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.
Some new herbicides, or in some cases, new formulations, have become available for use in berry crops in the last few years. Here is a summary of these additions.
The Hard Cider Guidebook is a resource that directly addresses the business development and marketing needs of the growing cider industry in Pennsylvania.
Between presenting and working at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference (MAFVC), I did have a chance to catch a few presentations (out of 200 plus) that were very interesting. Below are a few comments on some of the talks I attended.
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.
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.
On January 19, 2016 Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations.
The past two winters have ramped up concerns about crown gall in Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast. Wine grape growers are discovering, many for the first time, the horrors of this disease and the extent of the damage it can cause in their vineyards. While there is reason for great concern, I would like to start out by saying that research efforts are generating extensive information on management of this disease, and there are new solutions from research in the pipeline.
When it comes to managing fire blight, the first line of defense is good sanitation, which is removing the overwintering source for the bacteria: cankers. Understanding what a canker is, being able to identify them in orchard, the importance of removal, and pruning strategies are discussed.
Revised every two years with input from Penn State faculty members, extension specialists and other consultants, this nearly 400-page production guide provides commercial fruit growers, extension educators, consultants, and others with the newest information on fruit culture, orchard nutrition, spraying, pesticides, storage of tree fruit crops, marketing, and management of weeds, insects, diseases and more.
Unlike some flowering landscape trees, peaches, cherries, apples and pears originated in a temperate climate, similar to our own. They are well-adapted to our climate, even in an el Niño year. Most fruit trees went dormant this fall, and stayed dormant. Fruit trees begin to go dormant in response to shortening day length in the fall. Exposure to freezing temperatures accelerates the onset of dormancy. Although this past fall was warmer than usual, the fruit trees got the necessary signals and went into dormancy.
Research performed by universities is relatively expensive because we have to pay for the considerable infrastructure associated with research, including the salaries of trained researchers and technicians. Recently some growers have expressed a desire to perform their own research to save money.
Although the earth is warming as a whole as a result of climate change, the weather is also becoming more variable resulting in early-winter cold snaps, winter thaws followed by extreme cold events, and early spring bloom followed by frosts.
The Ag Entrepreneurship team has developed a series of Learn Now Videos for new, young and minority growers. The goal is to increase next generation skills in identifying appropriate markets for their farm-fresh and value-added horticultural products.
Penn State graduate students and visiting scientists from other institutions play a critical role in many studies conducted at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, Adams County. And now, thanks to the financial support of the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, new graduate-student housing at the center will help ensure those contributions into the future.
“Tracking the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug” shows growers and others how to identify BMSB, why this pest is important in agriculture, and what’s at stake if we don’t stop it. Four new installments bring important new information about integrated pest management or IPM in terms of biological control, monitoring and trapping, and the iconic pyramid traps. These new videos show just how far our team has come in understanding this peculiar and pernicious creature, and why the newly hatching Trissolcus insect, now in the wild, could change the game.
Keeping honeybees healthy has become a challenge for beekeepers. One main reason is a threat that has been wiping out bees since the late 1980s: the varroa mite. But one beekeeper in PA might have a solution: raising bees that demonstrated a unique, mite-fighting grooming behavior.
It’s the time of year when many growers are figuring out what varieties to include in their strawberry orders. For an impartial view of the performance of some of the newer cultivars, here are the first harvest year results from a matted-row trial at the Penn State Horticulture Research Farm at Rock Springs.
As the true winter season approaches—officially arriving on December 21st at 11:48 PM EST, it might be good to look back on this year’s growing season. There have been extremes of temperatures and moisture the past two years.
Apples are a long-lived perennial crop, thus most fruit farms have several blocks of trees that vary in age and size. Many orchard enterprises have adopted intensive (≥518 trees per acre) orchard systems over the past 25 years. However, blocks of larger semi-dwarf trees at medium density still exist on many farms, and often these blocks still have a significant role to play in the orchard enterprise.