NEW ENGLAND VEGETABLE AND BERRY CONFERENCE TO MOVE
The New England Vegetable and Berry Conference on December 16, 17, and 18, 2003 will be at a new location: Center of New Hampshire Holiday Inn in Manchester, NH. It will be held in combination with the New England Fruit Meetings, and there will be a combined trade show for the two meetings with over 100 vendors. The conference will include 24 educational sessions on all aspects of vegetable, small-fruit, and tree-fruit production and marketing. Registration and lodging costs will remain very reasonable. For more information contact: Frank Mangan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 978- 422-6374 or check the website www.nevbc.org
SIT DOWN AND BE COUNTED
If you haven’t done so yet, go to your desk and fill out the Census of Agriculture form. Even though the deadline has passed late submissions are still being accepted. So far only about half the eligible farms have reported, and that’s fewer than the last Census. The resulting statistics have a big impact on funding for agricultural programs and services, as well as the perception of agriculture’s importance among policy makers. The information you submit is required by law to remain confidential. If you need a census form please call 1-888-424-7828.
SUMMARY OF CUCUMBER BEETLE CONTROL STUDY
(this article and the following one are adapted from the excellent UMass Extension vegetable newsletter, available free via E-mail at: www.umassvegetable.org/newsletters/subscribe.html)
A 2-year study compared effectiveness of insecticides on management of striped cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt in direct seeded (DS) and transplanted (TP) pumpkin (variety Merlin). Results of the trial indicate the need for ‘long distance’ crop rotation in order for insecticides to be most effective. When rotation was to an adjacent field--different land, but close to last year’s cucurbits-- beetle numbers were not reduced and insecticide effectiveness tended to decline.
The conventional foliar material carbaryl (Sevin XLR Plus) provided protection to DS plants in 2001 but not to TP in 2001 or either TP or DS in 2002. This may be related to timing: in both years, there was a 2 to 3 day delay between beetle arrival and the first spray, which allowed some feeding to occur. Growers who have used this method are aware that timing is important and because beetle numbers (and leaf damage) increase rapidly in mid-June.
Kaolin clay (Surround WP) provided significant reduction in feeding
damage, less loss to wilt, and higher yield in 2001 - but not in 2002.
This product is recommended for organic farmers in combination with other
tactics such as rotation, row cover, using transplants (so plants are bigger
when beetles arrive), and delaying planting until late June to avoid beetles.
Surround can be applied to transplants prior to setting in the field.
Bioyield Flowable (2001) and Bioyield II (2002), a plant-growth promoting bacteria applied as a seed treatment, appeared to provide some suppression of feeding damage and an improvement in plant survival and yield. Further work is needed to explore rates and different soil conditions. It could be useful for organic growers if this material gains approval.
Imidicloprid (Admire 2F) was effective applied as furrow drench at 1oz/1000 ft in both years. Given the variable row spacing used in cucurbits, calculating rates in terms of ounces per row 1000 feet gives consistent rates at the root zone, and reduces per acre cost at wide row spacings. Admire was also effective through trickle when the full row was saturated with water, even under high beetle pressure. This can be accomplished by charging the system with water first, then making the injection, then running more water to clear the system and ensure wetting of the entire row. A pre-transplant drench provided suppression and reduced wilt but was not as effective as other methods of application. It is possible that slightly higher rates would be more effective, but growers should use caution because excessive rates cause burning.
SUMMARY OF FLEA BEETLE CONTROL STUDY
In 2001 and 2002 two sets of trials were conducted to evaluate controls for flea beetles on Brassicas. Spun-bonded row cover and carbaryl (Sevin XLR Plus) were the most consistently effective. However, several other compounds showed their potential as a management tool. Spinosad (Spintor 2SC, which will be available in a new organic formulation, Entrust, in 2003) and capsaicin (Hot Pepper Wax) significantly reduced the amount of damage to the leaves of the plants. Imidacloprid (Provado), neem (Ecozin 3%) and pyrethrum (Pyganic Crop Protectant) did not provide control of beetles.
BLUEBERRY FERTILIZATION PROTOCOL
(adapted from Rutgers Blueberry Bulletin)
Applications of fertilizer should be applied in split application at bloom and again 4 weeks later because this is when the plant can take up nutrients most efficiently. This does not result in softer fruit, but can result in increased yield. Fertigation can be used to further ‘spoon feed’ the crop. Applying the fertilizer through the trickle system over 6 weeks can result in larger, firmer fruit and higher yields. Fertilizer recommendations based on soil analysis are at best a guess and at worst can result in problems due to toxic or deficient levels of nutrients in the plant. Rather, fertilizer recommendations should be based on leaf analysis. Soil analysis is useful for measuring soil pH which is critical for successful blueberry growing; it should be between 4.5 and 4.8.
2003 VEGETABLE AND BERRY HERBICIDE UPDATE
Dr. Rich Bonanno of UMass Extension has summarized new products and changes to herbicide registrations that affect vegetable and berry production. His article is posted on the Vermont vegetable and berry web site, click on ‘pest management’ or go directly to the article at: http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/03herbicideupdate.html
GRUBINGER TO GO ON SABBATIC LEAVE
I will be on leave from April through October to work on a project aimed at getting more local food into Vermont schools. This newsletter will continue to be produced once a month, and the next issue will include the first ‘reports from the field’ for this season. I will also be available to answer urgent grower questions through e-mail and phone messages.
Mention of pesticides and brand names is for information purposes
No endorsement is intended nor is discrimination implied against products not mentioned.
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