The winter of 2013/2014 was one of the most severe since 1994 and we can hope another 20 years or more pass before we must endure another of the same magnitude. The extent of damage and crop loss varied among regions, individual vineyard sites, wine grape varieties and the health of the vines going into the cold season.
Dr. Bill Lamont shares his thoughts on the potential for extracting energy from waste agricultural plastics. The large consumer plastic waste stream is a potentially untapped fuel source and one that a waste management company could build a pretty good positive public relations campaign around.
We have been evaluating 'Niwot' primocane-fruiting black raspberry in tunnels since 2013, and preliminary findings have been promising.
Normally, we've been updating the Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide every 2 to 3 years, and this time around, it's going to be 3 years between updates.
From retail to non-profit and public school to private foundation, the Southeast Region’s new Tree Fruit and Green Industry Extension Educator brings a variety of experiences to her extension position.
One of the last tasks in getting orchards ready for winter is planning your strategy to control voles and prevent their damage. Word around the state is that vole populations were up last year, and growers should be on the alert again this season. Vole populations exhibit distinctive population fluctuations of approximately 4-year cycles.
The Penn State Extension Tree Fruit Team, in cooperation with growers and other extension educators from the Mid-Atlantic region, have put together 3 days of cutting-edge educational sessions to help producers prepare for a successful 2015 growing season.
Agricultural businesses and pesticide applicators in 18 counties can dispose of unwanted pesticides safely and easily in 2015 through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s CHEMSWEEP program.
Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, is a new threat to Pennsylvania and the United States. Experts are still learning about this threat to agriculture in Pennsylvania and the United States and how to combat it.
Another pest that has flared due to BMSB sprays has been San Jose Scale (SJS). SJS is a relatively easy pest to control with many different control options added in the last 10 years. Paradoxically, it is a pest that is better prevented than cured.
Pennsylvania is fortunate to have large amounts of water to support agriculture but farmers also use irrigation. According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, since 2007 irrigation use has expanded in the state to over 4500 farms and about 39,000 irrigated acres.
Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, is a new threat to Pennsylvania and the United States. It lays egg masses of 30-50 eggs wherever there's a flat surface -- meaning that many home items easily transported can pack this pest and help it spread quickly.
On November 3, 2014 the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced the discovery of a new invasive insect species, spotted lanternfly, Lycorna delicatula (White) (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae). This new species of fulgorid hopper (i.e., planthoppers), also known under the name of spot clothing wax cicada, is native to China and South-East Asia where it has one generation per season. Both nymphs and adults are known to feed on wood (sap feeding) of multiple tree species including fruit trees and grapes. Areas in Berks County, PA are currently under quarantine regulations to stop the spread of this new invasive insect pest.
To reduce apple scab risk for next season, growers are encouraged to spray a fall application of urea as close to leaf drop as possible. Prune out fire blight strikes now while they are still visible on the tree to prevent cankers from overwintering. For those battling bacterial canker, copper applications are recommended since autumn is an optimal time for high bacterial populations. Additional disease management strategies are also discussed.
The key to preventing seeds from rubbing off strawberries is to control powdery mildew before plants become heavily infected.
New apple cultivars are continually being introduced, with some being branded and some restricted. Resistance to apple scab has been a long term goal of some breeding programs. The four cultivars mentioned here all have resistance to apple scab from the Vf gene.
Pennsylvania apple and peach growers have until November 20, 2014 to apply for crop insurance on next year’s crop. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing policies also have until November 20 to do so.
The Penn State Extension Tree Fruit Production website now includes a link for interactive budgets that may be used to calculate pro-forma or year-end actual budgets for many orchard enterprises.
Local soils and climatic conditions favor the production of apples with the highest fruit quality, which has been a competitive advantage for the Mid-Atlantic fruit industry over the years. There is a growing interest among consumers for hard cider, and during a January 13th workshop, producers exploring alternative markets for apples will learn how to establish a hard cider orchard and also important considerations for cider production. Register early as space is limited!
Everything we have previously learned about economics and business management must be applied on our farms. From conversations with farmers we believe this is the challenge for today’s farm managers and leaders. The difference in profitability of the top 20% and the bottom 20% of commercial farms continues to grow every year. Even the best and most successful farm businesses have issues. “