Southern Ohio Specialty Crop Conference

Registration is now open for the 2019 Southern Ohio Specialty Crop Conference. It will be held on February 5, 2019 at the Oasis Conference Center in Loveland, Ohio. The deadline to register for this conference is February 1, 2019 at 12:00 Noon. No walk-ins are permitted. Registration is limited to 75 people, so register early to avoid being shut out.

This is the conference to attend for Southern Ohio specialty crop growers. Fifteen different class options on fruit and vegetable production are available at this conference. Your registration includes a continental breakfast and a buffet lunch. All attendees will receive a USB memory stick with copies of every available presentation to take home, so even if you don’t attend the session, you’ll still get the information. Private pesticide and fertilizer re-certification credits will be available for categories 3, 5, core and fertilizer. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from industry experts and share information with other growers.

The Oasis Conference Center is conveniently located about 5 miles off of I-275 on the northeast corner of Cincinnati.
For more information about the schedule and to register for the conference, go to the conference website.

Registration brochure. 

 

Managing Spotted Wing Drosophila – Exclusion Netting Video

Medina County grower talking about his exclusion netting project to manage SWD.

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) has become a well-known pest for any grower producing small fruit such as raspberry, blueberry,

blackberry, strawberry, grapes or peaches. Ohio State University Extension educators and Department of Entomology faculty have been conducting workshops around the state since 2012 to help growers identify and manage this pest.

Over the past few years a new management technique has emerged that involves no pesticides but may only be economically feasible for smaller or organic growers.  The use of insect proof exclusion netting such as ExcludeNet (80g) or similar netting has been tried in several states (MI, NY, MN, VT, MO) with generally good results (http://u.osu.edu/pestmanagement/pests/swd/).

One of the potential downfalls of wide adoption is the cost of the netting may run as high as $840 for a roll measuring 13’ x 328’ (this includes shipping). A rough estimate for the netting alone would place the cost per acre close to $8,600, not including the cost of the supporting structure. Based on the footprint of the area to protect, the netting may need to be cut and stitched by a tarp shop or similar business to create the appropriate size, which would be an additional cost. Another issue to consider would be pollination and when to put the netting in place in relation to flowering and the use or addition of pollinators.

If you have been considering using netting to reduce SWD infestation on a particular crop, take a look at this video for some great information on how to get started including some of the other advantages and disadvantages.

The SWD netting video is posted to the OSU IPM YouTube channel along with other videos on how to monitor and manage this pest. https://youtu.be/_eAODdcYnXk

Additional information about SWD management can be found here http://u.osu.edu/pestmanagement/pests/swd/

Celeste Welty (Entomology) and Ashley Kulhanek (Extension) were also involved in this project.

Inversion and Drift Mitigation Workshop – Dec. 14

Recognizing weather conditions that could cause inversions is important when using certain herbicides in corn and soybeans. On Dec. 14, join a discussion about recognizing inversions as well as ways to improve communication between farmers growing sensitive crops and pesticide applicators.

Inversion and Drift Management Workshop, presented by the Ohio State University Extension IPM program will be conducted on Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. Farmers and pesticide applicators can attend the workshop in-person at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 or attend virtually through the online webinar link. More information about the workshop is available at http://go.osu.edu/IPM

Leading off the workshop will be Aaron Wilson, weather specialist and atmospheric scientist with OSU Extension and the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. Wilson will focus on weather conditions that cause inversions and provide useful measures and observation to help determine if inversions are happening. Wilson will also look at average growing years and the days available for herbicide applications that avoided inversion or wind concerns.

Jared Shaffer, plant health inspector with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, will speak next focusing on FieldWatch, the sensitive crop registry available to Ohio farmers and used throughout the Midwest. Shaffer will showcase tools available for farmers with sensitive crops to communicate about the location of their crops. Shaffer will also detail techniques available to applicators to find real-time information about crops in the area and how this information can be used in their spray planning.

There is no cost for the workshop; however, pre-registration is required at attend in-person at the Reynoldsburg location and is limited to the first 75 registrants. Registration is online at go.osu.edu/IPM. Commercial and private applicator recertification credits for core will be available only at the Reynoldsburg location. No recertification credits are available for online participants.

For further information about the workshop, contact Cindy Folck at 614-247-7898 or folck.2@osu.edu. The workshop is sponsored by the OSU Extension IPM Program and the USDA NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management Competitive Grants Program (Grant number: 2017-70006-27174).

Farmer Focus – Vest Berries

Rick Vest, of Vest Berries farm, had a record sweet potato crop this year. The two largest specimens weigh 13 and 14 pounds each! They are Beauregard traditional orange variety; and the other big ones are Murasaki white sweet potatoes. His total sweet potato crop yield for this year was 10,000 pounds.

They were planted on May 21 during very good weather. No fertilizer or chemicals were used on the sweet potatoes. According to Rick, this was an exceptional year for sweet potatoes. They got the rain and sunshine needed at just the right times. Rick said he hilled this year’s crop extra high – up, fifteen inches. Due to the rainy hurricane season, namely Hurricane Florence, they were dug three weeks later than usual.

Sweet potatoes of all sizes are available at the Athens Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9am-noon. He also sells wholesale to local restaurants, and takes orders to sell to individuals.

Since the State does not keep official vegetable records, this is an unofficial record sweet potato.

 

Growing from a young age

Rick began his passion for farming as a young child, as he worked on a truck farm near his hometown of Harrison, Ohio. He moved to Nelsonville to attend Hocking College after high school and never left Athens County. Rick met his future wife, Terry, at Hocking College, and soon began a life together. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. The couple just celebrated 40 years of marriage.

Rick and Terry have owned and operated Vest Berries since the early 1980’s. While maintaining the farm, Rick also had a career as a graphic designer at McBee from 1978-2006. After McBee relocated, Rick rekindled his love for farming. He has been farming full-time ever since. During the spring/summer months, they operate a pick-your-own strawberry farm in Stewart, Ohio.

Over the years, Vest Berries has grown to include much more than just their staple crop, strawberries. On any given Saturday, Rick can be seen at the Athens Farmers Market selling carrots, beets, potatoes, lettuce, kale, squash, and berries, among other fruits and vegetables. He is an active member in the local farming community, serving as a member on the Athens Farmers Market executive committee, and previously on CFI’s Board of Directors.

For those who know Rick, they know what a lively spirit he has. He enjoys talking to people and socializing with fellow farmers at the market. He is a hard-working family-man who would give the shirt off his back for anyone in need. His family is proud of his accomplishments in the community and appreciate the recognition of his gigantic sweet potatoes.

Giving Back

Vest Berries put in a call to the Community Food Initiative’s Harvest Hotline for help harvesting all of this year’s sweet potato crop. Together, they yielded approximately 700 pounds of Yukon potatoes and 1,100 pounds of sweet potatoes that may have gone to waste, but instead has gone to feed people facing food insecurity.

 

Proper winterizing and storing your sprayer now help you mitigate costly problems in the spring – Erdal Ozkan

It is very likely that you will not be using your sprayer again until next spring. If you want to avoid potential problems and save yourself from frustration and major headaches next spring, you will be wise to give your sprayer a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care) this time of the year. Yes, this may still be a busy time of the year for some of you. However, do not forget about winterizing your sprayer. Do not delay it too long, if you already have not done so. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing.  Here are some important things you need to do with your sprayer this time of the year.

Rinsing

It is very likely that you did the right thing when you used the sprayer the last time: you rinsed the whole system (tank, hoses, filters, nozzles) thoroughly. If you did not, make sure this is done before storing the sprayer. A sprayer that is not rinsed thoroughly after each use, and especially after the spraying season is over, may lead to cross-contamination of products applied next spring. Another problem that may result from lack of, or insufficient rinsing of the complete sprayer parts is clogged nozzles. Once the nozzles are clogged, and they remain in that condition a long time, it is extremely difficult to bring them back to their normal operating conditions you expect from a comparable clean nozzle. Leaving chemical residues in nozzles will usually lead to changes in their flow rates, as well as in their spray patterns resulting in uneven distribution of chemicals on the target.

Photo: Sprayer cleaning_tops-life.org

 

Depending on the tank, proper rinsing of the interior of the tank could be easy or challenging. It will be very easy if the tank is relatively new and is equipped with special rinsing nozzles and mechanism inside the tank. If this is not the case, manual rinsing of the tank interior is more difficult, and poses some safety problems such as inhaling fumes of leftover chemicals during the rinsing process. To avoid these problems, either replace the tank with one that has the interior rinse nozzles, or install an interior tank rinse system in your existing tank.

For effective rinsing of all the sprayer components, circulate clean water through the whole sprayer parts several minutes first with the nozzles off, then flush out the rinsate through the nozzles. Rinsing should be done preferably in the field, or on a concrete chemical mixing/loading pad with a sump to recover rinse water. Regardless, dispose of the rinsate according to what is recommended on the labels of the pesticides you have used. Always check the label for specific instructions. However, most labels recommend following procedure: If rinsing is done on a concrete rinse pad with a sump, put the rinsate collected in the sump back in the tank, dilute it with water and spray it in the field where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby. If the rinsing is done in the field, make sure you are not flushing out the rinsate in the system in one area. It is best to further dilute the rinse water in the tank and, spray it on the field on areas where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby.

Cleaning

Rinsing the system with water as explained above may not be sufficient to get rid of chemicals from the sprayer. This may lead to cross-contamination problems. Residues of some pesticides left in the sprayer may cause serious problems when a spray mixture containing these residual materials is applied on a crop that is highly sensitive to that pesticide. To avoid such problems, it is best to clean and rinse the entire spraying system with some sort of a cleaning solution. Usually a mixture of 1 to 100 of household ammonia to water should be adequate for cleaning the tank, but you may first need to clean the tank with a mixture containing detergent if tank was not cleaned weeks ago, right after the last spraying job was done. Some chemicals require specific rinsing solution. There is an excellent Extension Publication from University of Missouri which lists many commonly used pesticides and the specific rinsing solutions required for them. It is available online. Check it out (http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G4852). However, you should always check the product label to find out the most recent recommendations on cleaning agents.

Cleaning the outside of the sprayer components deserves equal attention. Remove compacted deposits with a bristle brush. Then flush the exterior parts of the equipment with water. A high pressure washer can be used, if available. Wash the exterior of the equipment either in the field away from ditches and water sources nearby, or a specially constructed concrete rinse pad with a sump. Again, the rinsate should be disposed of according to the label recommendations. As I mentioned earlier, most labels recommends the same practice: put the rinsate collected in the sump back in the tank, dilute it with water and spray it in the field where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby.

Photo: K. Horniblow
Make sure the nozzles and filters are cleaned before storing the sprayer.

Winterizing

Check one more time to make sure there is no liquid left inside any of the sprayer parts to prevent freezing. Especially the pump, the heart of a sprayer, requires special care. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing.  After draining the water, add a small amount of oil, and rotate the pump four or five revolutions by hand to completely coat interior surfaces.  Make sure that this oil is not going to damage rubber rollers in a roller pump or rubber parts in a diaphragm pump. Check the operator’s manual. If oil is not recommended, pouring one tablespoon of radiator rust inhibitor in the inlet and outlet part of the pump also keeps the pump from corroding. Another alternative is to put automotive antifreeze with rust inhibitor in the pump and other sprayer parts. This also protects against corrosion and prevents freezing in case all the water is not drained. To prevent corrosion, remove nozzle tips and strainers, dry them, and store them in a dry place. Putting them in a can of light oil such as diesel fuel or kerosene is another option.

Storage

Find ways to protect your sprayer against the harmful effects of snow, rain, sun, and strong winds. Moisture in the air, whether from snow, rain, or soil, rusts metal parts of unpro­tected equipment of any kind. This is especially true for a sprayer, because there are all kinds of hoses, rubber gaskets and plastic pieces all around a sprayer. Yes, the sun usually helps reduce moisture in the air, but it also causes damage. Ultraviolet light softens and weakens rubber materials such as hoses and tires and degrades some tank materials. The best protection from the environment is to store sprayers in a dry building. Storing sprayers in a building also gives you a chance to work on them any time during the off-season regardless of weather. If storing in a building is not possible, try covering the sprayer with some material that will protect it from sun, rain and snow. When storing trailer-type sprayers, put blocks under the frame or axle and reduce tire pressure during storage.

Finally, check the condition of all sprayer parts one more time before leaving the sprayer behind. Identify the parts that may need to be worked on, or replaced. Check the tank, and hoses to make sure there are no signs of cracks starting to take place. Check the painted parts of the sprayer for scratched spots. Touch up these areas with paint to eliminate corrosion. By the way, don’t forget to cover openings so that birds don’t make a nest somewhere in your sprayer, and insects, dirt, and other foreign material cannot get into the system.

Erdal Ozkan, Professor and Extension Agricultural engineer, can be reached at 614-292-3006, or ozkan.2@osu.edu.

 

 

Fall Vegetable Planting Update October 2018

For the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer, there is still time to put seeds and plants in the ground.   There are many choices available in vegetables and cover crops to take advantage of the cooler fall harvest weather and utilize the abundant rainfall and still optimal soil temperature, especially if the grower has the ability to utilize season extension.

As of 10/8/18, soil temperatures as recorded in central Ohio on the OARDC website temperatures were still above 70 degrees.

CLICK THIS LINK to see soil temperatures in your part of the state.

Vegetables:

Those who followed the Fall Vegetable Planting timeline are harvesting basil, lettuce, radishes, green beans and summer squash now.  Monitor for frost closely and be ready to use season extension to protect tender crops.

There are still some choices to direct seed,  these will need season extension to allow harvest into November and later:

  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Asian Greens
  • Carrots
  • Radishes

This arugula was started from seed under grow lights. It will be transplanted outdoors in a week. This was done to allow more time for flea beetles, a major pest of arugula, to finish its life cycle.

 

I still have several lettuce plugs from an earlier project that will be transplanted outside under row cover in a week.

There are several pests to continue to monitor for this time of year.  Slugs will be numerous if organic matter levels are moderate to high.  Deer are a serious threat due to decreasing amounts of fresh forage.  They will consume nearly all fall planted vegetables without protection. The  Cabbage White butterfly can persist in the environment deep into fall and their larvae can eat large amounts of foliage.

Spinach that will be grown overwinter in low tunnels under row cover should be planted withing the next couple weeks from direct seed.

Check out this VegNet Newsletter post for a documentation of that process.

 

Cover Crops:

It is important to keep something growing all year long and avoid bare ground.  This is especially critical over winter to avoid loss of fertility and organic matter from erosion.  There are still several choices available including grasses such as rye or oats, legumes such as crimson clover or vetch and brassicas such as forage radishes.  The choice of what to plant depends on what the goal is, what crop will follow and the grower’s ability to manage the crop in the spring.

This past weekend I prepared the area that had previously grown cucurbits into a seedbed.

 

I had used woven plastic landscape fabric as mulch and weed suppression for my winter squash and pumpkins.  This was my first foray into using this method and I was impressed by how effective it was.  The only drawback was that after removal the ground had reverted to its base state as a heavy clay soil.  I think it is imperative that I cover crop following plasticulture to improve soil health going forward.

Note the bindweed seedling that persisted under black heavy weight landscape fabric. The fabric was placed in early June and temperatures were in the 90’s multiple times this season.

There is still time to plant cover crops.  I planted a mix of winter rye, hairy vetch, crimson clover and forage radish.   This mix will require intensive management in spring, but will persist over winter and provide multiple soil health benefits.

 

Biodegradable Mulch: Your Next Production Tool?

Vegetable extension-research personnel from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Iowa met on October 5, 2018 to discuss ongoing work and to plan follow-up activities … all toward helping improve short- and long-term farm success. Biodegradable mulch (BDM) was among the most talked-about topics. Dr. Annette Wszelaki of the Univ. of Tennessee led the BDM discussion and she provides comments for VegNet readers below. Also, note that Dr. Wszelaki will expand on these comments and summarize the large amount of research that her and other teams in various states have been doing with BDM, including on commercial farms, at the OPGMA-led Ohio Produce Network Meeting in Dublin, OH in January-2019. That presentation will be an excellent opportunity to gain a thorough update on BDM and its possible place in your toolbox.

Comments and Photos by Dr. Annette Wszelaki, Professor and Commercial Vegetable Extension Specialist, Univ. of Tennessee

Plastic mulches provide many advantages for vegetable production, such as weed and disease management, earliness of harvest, increased yield and quality, and moisture retention. However, plastic mulch use is not without disadvantages, including the cost, labor and environmental issues associated with plastic mulch disposal. Biodegradable mulches (BDMs) offer a potential alternative if they can provide similar advantages to plastic mulch without the disadvantages.

BDMs can look similar to traditional polyethylene mulch (i.e., stretchy and black or white-on-black) or in the form of paper (brown or black, sometimes with creping to give it stretch). They can be laid with a standard mulch layer. BDM’s are designed to cover the soil during the production season, and then begin to degrade as harvest nears. At the end of the season, BDM’s can be tilled directly into the soil. There they will degrade into carbon dioxide, water, and the bacteria and fungi that eat them. The degradation rate varies depending on environmental conditions, but by spring, most remnants will have disappeared.

At the University of Tennessee, we have been working with BDM’s on a variety of crops (tomatoes, pumpkins, and peppers) for 10 years. We have found comparable yields and quality to traditional plastic mulch with these crops, but not all biodegradable mulches and crop responses are equal!

Want to learn more about biodegradable mulches? Come to the session Could biodegradable mulches replace plastic in your production system? at the 2019 Ohio Produce Network in Dublin, January 16-17, 2019. In the meantime, please contact Annette Wszelaki (annettew@utk.edu or 865.974.8332) or visit www.biodegradablemulch.org for more information. Many thanks to Jenny Moore, Jeff Martin, the East TN Ag Research and Education Center Farm Crew, and many students along the way for their contributions to this project.

Figure 1. Creped paper biodegradable mulch just after field laying.

Figure 2. Stockpile of polyethylene plastic mulch on a Tennessee tomato farm.

Figure 3. Biodegradable plastic mulch in the newly planted pepper field.

Spotted Wing Drosophila: Fall Update – Jim Jasinski, Celeste Welty

Several Extension educators, specialists, and growers have been diligently trapping for spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) in berry crops at multiple sites across 20 counties in Ohio since June. In general, SWD populations at most locations have peaked at this point, but they can remain abundant for several weeks longer. Even after the first frost, some SWD adults are usually active in the field.

At some monitoring sites where growers have been spraying through the season, we are still able to trap SWD adults. Adults are also being trapped at sites where fruit is no longer being produced. While this is concerning to growers with fruit still in the field, there doesn’t seem to be any significant fruit infestation or damage, which is good news.  If you haven’t kept up on your spray schedule and still have fruit out in the field, it is strongly recommended that you check your fruit with a simple salt water test to see if you have any infested fruit. Here are the directions from an OSU factsheet (https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/1/8311/files/2017/04/SWD-salttesthandout-updated-pnd335.pdf) or via an OSU IPM YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtMXHxqcSVs).

Our closing message is that if there is still fruit on your farm worth harvesting, keep up on your spray schedule in order to protect those fruit from infestation.  If you deem it necessary to spray for another few weeks, it is important to keep an eye on the PHI of products used.  Most PHI’s range between 0-7 days, but some products labeled for grapes have a 30-day PHI. Here is the complete list of insecticide PHIs and maximum number of applications allowed: https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/1/8311/files/2017/02/SWD_insecticideOptions2018-1ppr7m8.pdf.

Spotted wing drosophila baited Scentry trap.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Exclusion Netting Workshop- Jim Jasinski, Celeste Welty & Ashley Kulhanek

While most growers manage spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) with insecticide sprays once this pest is detected on their farm, there are other non-chemical ways to successfully grow cane berry and blueberry fruit using finely woven insect proof netting.

A workshop will be held on Oct. 13th to demonstrate the basics of designing and building an enclosure around susceptible small fruit plants and then covering it with insect proof netting to prevent SWD adults from attacking the fruit. The workshop will be co-taught by Jay Cooper (grower), Celeste Welty (Extension entomologist), Jim Jasinski and Ashley Kulhanek (Extension educators).

Topics covered in the workshop will include a review of other exclusion netting projects, plant and pollination considerations, a tour of an existing exclusion netting structure on-site, and then a hands-on session to experience the process of building a second exclusion netting structure.

The workshop will run from 10am to 2pm on Oct. 13th, located at 7010 Chatham Road, Medina, OH, 44256. Registration is $20 per person and includes handouts and lunch, but must be completed by Oct. 8th. For more information on the workshop and registration details, visit https://medina.osu.edu/events/managing-spotted-wing-drosophila.

Please note this workshop is limited to only 15 participants. For additional questions about registration contact Ashley Kulhanek (kulhanek.5@osu.edu) or for questions about the program contact Jim Jasinski (jasinski.4@osu.edu).

Designing and building insect exclusion structures and netting like this will be the focus of the workshop.

Downy Mildew Confirmed in Pumpkins in Clark County, OH

A severe outbreak of downy mildew was confirmed on pumpkins from a field trial at OSU-OARDC Western Agricultural Research Station. This is the first confirmed outbreak of downy mildew on pumpkins in Ohio, although it is likely elsewhere in central Ohio, if not even more widespread.  Symptoms on pumpkins are somewhat different than on cucumber – the lesions on pumpkins are smaller than on cucumber, although both are angular, look watersoaked on the underside of leaves (upper right photo) and yellow on the upperside  (upper left photo) initially. On pumpkins the older lesions appear bronze-brown in color (lower right photo). Pumpkin leaves can be completely destroyed if not treated with effective fungicides.

With cooler temperatures expected for the rest of this week, as well as rain showers and storms, downy mildew risk is high for most of Ohio and all cucurbits should be protected with fungicides that are effective against downy mildew. Although the season is winding down, if pumpkins still need some time to reach maturity, the foliage should be protected. Information on fungicides can be found in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2018; in addition, fungicide efficacy rankings from our 2017 bioassays can be found here. Control of downy mildew requires preventative fungicide application – inadequate control is often observed when fungicides are applied after infection, even if symptoms have not started to appear.