Beyond the new pesticides mentioned in a recent article for berry crops (Portal on low-growing berries, Altacor and Danitol on caneberries), here are a few more additions:
Okay, so you’re thinking about raising livestock for direct-to-consumer sales. You’ve figured out what kind of livestock you want to raise, what kind of infrastructure you will need, soil tested your pastures, the works. One question remains; how much should you charge your customers?
Rye cover crops are one of the fastest growing cover crops in the spring. To ensure high quality ryelage harvest, producers must have harvest equipment ready to go. Quality of ryelage rapidly decreases with maturity and one day in harvest delay can make the difference between high quality and average to poor quality forage. If producers rely on custom harvesters, these individuals need to be contacted now to plan approximate harvest schedules.
With tight economic conditions there has been increased interest in using legume cover crops to supply N to corn. While this has not been the subject of a large amount of research, a recent summary of the available research has shown that red clover established in wheat or oats and then left to grow as a cover crop until the next season can contribute between 45 and 155 lb N/A to the next corn crop.
Laboratory bioassays were conducted this winter at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center to assess the toxicity of various insecticides against adults of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). The results provided valuable information relative to insect management during the upcoming growing season. The biology and behavior of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB, aka Asian stink bug) present many challenges. BMSB has a plethora of available host plants and has the ability for unrestricted movement. Insect biology and monitoring issues are undefined and there is no biological control. Each instar (except eggs) can cause damage, and initial injury on fruit is inconspicuous. Alternate management options to be investigated during the growing season include border applications, treatment of surrounding vegetation, and trap crop plantings. Research on spatial and temporal distribution will also be conducted.
This past Saturday, nearly 5 inches of rain fell around the Gettysburg area in a short period of time. One grower contacted me and was wondering about recently applied herbicides and the potential for washing the herbicide too deep. I thought this would be a good time to review some of our residual herbicides and the mobility or potential to be rendered ineffective due to rains. The table at the end of this article lists the common tree fruit residual herbicides and the tendency of them to leach or move across the soil. Leaching is the physical process of movement of herbicides in soil water flow and is influenced by several factors, including solubility and soil adsorption. The amount of movement is influenced by the amount of herbicide in the soil, soil texture, and the extent of water movement. The amount of herbicide in the soil solution is a function of the solubility of the herbicide and strength of soil binding (adsorption). Soil adsorption is a measure of the affinity of an herbicide to soil organic matter. Herbicides that are low in solubility and have a high affinity to soil particles will be less likely to leach. Since organic matter is the most influential soil factor governing adsorption, the Koc (ml/g) of a herbicide is a very useful measure of its tendency to move with water in soil. Herbicides that are soluble with low soil adsorption are prone to leaching, including diuron, napropamide, and norflurazon. Herbicides that are low in solubility and not prone to leaching, include, trifluralin, and pendimethalin.
Penn State Extension Educator Mena Hautau shares what you should consider before growing hay, small grains, corn or soybeans.
The most common contaminants of private water supplies in Pennsylvania and the United States are bacteria. Faulty septic systems are major contributors to this type of contamination.
One county school district is taking a pro-active role in school programming to reflect the needs of the area with natural gas development.
Trilliums (Trill-ee-um) have three petals and three leaves and are easy to recognize once they emerge and bloom. They live long and are easy to grow in the right conditions.
What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time many areas were in full bloom or past full bloom on many tree fruit species. I was down at FREC the first week of April to see peaches in full bloom. At Rock Springs we had apples, peaches, and sweet cherries all come into full bloom around the 20th of April. Thankfully, this year, bloom seems to be a little bit closer to our normal time. (We will be applying our Bordeaux spray tomorrow.) If you remember last year you will also remember that we did have some cold weather later in May around the 8th and 9th. In many cases this caused damage to the young developing fruit. Hopefully, this type of late frost/cold temperature situation will not repeat itself. The hardest hit areas seemed to be the western and northern portions of the state. While most of you do not have provisions for frost protection, it is still useful to review temperatures that can cause damage to flowers. The table at the end of this article is from the current Tree Fruit Production Guide and can serve as a guide on what to expect should temperatures get close to freezing.
Today at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, mature apple scab ascospore capture met the threshold level.
Now is the time to get into your gardens and cut back perennials and grasses to the ground, check out what plants survived the winter and divide those vigorous ones that are ‘out of control’.
Are you looking for an excellent, hands-on curriculum to teach youth about water? Consider using the Pennsylvania 4-H Program’s Water Project Series.
The virtualorchard.net apple crop list-serve has been hosting interesting discussions on the use of delayed-dormant oil sprays. Here is a summary of considerations posted today by Dr. Art Agnello.
A new publication in the popular From the Woods series, titled Wildfire, focuses on fire in the Eastern forest. An overview of eastern fires, how to protect your home and property, and the benefits of controlled fires are covered.
Check out the wide variety of sustainable agriculture events organized by Penn State, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network, and others.
Organic milk, meat, poultry and eggs represent some of the fastest growing sectors of the organic market. Because agricultural feed ingredients in the diets of certified livestock must be organically produced, continued growth in the retail market has resulted in increasing demand for organic feed grains. Many organic producers in Pennsylvania produce feed grains for their own livestock or dairy operations. There are also off-farm marketing options for organic grain producers, including direct to local organic livestock producers, organic feed manufacturers, co-ops, brokers and merchandisers, with or without an advance contract. Typically, there is a price premium for organic feed grains. In the past, prices for organic feed grains have reached 50 to 150% above conventional prices.
As a leading cause of foodborne illnesses, fresh fruits and vegetables have received national attention, recently highlighted by the Food Safety Modernization Act which was signed into law in early 2011 by President Obama. Through this law, the Food and Drug Administration will establish mandatory minimum standards, called Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), based on known safety risks for the safe production and harvesting of produce. To verify compliance with GAPs, growers are expected to apply for and pass a fee-based independent, third-party audit. The Food Safety Modernization Act is the most recent example of increasing expectations for on-farm food safety practices. Prior to this public regulation, some supermarkets had already been implementing policies that required their produce suppliers to provide evidence of GAP compliance as a condition of purchase.
An active sustainable agriculture research and extension community has been quietly growing in size at Penn State University. This was evident on the afternoon of February 25th when faculty, cooperative extension, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students came together to meet one other, share ideas, and discuss ways to foster collaboration between three groups working on sustainable cropping systems research and extension projects.