It’s getting a little late in the season to do much about Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) for this year, but here are some observations that you might want to consider as you make plans for next year. If you have nearby wild berries, you might want to treat them with a herbicide this fall, cut them back this winter, and keep the areas mowed next spring. As you plan where you are going to plant next year’s crops, consider the following information regarding farm layout.
The shift to more selective pesticides has complicated orchard pest control in many ways for fruit growers. While greater opportunities for biological control of some apple pests exist, we are seeing a greater diversity of generalist predators. We have also noticed increases of nuisance pests such as ticks, deerflies and mosquitoes in orchards as broad-spectrum insecticide use declined. The most dangerous resurgence directly affecting humans, however, has to be that of increased numbers of hornets and yellow jackets.
Dr. Bernard Zandstra, Weed Specialist at Michigan State University, recently put out a table listing herbicides that are labeled for nut trees. As he indicated, large acreage of most nut trees are grown in areas that have decidedly different climatic and soil conditions from here in the eastern U.S. Most of the almonds are grown in California while pecans are grown primarily in the southern states and west through Oklahoma and Texas; filberts/hazelnuts are primarily grown in Oregon. You may have a few nut trees under which you would like to control weed growth. In all cases the herbicides are common ones used in deciduous tree fruit production.
The Penn State Tree Fruit Team will be evaluating a new vacuum harvester this season designed specifically for the terrain and systems common in Eastern orchards. The harvester has 4 vacuum tubes for improved efficiency. Growers are invited to an Open House to see the harvester in action and provide project feedback.
Virginia producers are observing necrotic blotches on Gala, Golden Delicious, and Cripps Pink (Pink Lady). The lesions start as purple spots, then growth with concentric rings that may eventually coalesce.
Napthaleneacetic acid (NAA) has been used as a stop-drop spray for over 60 years, often with variable results. With such a long history, it is perhaps understandable that some of the advice learned from early studies with NAA has slipped from our consciousness. One such example is that water quality is an important factor to stop-drop success… or is it? This article takes a look at what we knew, or perhaps once thought we knew about this topic.
Apples going into storage need to be free of disease and injury to keep their value. A good crop can be destroyed in storage due to decay by parasitic fungi. Some fungi can easily be discerned such as common summer rots while others that are not common (sometimes caused by environmental factors) are more difficult to diagnose.
For several years now I have been trying to stress the importance of applying herbicides in the fall as a key management tool. A fall application of a herbicide can be part of an integrated management approach for other orchard pests like cat facing insects and rodents. Elimination of winter annual weeds, which are hosts for insects, from the orchard floor reduces cat facing insect populations. Rodents find orchards infested with winter annual weeds attractive. Ground cover provided by weeds creates a desirable rodent habitat.
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) adults are still causing severe fruit damage in apple orchards. As the season turned into the fall, the pre-overwintering intensive feeding by BMSB adults become the main source of BMSB injuries on fruit. It is often overlooked, but the presence of BMSB adults in already harvested blocks of apple or stone fruit also can significantly contribute to the re-infestation of fruit in surrounding, still not harvested blocks.
The brown marmorated stink bug is advancing, yet its secrets are unraveling. Today a team of more than 50 researchers launches a website bringing its latest findings to growers in North America. The group is solving the mysteries of this pest that damages a huge range of fruit, vegetable, and ornamental crops. You’ll find a photo identification guide and recommendations for how to control it.
The Environmental Protection Agency just released an update on the status of azinphos-methyl ( Aug 30, 2012, EPA Pesticide Program Updates, From EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs: www.epa.gov/pesticides). The full text of the announcement is posted below.
Harvest is fast approaching and the weather has changed from warm and dry to warm and wet. This presents particular danger for fruit rots (sour, ripe, bitter, botrytis), powdery mildew and especially downy mildew. The alert should be up for all of these and hopefully the necessary measures (canopy, crop and disease and insect management) were taken throughout the year. These conditions remind growers of the necessary up front viticultural investment needed to secure a high quality grape crop in the fall.
It is important to use on-site monitoring information in deciding if additional pesticide applications are necessary. Due to the unusual weather pattern this season, some of the commonly used developmental models (e.g., egg hatch models) are not fully reliable indicators of the actual situation in orchards. Properly maintained pheromone traps for our common lepidopteran pests are the best and most accurate tools to assess the need for management activities. Late in the season when trees are bigger, the volume of water per acre should often be increased. Even the most efficacious pest management products will not work if coverage is not sufficient.
This is intended to remind to all Pennsylvania berry growers that spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is present across the state. In some situations, SWD adults are being found in very large numbers and the number of larvae in berries has resulted in a cessation of harvest. With the primocane-fruiting raspberry harvest either just getting underway or being about to start in some locations, growers should be vigilant about watching for SWD. Even if only a few adults are found, sprays may be needed. Fruit should definitely be checked for larvae (see photo).
This past season there were many issues regarding the new crop insurance regulations regarding fresh and processing production and the documentation needed to verify production of each. Many of you have already filed claims this year for hail damage and hopefully, this year is going much better than the past year. Here are some changes for the 2012 season that may be beneficial to you when filing claims should they become necessary.
Penn State has partnered with other land grant institutions to develop a new farm-safety section for a national agriculture website created by cooperative extension agents. The online resource covers critical agriculture safety questions, such as grain bin entrapments, cattle hauling, ATV safety and confined space hazards.
If you are unable to be lucky enough or willing to pay the money for the development of your own farm app, a great way to replicate some of the functions is through the use of QR codes. Many area markets are starting to add these codes to their value added product labels, door stickers and the backs of their business cards. When incorporated correctly, meaning printed in a clear and easy to identify fashion, these codes can be used as another quick method to direct customers to your website.
During the 2012 season growers in Pennsylvania will be able to use two additional, highly effective active ingredients for the management of brown marmorated stink bug.
Fruit growers recognize that attention to detail can mean the difference between a crop of high quality apples picked at the proper time and a crop that has reduced market potential. Predicting optimum harvest date in this season following an early and extended bloom will require extra attention to detail, particularly with early cultivars such as Honeycrisp and Gala.
The Penn State Pesticide Education Program recently purchased a calibration tool that provides a solution to accurately calibrate air blast sprayers. A demonstration of an air blast sprayer calibration will be held at Penn State's Ag Progress Days on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 14 and 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm at the tractor rollover site.