with Penn State Extension Young Grower Alliance (YGA) members for hands-on scouting and discussion of apple scab. Here are the key points she shared.
As a general rule, vegetable crops require 1 - 1.5 acre-inches of water per week. Penn State's Elsa Sanchez and Bill Lamont explain how to determine how long to run your drip irrigation system to meet this need.