Have you ever looked for training materials to build the knowledge and confidence of your farm market personnel? Penn State Extension now offers on-line training for farm professionals that handle, process, or merchandise fresh market produce.
Update on the strawberry virus situation in Pennsylvania. Last month, I had written an article regarding two strawberry viruses (strawberry mottle virus, and strawberry mild yellow edge virus) that could be present in strawberry plug plants grown by mid-Atlantic nurseries (and others in the East) that had obtained runner tips from a Canadian supplier. The concerns were that the viruses could spread to otherwise healthy plants if aphids (the vectors of these particular viruses) were present; that the presence of the viruses would affect growers' plans to carry over plantings; and that if both viruses were present in the same plants, vigor and yields would be affected. At the time the article was written, we weren't sure how widespread the problem was in Pennsylvania.
Update on the current status of spotted wing drosophila, a species of fruit fly, that is problematic because the tiny larvae of this pest can be present in the fruit when it is harvested.
As a Pennsylvania grower of fresh vegetables and fruits, you have worked hard to learn about and adopt GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) on your farm and in your packing house. Now that we are moving into peak marketing season, remember those farm food safety concepts when selling your produce at farm and farmers markets. Food safety practices that extend from farm to fork can help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks.
Adams County young growers were featured in the Gettysburg Times and Country Folks Grower.
Peach leaf curl is occurring throughout the region; effective control measures occur after leaf drop in the fall. Weather conditions are still excellent for fire blight; growers are encouraged to keep young, newly planted blooming trees protected. Apple scab sources are being sought in the region for fungicide resistance studies.
The tables below present weekly adult moth captures in pheromone traps and degree day comparisons 2008 to 2013.
As during previous years, the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension website located at: http://agsci.psu.edu/frec is again providing the information related to seasonal observations on insects and diseases (http://agsci.psu.edu/frec/growing-season-information).
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is continuing its movement away from overwintering shelters and feeding on multiple species of plants, most likely not inside orchards.
A critical time to control the second generation of pear psylla is during the first week of hatch of the young nymphs and then a repeat application should be made 12 to 14 days later.
The 2013 spring weather conditions created a fortunate pattern for combining effective management options for some of our most important fruit pests—codling moth (CM), tufted apple bud moth (TABM) and obliquebanded leafroller (OBLR).
Many growers applied chemical thinners during the week of 5/13 to 5/18, and the effects of these applications are just becoming apparent. The forecast for our region calls for temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s for Wednesday through Sunday, with lows in the mid-60s throughout that time. Under high temperatures, all thinning chemistries are more effective than when temperatures are more moderate.
Carbohydrate balances for the most part are positive across the state indicating the potential for trees to be less responsive to chemical thinner applications. (The exception is up along Lake Erie). IMPORTANT: Plant growth regulator label precautions supersede recommendations from thinning models when temperatures approach 90 degrees or higher.
The first treatment to control codling moth is needed early during the week of May 27th (around 250 DD50, 5 percent CM egg hatch on May 27th). If hand applied mating disruption materials (Isomate® or CheckMate® products) are planned for the control of CM, Oriental Fruit Moth (OFM), dogwood borer, peach tree borer and lesser peach tree borer, the dispensers should be already placed in the orchards. First generation Oriental fruit moth flight is winding down across the state. Plum curculio (PC) adults will need to be controlled for at least another week. Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is continuing its movement away from overwintering shelters and feeding on multiple species of plants, most likely not inside orchards. All pheromone traps for monitoring fruit insect pests should already be placed in orchards.
Weather conditions are optimal for bacterial spot on stone fruit. Fire blight infection conditions forecasted through May 26. Bacterial spot and cherry leaf spot infection periods are also now posted.
Below are tables on four sites for the Cornell Carbohydrate model for apple thinning. Please note that values for May 21 and beyond are estimated forecasts.
Fire blight infection conditions forecasted for May 17 - 22 are high. Infection periods for apple scab, fire blight, cedar apple rust, and powdery mildew are being posted.
Below are the tables for the Cornell carbohydrate balance model from data derived from SkyBit and NEWA stations in Pennsylvania. The SkyBit stations are Wexford, Richfield and Morgantown. The NEWA stations are North East, Biglerville, Bendersville and York Springs. Remember that you should be looking at a multitude of factors when deciding on a thinning program. Following freezing temperatures at many locations on Tuesday morning, freeze damage assessment is an additional consideration. Be sure to keep good records as to when and what you apply as well as the results.
First generation Oriental fruit moth (OFM) flight is continuing across the state. Observations while in Erie County this week indicated that it is a good time to make an initial application to control hatching larvae. In southern counties, the second application of effective products should already be on. In Southern Pennsylvania, codling moth (CM) adults are active and, if needed, the first codling moth treatment should be planned sometime during the week of May 26th. In most orchards no special stink bug control activities are required at this time. Visual search for BMSB adults still remains the only reliable monitoring technique at this time of the season.
The following general observations are offered to help you assess your apple crop load potential in 2013, and help you determine the appropriate action plan for chemical thinning. Close observation of your blocks may show bloom or fruit set that differs from our observations, in which case you should adjust your decision-making accordingly. Monitor your orchards for damage from this morning's freezing temperatures before making thinning decisions.