SWD caught in NH

by Alan Eaton, George Hamilton, and Linda Kuhnhardt; UNH Cooperative Extension

We captured our first spotted wing drosophila (SWD) on June 22, 2017 in Hillsborough County.  This is about 2 weeks earlier than expected.  If you grow early varieties of blueberries or brambles, consider setting up traps to monitor for SWD now. More info about this pest, as well as details on pesticide choices and trapping are at our website.

SWDonblackberry

SWD on blackberry fruit

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Mummy berry in blueberry – scout now

mummyberry

Blueberry fruits infected with mummy berry. They have turned pink and spongy, and will turn into mummified fruit instead of ripening.

Mummy berry disease of blueberry is often only a minor problem, but it can cause significant  fruit losses when the environmental conditions are right. This year may be one of those years.

Now is the time to scout for primary shoot lesions – Alan Eaton recently showed a very nice picture of these in his most recent (May 11, 2017) IPM newsletter. The blueberries at our research farm at the NH Agricultural Experiment Station have quite a lot of primary infections, and we have seen them on some commercial plantings as well.

Most people first notice this disease as fruits start to ripen. Infected fruits develop normally, but just as they should be ripening, they turn pinkish and shrivel to form a hard “mummy” instead of ripening.  The fungus that causes mummyberry overwinters in mummified fruit on the ground. In the spring, spores are produced by mushroom-like apothecia on mummified fruit, and are spread by wind. Under cool and wet conditions (like those we have had recently), spores infect green shoots and cause twig blight (primary infection). More spores are produced by infected twigs and leaves. These can then infect blossoms and the fruit they produce (secondary infection).

If fungicides are required, very early applications should begin at bud break, or at the early green tip stage of growth, to prevent primary infections. We are now in bloom in most locations, and that is when we are at risk for secondary infection. Applications of fungicides during bloom can help reduce secondary infections, but after bloom, we have missed the window for control for this year.

Indar 75 WSP (fenbuconazole) currently appears to be the most effective fungicide for controlling the disease, though several other fungicides are labelled (see the New England Small Fruit Management Guide, with blueberry pest management table) and may provide some control.

If infections do occur this year, it will be very important to manage the disease next year. Raking under the bushes very early in the season to disturb the apothecia before they release spores can be effective. Another control strategy is spring mulching to bury the mummies and apothecia, or application of lime sulfur or urea on the soil/mulch surface to ‘burn’ the apothecia.

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Mustard Cover Crops Offer benefits beyond Soil Health

By Rico Balzano, UVM Extension Agronomy Outreach Professional

There is growing consensus that cover crops have many environmental and agronomic benefits including reducing soil erosion, adding valuable organic matter, and improving overall soil health. But how do cover crops fit into a weed control program? And how may they effect other soil-borne pests and diseases?

In 2015, I received a SARE farmer grant to explore the use of mustard cover crops to help control plant parasitic nematodes, weeds, and soil-borne diseases. Varieties of two species of mustard (Sinapis alba and Brassica juncea) have been identified as producing chemical compounds known as glucosinolates that have been shown to reduce fungus and nematodes populations when mowed and incorporated into the soil. This process is known as biofumigation.

mustard cover crop ready for termination and incorporation

Mustard crop, ready for termination and incorporation.

Six varieties of mustard were trialed to test glucosinolate production and overall biomass yield. The yields were measured by weighing samples in the field, and glucosinolates were measured by a lab at the University of Idaho. The varieties were: Kodiak (Brassica juncea), Pacific Gold (Brassica juncea), Ida Gold (Sinapis alba), Caliente 119 (S.alba and B. juncea blend), Caliente 199 (S.alba and B. juncea blend), and Nemat (Eruca sativa– also a Brassica, bred as a nematode trap crop). They were planted in the spring of 2015 and allowed to grow for 60 days before incorporation and measurements were taken. It was found that ‘Caliente 199’ had the highest biomass yield and highest levels of the glucosinolate ‘sinigrin’, a volatile compound that has been shown to have anti-fungal and anti-nematode properties. Interestingly, ‘Ida Gold’ contained another gluscosinolate, ‘sinalbin’. This non-volatile compound has shown the ability to inhibit weed seed germination. Although measurements were not taken, it was observed there was less overall weed pressure in the ‘Ida Gold’ plots. This is similar to observations in trials of ‘tillage radish’, another Brassica species. It was not determined whether weed suppression was a result of biofumigation or a dense cover crop outcompeting weeds. Planting rate (density) in other cover crops such as winter rye and oats has been shown to effectively suppress weeds. Further study is needed to determine how planting rates of mustards and other Brassica species effect glucosinolate production, disease suppression, and weed control.

 

As with any biological control, results can be variable. In trials in Idaho, higher soil moisture improved fungus and nematode suppression, while increasing weed pressure. It is necessary to macerate and incorporate the mustard plants for the glucosinolates to be effective. This can be accomplished by mowing and disking in the plants. For fall planted mustards and Brassicas, freezing and thawing may effectively macerate and release the glucosinolate ‘sinalbin’, potentially explaining weed suppression the following spring. Further study is needed to determine how these bio-chemicals and cover crops perform under different management.

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How does health insurance affect farmers and ranchers? Help influence rural health policy in upcoming survey

Farmers and ranchers: How does health insurance affect you? Help influence rural health policy by participating in an upcoming USDA funded survey. Your responses will help researchers understand how health-insurance policy affects farmers’ and ranchers’ decisions to invest, expand, and grow their enterprises.

Selected participants received a letter about the survey in February. If you did not receive a letter and survey but would like to participate follow this link:  https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/132344?lang=en

This survey is a chance for farmers and ranchers to make their voices heard about their experiences with health insurance and how that affects both their economic development and family’s quality of life.

Project partners include the Northeastern, North Central, Southern and Western Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs); University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies; University of Vermont Extension; Center for Rural Affairs; University of Maryland Extension; and, the Farm Foundation.

For more information, visit the HIREDnAG website: http://www.hirednag.net/
Or contact Katlyn Morris, HIREDnAG Project Coordinator at katlyn.morris@uvm.edu or by phone at 802-656-0257.

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Farm Labor Survey

Please take a few minutes today to complete an online survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/aglabor2016) about your experiences making decisions about and managing farm labor. The survey is part of a multi-state research and extension project working to help farmers better anticipate the amount and type of labor they need to reach their business and quality of life goals.

Farmers will benefit! The information you share will directly shape educational programs and decision tools the research team is developing to help farmers improve farm labor decision-making and management. For most people, the survey will take between 10 and 20 minutes. Your responses will be anonymous. Questions? Please contact Project Director Mary Peabody.

Link to the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/aglabor2016

This survey is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2014-68006-21873.

The project team:

  • Mary Peabody (project director), University of Vermont (UVM) Extension
  • Jason Parker, UVM Plant and Soil Sciences
  • Chyi-Lyi Kathleen Liang, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (NCAT) State University
  • Seth Wilner, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
  • Carolyn Sachs, Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University
  • John Hendrickson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Beth Holtzman, UVM Extension
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Still Trying to Figure Out if Your Farm Needs to Comply with the Produce Safety Rule of FSMA?

by Heather Bryant, UNH Cooperative Extension Field Specialist, Grafton County.

If I said to you, are you “not covered”, “qualified exempt” or “covered” would you know what I’m talking about?  If the answer is no, you are not alone!  But it’s the first step in figuring out what to do next.  UNH Cooperative Extension’s FSMA team has posted some online tools that will help you figure out which category applies to your farm.

  • Step 1:  Watch the following YouTube video, ask yourself where your farm falls.
  • Step 2:  Follow this flowchart from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, does it confirm where you thought your farm would fall after watching the video?
  • Step 3:  Answer the questions in this online tool.

If you don’t get the same answer from all three tools, contact a member of our FSMA team.

Now that you know which category your farm is in, ask yourself if you can prove it.  Collect all your sales records going back three years if it’s easy, but if not start with January of 2016.  Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. What are my total produce sales? (produce is fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts and nuts)
  2. What are my total food sales? (and remember the FDA is defining food as everything edible by a human or animal, ie cucumbers, mushrooms, bacon, hay, milk, eggs, etc.)
  3. What are my total sales to qualified end users (consumers; restaurants and grocery stores in your state or within 275 miles of your farm)

For assistance with record keeping questions contact Seth Wilner.

Most farms in NH are going to fall under the category of “not covered” or “qualified exempt”, but for those “covered” farms that do need to comply with the entirety of the rule, please stay tuned.  We are collaborating with partners in Maine to offer a 2-day training, April 11-12, 2017, and we will make more details available soon.

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Farm-Food Matchmaking Event

The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food is holding their 2nd annual  NH Farm/Food Matchmaking Program on February 21, 2017. This event brings together New Hampshire farm and food producers who are seeking wholesale markets with interested buyers. Last year, there were 40 New Hampshire farm/food businesses showcasing their products at the first matchmaking event, including dairy, produce, meats, beverages and specialty foods.

The event will take place at the Bektash Shriners Hall in Concord, and participation is completely free for producers AND buyers. Producers must pre-register to exhibit, and buyers are requested to pre-register as well. Program details and registration forms are available here.

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