Governor Tom Corbett recently signed two pieces of legislation regarding the taxation of High Tunnels in Pennsylvania. While this simplified the property tax issue, there remains substantial confusion among growers as to what is required in order to legally construct high tunnels in their local municipality. In addition, what constitutes a high tunnel, greenhouse and sales facility as they relate to other agricultural production facilities varies from township to township and borough to borough.
Although cucurbit downy mildew has not been confirmed in PA, it is still important to be scouting your fields!
The weather has been ideal for late blight resulting in an increased number of confirmed reports across Pennsylvania.
Spotted wing drosophila was found in very low numbers in traps in southeastern PA (3 males out of 40 traps using a new commercially-available SWD Lure – Trece, Inc). Two of the SWD were in an unharvested cherry block, and one was in a trap in black raspberries. No female SWD were found at these sites yet, but judging from our brief experience with this pest in PA, it won't be long. Growers of raspberries (both red and black), blackberries, and blueberries in particular should be monitoring for SWD (check traps daily if possible), and should be prepared with effective materials for control.
People are concerned about the effect pesticides have on wildlife and the environment. Specifically, there is a lot of discussion about the role pesticides play in the decline of pollinators; both honeybees and wild insects.
USDA has recently noticed that some growers are using bleach (Clorox TM) as a disinfectant in post-harvest washing systems. Disinfectants are regulated the same way as pesticides and unless the label on the bottle indicates EPA approval for washing fruits and vegetables, it is against federal law to use it for that purpose.
Downy mildew confirmed on cucumber in Maryland but not yet in PA.
No new reports so far this week.
Two male spotted wing drosophila were just found in monitoring traps from northern Maryland from samples collected by Bryan Butler, Univ. of MD, and identified by David Biddinger, PSU Dept. of Entomology.
With the cold winter last season, we are expecting a higher than normal winter mortality, and hopefully a later than usual emergence of spotted wing drosophila. At this time, we do not believe cherries are at risk and that we probably have at least another week before the first flies will be caught.
Get out and scout your potato and tomato fields now if you haven't already been doing so! Late blight has been confirmed on potato in Cambria Co. and on both tomato and potato in adjacent fields in Lancaster Co. Samples have been submitted for genotyping.
Twin Springs Fruit Farm is a 75 acre farm in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania that was started in the 1970s. Tom Childs, who operates the greenhouses, gave us a tour on June 24th, 2014.
Basil downy mildew has now become an annual problem across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.
In Pennsylvania, the first reports of downy mildew on cucumber typically occur in late June into early July. Now is the time to be scouting. Downy mildew is most easily managed before symptoms are observed in the crop.
Sweet corn counts holding steady. Earworm concerns in Westmoreland and Clinton counties, ECB in Bradford, and some also in Bucks, Clinton, Lancaster, and Centre counties.
Due to the wide diversity of genus and species among cut flowers, managing weeds often requires different approaches depending on the specific weed, specific flower or woody stem, time of year and level of weed infestation.
During a recent conference call of Penn State Extension educators, specialists and faculty working with vegetable production, the topic of herbicide injury to crops was brought up repeatedly.
First confirmed reports of late blight this summer are on potato in New York and North Carolina.
Corn earworm is already present throughout the state. European corn borer flights are high in Bradford Co, and significant in Bucks, Clinton, and Lancaster Counties.
Botrytis or gray mold is a major disease for strawberry growers, and there is some new information on fungicide resistance that growers should have.