In apple orchards where scab was poorly controlled last fall, growers will need to compensate this spring for what we might call the five curses of high-inoculum, which are outlined in this article.
There are many reasons for calibrating your air blast sprayer, and Penn State Extension now has a new tool to assist growers in this important task. Chemicals should be applied at the proper rate to be effective and safe without causing pollution. The calibration test helps ensure accuracy of the application with selected nozzles, pressure, sprayer design, and travel speed.
The release of mature apple scab ascospores at Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, PA approached 18,000 on March 22nd, just 72 hours after we first detected mature ascospores (Monday, March 19th).
You probably have heard it a thousand times already but the degree days base 43°F accumulation for March 23 in southern Pennsylvania is about 4 weeks ahead compared to previous years (or 3 weeks compared to the 2010 season). Since most of us do not have first hand experience with such an unusual season, what it will mean to our orchards remains to be seen.
Primary infection periods for apple scab started two weeks early this year. Beginning with this report, the status of disease infections will be updated weekly at this Fruit Times website. To receive these reports as soon as they are posted, please click on " Subscribe to E-Mail Updates."
This winter has been mild enough that many of you have a good majority of your pruning completed. If you are in this position, you might want to consider turning to another rite of spring -- and that is planting trees.
Northeast growers can capture more of the lucrative local market for fresh berries by growing brambles (raspberries and blackberries) in high tunnels. And the place for them to start is with the updated and expanded edition of High Tunnel Raspberries and Blackberries.
For those of you who are interested in producing day-neutral strawberries, there’s a guide out there for you – Season-Long Strawberry Production with Everbearers for Northeastern Producers. This 70-page guide covers information on production techniques, economics and pests in day-neutral production.
The 2012-2013 Penn State Extension Tree Fruit Production Guide is now available at your local extension office or the Penn State Publications Distribution Center (814-865-6713; AgPubsDist@psu.edu). Presentations from the Penn State Extension Winter Educational Meetings for Fruit Growers are posted at http://agsci.psu.edu/frec/resources (scroll to the bottom of this resource page to find “Presentations.”)
This article provides a short review of the early-season fungus diseases of apples, a quick review of fungicide properties, a short discussion of how epidemics arise, some ideas about how to maintain fungicide efficacy and delay resistance, and finally, some disease management examples, including the integration some of the new SDHI fungicides into an effective program for 2012.
A special workshop on the apple scab situation in Pennsylvania will be held on March 6, 2012, 8:00 am to noon at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, PA. The featured guest speaker is Dr. Dave Rosenberger, Tree Fruit Plant Pathologist at Cornell's Hudson Valley Lab.
The “Pennsylvania Farm Energy Audits Program,” is available to help agricultural producers identify the best methods to improve their farm’s energy efficiency. USDA will offset the cost by paying 75% of the energy audit, leaving only 25% of the cost to the farmer. The audits are carried out by Penn State agricultural energy specialists or specially trained private consultants, depending on the location of the farm and availability of personnel.
The Ag. Entrepreneurship Extension Team at Penn State (farmbusiness.psu.edu) investigates opportunities for stakeholders (e.g. growers, wholesalers, processors, retailers) and disseminates applicable information to these groups. A few of us in the team have been focusing on gathering data from consumers residing in Pennsylvania and surrounding states pertaining to their fruit and vegetable purchasing attitudes and behaviors, with particular emphasis on better understanding the fresh and processed apple purchaser. We have conducted a few studies since 2008 and would like to share that data and provide examples of marketing strategies that stakeholders could implement based on the research.
A new pest has been pigging out on many of North America’s most important crops, posing an unprecedented threat to U.S. farmers. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) burst onto the scene in 2010, causing catastrophic damage in most mid-Atlantic states. Some growers of sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, apples, and peaches reported total losses that year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now awarded $5.7 million to ten institutions across the country for research and education to help growers cope. The value of susceptible crops in the 33 states where BMSB has been established or sighted exceeds $21 billion, says Tracy Leskey, the USDA entomologist at the project’s helm. Last year, the pest cost apple growers alone $37 million. Leskey’s team of 51 researchers has its work cut out: uncover the mysteries of BMSB and use that knowledge to find management tactics that work—traps and lures, biopesticides, and natural enemies that kill BMSB. The Northeastern IPM Center will coordinate outreach, putting solutions in the hands of growers who need them.
It's getting tougher all the time to be a farmer, and managers of small agricultural operations have to be increasingly efficient, clever and resourceful just to stay profitable. But the concept of "agritainment" -- any form of farm-based tourism operation that provides economic benefit to the farm owner and offers entertainment, activities or product for the visitor -- may help farmers improve their bottom lines, according to agricultural business experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. "Agritainment creates the opportunity for farm owners to entice visitors to their farm, provide education about agriculture and increase their overall profits," said Lynn Kime, senior extension associate in agricultural economics. "The concept offers hope for small, struggling farms."
Have you been considering upgrading equipment in your cold storage, greenhouse, or irrigation system? Penn State Extension, in conjunction with USDA Rural Development, is now offering a program to provide low cost energy audits for farms in Pennsylvania. USDA will pay 75% of the cost of the audit, leaving a cost of only 25% to the farmer—saving you up to $1000 (or more, depending on your operation and location). The energy audit will include an easy-to-understand report that lists recommended ways to improve energy efficiency on your farm, plus information on possible funding for installing energy efficient equipment. It will be up to you to decide what to do with this information, but we will help you understand your options and see how you can upgrade your farm's energy performance. An energy audit is a required first step for many funding programs, so this is an important first step for taking advantage of a variety of energy installation programs.
Though many of us expected to find spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in Pennsylvania in 2011, the widespread occurrence and sheer numbers found during the fall in some locations were surprising. Because of high SWD infestations, some growers gave up on harvesting fall raspberries and day-neutral strawberries. The problem was probably made worse by drenching rains from Hurricanes Irene and Lee which ruined berries that were then left in the field. SWD and other vinegar flies multiplied in the unharvested fruit, which then resulted in more SWD to infest ripening fruit that otherwise could have been harvested later. Fortunately, SWD populations were relatively low this year until fall. The concern for next year is that we don’t yet know how well SWD will survive the winter here, so we don’t know how many will be present at the beginning of the growing season next spring.
Duane Greene will be at the Adams County Agricultural and Natural Resources Center in Gettysburg, PA on Tuesday, December 20th, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm to give two presentations for an in-depth fruit school on Apple Crop Load Management. The presentation titles are “Monitoring Apple Fruit Growth for Predicting Chemical Thinning Response” and “The Chemical Thinning Palette of Options for Adjusting Apple Crop Load.” To register, visit http://www.cvent.com/d/9cqjgg or call 877-489-1398 (toll free). $55 fee includes an equilifruit disk, lunch and handouts; discount if register by Nov. 15th. Final date to register is Dec. 14th. Program details are provided at "Fruit Times Events."
In 1933 and 1934, nearly 50 million people flocked to the World’s Fair in Chicago to celebrate a “Century of Progress”. Visitors eagerly toured the agricultural building that showcased innovations and ideas for the future, like new designs for corn planters, harrows, and engines. How far have we come since then?
Crop load management is one of the most important orchard cultural programs. Small fruit do not have a strong market and the effects of less return bloom following a heavy crop can affect overall profitability. During a crop load management workshop on December 20th, special guest presenter, Dr. Duane Greene, University of Massachusetts, and Penn State pomology faculty will discuss new models and tools to use in assessing when and how much to thin apples. Each participant will receive a limb caliper disk (Equilifruit disk) to use in assessing optimum apple crop load as well as training on using the Lakso carbon balance model to predict the effect of weather on plant growth regulator efficacy. To register, click on the workshop link under events or call 877-489-1398 (toll free).