Latest News

Penn State Extension news for vegetable and small fruit producers.
August 28, 2015

Producing the greatest quantity of the highest quality tomatoes (peppers too) requires careful attention to production details.

Botrytis-infected raspberries. Photo:Cassandra Swett, University of MD
August 27, 2015

Two of our least favorite fall pests may be consorting together. Warm rains in the spring and now late summer, combined with heavy dews have resulted in medium to high insect and fruit rot activity this fall in berry crops.

Fall armyworm adult male
August 27, 2015

In summary, corn earworm (CEW) and/or fall armyworm (FAW) captures are at levels that puts sweet corn at risk. This is occurring at multiple sites, especially in Bucks, Centre, Clinton, Erie, Fayette, Lancaster, Mifflin and Washington Counties.

August 26, 2015

Researchers at Penn State are investigating how solitary and wild bees are increasingly important in the pollination of crops.

Corn Earworm Photo credit H. Fescemyer
August 21, 2015

In summary, Corn Earworm (CEW) captures are spotty but above threshold in Bucks Lancaster Lycoming and Schuylkill Counties. Lancaster County has dramatically high populations. Fall Armyworm (FAW) populations are also being captured throughout the state, with notable captures in Blair, Centre, Clinton, Erie, Fayette, and Lycoming Counties. European corn borer (ECB) populations appear to be insignificant.

Photo: Scott Guiser
August 19, 2015

As the market demand for more locally grown produce harvested year-round increases, onions are a crop that seems to be receiving a great deal of attention. Season extension and overwintering techniques utilizing plasticulture technology can be applied successfully to growing onions, adding financial value to your farm operation.

August 19, 2015

On a beautiful July morning we left State College to meet up with Penn State Extension Educator Tom Butzler to visit the Sugar Valley Produce Auction located just outside of Loganton, Pennsylvania.

Classic late bight lesion on the upper surface of a tomato leaf (Photo: Beth K. Gugino)
August 17, 2015

Today late blight was confirmed in a commercial tomato field in Berks County near Fleetwood. This is only the third county that late blight has been confirmed in PA so far this season. A sample is being sent to Cornell University for genotyping.

Field day participants discuss disease management with Farmer Anton Shannon, at Good Work Farm.
August 13, 2015

A good disease management plan can increase your probability of success for the season. Farmer Anton Shannon and former Extension Educator Tianna DuPont, shared tips for disease prevention, identification and control at a recent field day at one of Penn State Extension’s Models for the Future sites.

European corn borer feeding. Photo: Eric Burkness,
August 12, 2015

In summary, corn earworm (CEW) increases continue in one site in Lancaster and Bucks counties, and a 2nd generation of European corn borer (ECB) is in progress, notably in Centre, Luzerne, and Westmoreland counties, but overall most sites are surprisingly low for this time of year.

Highlighted counties are where CDM outbreaks have been reported as of 12 August 2015. Red indicates the reports were made within the past 7 days. Map source: Cucurbit Downy Mildew ipmPIPE website.
August 12, 2015

With the increasing number of confirmed and unconfirmed reports of downy mildew across the state, it is important to make sure that you are selecting the most effective products to manage this disease for your production system.

August 12, 2015

This past week there have been no new reports of late blight in PA, however the cooler temperatures and slightly more overcast weather the past couple of days were perfect for late blight, so be on the lookout.

2014 Powdery mildew fungicide trial. The "white" areas have not received any fungicide applications during the season (Photo: Beth K. Gugino).
August 12, 2015

Be on the look-out for powdery mildew; it's out there on the majority of cucurbit crops, especially if you didn't plant resistant varieties.

European corn borer. Photo: M. E. Rice
August 6, 2015

Corn earworm (CEW) increases have started, and a site in Lancaster County spiked dramatically. We may start to see increased from both immigration and locally produced 2nd generation CEW. Also, a 2nd generation of European corn borer (ECB) is in progress. Change to this can occur rapidly at this time of year.

Bacterial wilt of pumpkin (Photo: Beth K. Gugino)
August 6, 2015

This season has been rough on cucurbit crops across the state and many growers are seeing cucurbits wilting in their fields. There are a number of diseases like bacterial wilt, cucurbit yellow vine decline and Fusarium wilt as well as abiotic stresses such as water logged soils that can cause cucurbits to wilt.

August 6, 2015

Late blight was confirmed on tomato and potato from the same farm in Somerset County this past week. Both samples were genotyped as US23. As we head into fall, cooler evening temperatures and longer dew periods will favor the continued development of late blight.

Highlighted counties are where CDM outbreaks have been reported as of 6 August 2015. Red indicates the reports were made within the past 7 days. Map source: Cucurbit Downy Mildew ipmPIPE website.
August 6, 2015

Downy mildew is continuing to spread across Pennsylvania with additional reports on cucumber, pumpkin and butternut squash.

Spotted wing drosophila male. Photo: Alex Surcica
July 31, 2015

Spotted wing drosophila is being consistently found in low numbers in various locations across the northeast, so growers of susceptible berry or other fruit crops should be monitoring for this pest, and be prepared to take steps for management.

July 30, 2015

Over the past several years, bacterial diseases have become an increasing problem in tomato and pepper fields across Pennsylvania. Last year it was tomato while this year it seems to be more on pepper depending on where you are in the Pennsylvania.

Once sticky cards are placed in plastic bags, a marker can be used to highlight and count important insects.
July 29, 2015

Using sticky cards is an important component of scouting for insects in high tunnels. When looking at a particular insect on sticky cards, you may need to examine more than one specimen of the insect because it may be stuck on the card in a way that masks critical structures for identification.