Last January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft Produce Safety Rule as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. This proposed regulation would establish mandatory practices that farmers must take to prevent microbial contamination of fresh produce. The proposed standards include requirements for controlling potential food safety hazards in areas where contamination is most likely to occur including farm worker hygiene, the use of soil supplements containing animal manure, and sanitation conditions for buildings, equipment and tools. Common questions are addressed in this article.
We continue to have trap captures above spray thresholds, but damage risk decreases in cooler weather close to harvest. There is no need to spray when you are within about 7 days to harvest. Eggs take about 3 or more days to hatch. Hatching first instars require another 3 or 4 days to reach 2nd instar. If you are within about 7 days to harvest, there is little need to spray because eggs and very young 1st instars cause little to no damage. If you are further than 7-days from harvest, corn is still at risk of worm damage.
In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.
As the season winds down and the crop reaches maturity, the need to manage for downy (and powdery) mildews decreases and so should the use of target specific fungicides.
As fall approaches and the temperatures drop and dew periods lengthen, late blight will continue to be a problem on tomatoes and potatoes.
Winter squash and pumpkin fruit that remain in the field face a daunting list of diseases, insects and weather events that could threaten fruit quality. Early harvest and careful storage is often preferable to leaving fruit in the field. This is especially true if you know that your pumpkins or squash are in fields that are infected with Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora capsici) as symptoms can develop on fruit even if they are asymptomatic at harvest.
The crop that seems to be most severely affected at the moment is blackberries, though there are reports of SWD in nearly every berry crop that is currently fruiting.
There are several different copper fungicides approved for use in organically-produced crops. Copper fungicides are important tools for managing diseases that cannot be effectively managed with cultural practices alone.
Corn earworm flights continue, and in some areas fall armyworm is now common.
Corn earworm captures continue to be high.
Downy mildew was confirmed on one of the most economically important vegetable crops being grown in Pennsylvania...pumpkin.
Late blight continues to spread across Pennsylvania and the Northeast region.
Corn earworm is spiking in southeastern counties, and rising elsewhere. In southeastern counties, 3-4 day spray thresholds are being reached. Fall armyworm is also showing up, and Brown marmorated stink bug can invade fields at this time.
Outbreaks of late blight are continuing to be reported across PA and the Northeast region of the U.S.
Downy mildew has now been confirmed on cucumber, cantaloupe and butternut squash in Pennsylvania.
Low counts but damage present.
Although counts in traps have been low, the incidence is now widespread and damage being detected in fields.
Downy mildew on cucumber is now a common site across the state.
Sweet corn trap counts have been low, but damage has been reported from at least 3 sites. This could be due to weather affecting trap catch or sprays, trap placement in old corn while silking corn is nearby, or pyrethroid resistance.
Weeds growing between rows of plastic are a common mid to late season problem. Long pre-harvest intervals often limit the herbicide choices available for weed control.