Produce Safety Alliance Offers Training for Food Safety Modernization Act

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety is announcing a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training on February 20, 2018 to be held at the OSU Extension and Research Station (aka Vegetable Crops Branch or North Central Ag Research Station) office building meeting room, 1165 County Road 43, Fremont, OH 43420. The training will be one day, 8:30AM-4:30PM (with an hour lunch, not provided).

The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) is a collaboration between Cornell University, FDA, and USDA to prepare fresh produce growers to meet the regulatory requirements included in the United States Food and Drug Administration’s proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

There is no cost for the training or training manual. Class size is limited to 30 and first priority will be given to growers that must comply with the Produce Safety Rules (§ 112 Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption). Regulation exempt growers are also welcome to apply for the training. The regulations are being phased in from 2015 to 2024.

The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) which states ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’

Here are the key points to know about the training:

ODA Announcement Letter

Grower Training Registration Form

FSMA Produce Safety Exemption Flow Chart

Overview of Food Safety Modernization Act

 

For more information, contact 

Matt Fout (614-600-4272)

Produce Safety Manager, Division of Food Safety

Ohio Department of Agriculture

VegNet Blog Feedback

Hi everyone,

As you know the OSU vegetable and fruit newsletter (VegNet) went to a blog format this year. This is similar to our traditional newsletter we’ve had over the years except that articles were available to read online at this site as soon as they were posted by the author.

We are interested to know if changing to the blog format was seen as an overall benefit to the readership, and if there is any specific feedback we need to receive to make this delivery better in 2018.

If you have 5 minutes or so, please consider giving us some feedback on our blog. No personal identification information will be requested or collected.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vegblog17

Thank you,

The OSU Veg & Fruit Team

 

Step Aside Pumpkin, Winter Squash is now All the Rage

Now that the Halloween rush is over, all those hard hours spent in pursuit of the perfect pumpkin to carve and seeds to roast, is in the history books for one more year. All of your hard work is now destined for the compost pile before it melts down on your porch, to be worked on by squirrels, chipmunks and whole raft of fungal organisms. While Halloween is over, the need for continued Fall decorations is still in full swing.

Winter squash fruit from trial at South Charleston.

 

 

Recognizing that there is more to Fall than pumpkins, the Integrated Pest Management Program planted a demonstration trial at the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston to highlight the advantages of winter squash, perhaps the perfect Fall edible ornamental. Besides looking just as bizarre as some of the modern hybrid pumpkins and needing to carving to further enhance them, these multicolored fruits are highly edible and packed with vitamins, flavonoids, carotenoids, and loaded with fiber. For any pumpkin grower who hasn’t tried to grow these yet to spice up their market stand, they are just as fun as pumpkins and require exactly the same horticultural care.

There were 11 entries from two companies in the trial, with emphasis placed on winter squash that looked decorative, were rated as highly edible, and had storage life from 2-6 months. Disease resistance isn’t usually an option for most of these hybrids, but given that they are squash and not pumpkin, seem to be less prone to most diseases except for bacterial wilt. This trial was one of the highlights for growers who attended the annual pumpkin field day but due to some bad weather and mouse damage, we had to replant this trial which delayed mature fruit set in about half of the hybrids. So here is a look at the mature fruit and a few back of the envelope calculations as to number per acre and yield.

While specific trial data was collected, because it was not replicated or randomized, all calculations for yield and fruit size should be seen as estimates taken from one site, under a specific set of weather conditions. When making decisions about hybrid selection for 2018, this information should be combined with other trial data from around the state or region. This trial was not irrigated, and received above average rain fall for this location based on historical records.

To obtain average fruit weight, 3-5 fruit of each hybrid per plot representing the largest, smallest, and average sized fruit were chosen and weighed. All other marketable fruit in plot were counted and used in yield calculation, which was based on a 15’ row spacing, 35’ length of row, with plant spacing 3-4’ apart.

Rough estimates for yield and number of fruit per acre based on data collected at South Charleston.

If you have additional questions about the trial, contact me directly at jasinski.4@osu.edu.

Avoid Costly Problems in the Spring by Proper Winterizing of Your Sprayer Now – Dr. Erdal Ozkan

 

Clean that sprayer – credit Univ. of Nebraska.

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, you will be wise to give your sprayer a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care) these days. Yes this is still a busy time of the year for some of you, but don’t delay winterizing your sprayer 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 serious problems caused by cross-contamination of different products applied for different crops. Another problem that may result from lack of, or insufficient rinsing of the complete sprayer parts is clogged nozzles. Once the nozzles are clogged, it is extremely difficult to bring them back to their operating conditions when they were clean. 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.

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.

Don’t forget to clean your sprayer – credit Tops-Life.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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, provide some sort of cover. 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.

Fall Harvested Vegetables

I have long been a big proponent of using the full gardening season to grow and produce fruits, vegetables and herbs in your garden.  I am not even talking about using season extension methods like row cover or high tunnels, but instead simply taking advantage of our fairly long growing season.

I posted a fall growing timeline on Talking Hocking back on July 8th.  You read that right,  summer is when you plan your planting.  You look at the frost and freeze dates and count backward.  I listed the best varieties to plant in the post.  I planted in early August the next round of zucchini and green beans.

The best thing about fall is that many of the problems you face in spring and summer go away.  The temperatures moderate,  the rain comes back and the bad bugs go away.  There are a ton of pollinators just looking for something with a flower.  You have ideal growing conditions and in many cases will get a larger harvest than the summer one.

Here is what a squash blossom looks like when it is not full of cucumber beetles

The green bean patch looks ragged but that was after a fourth picking of beans.  Still have at least one or two left before they are done for the season, but that still means beans until Halloween.

I thick planted carrot seed from a color mix.  As they mature I will pick out the largest carrots which will give room for the smaller carrots to grow larger.  They are cold tolerant and so the carrot patch will last until Thanksgiving.   They look and taste great too.

The weather prediction for fall frost and freeze noted a later arrival than most years.  That is helping for sure.  Not every year is like this one, but seed is cheap.  I planted 3 zucchini plants, 3 squash plants and a 9″ row of beans.  Cost was less than $2, totally worth it to take the chance and most of the plants still look great.

The ten day forecast for Logan has a small chance of a frost next week Monday night.  I am hoping the micro climate of my office, the street and the parking lot keeps it above 40 degrees.  If so I bet I will be eating these little beauties next week.

Next year make sure to take advantage of fall weather and make a plan to extend your harvest.  Fall is a great time for growing and you will be surprised by the amount you can sneak in before the frost and freeze dates.

Pumpkin Hybrid Review – 2017

In an effort to help growers select and grow the best pumpkins for their operation, the Integrated Pest Management Program planted a demonstration trial at the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston to highlight foliage, handle, fruit size, and fruit quality. There were 20 entries from four companies in the trial, with emphasis placed on hybrids that offered some type of disease resistance, primarily to powdery mildew. The intent of the trial was primarily for growers who attended the pumpkin field day to observe differences in plant and fruit quality in person, in order to generate a visceral opinion and appreciation for the hybrid.

The trial was originally direct seeded June 1st, but due to mice damage and flooding rains, was replanted with transplants June 16th. Approximately 75 pounds of nitrogen was side dressed as liquid 28-0-0 on June 9th, with no P or K applied per soil test recommendations. Strategy and Dual were used pre-emerge to control weeds, with shielded applications of glyphosate followed by hoeing and hand weeding throughout the season. Once powdery mildew was detected in these plots on July 24th, they were sprayed on a 7-10 day schedule with a standard fungicide program that alternated several modes of action, per OSU recommendations.

While specific trial data was collected, because it was not replicated or randomized, all calculations for yield and fruit size should be seen as estimates taken from one site, under a specific set of weather conditions. When making decisions about hybrid selection for 2018, this information should be combined with other trial data from around the state or region. This trial was not irrigated, and received above average rain fall for this location based on historical records.

Group shot of pumpkin hybrid trial, large fruit in top row, medium sized fruit in middle row, and small fruit in bottom row.

To obtain average fruit weight, 3-5 fruit of each hybrid per plot representing the largest, smallest, and average sized fruit were chosen and weighed. All other marketable fruit in plot were counted and used in yield calculation, which was based on a 15’ row spacing, 35’ length of row, with plant spacing 3-4’ apart.

If you have additional questions about the trial, contact me directly at jasinski.4@osu.edu.

Yield data from pumpkin hybrid trial, see above for yield estimates. *indicates reduced stand in trial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seed companies and other pumpkin hybrid attributes from 2017 trial. PMR = powdery mildew resistant, PMT = powdery mildew tolerant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotted Wing Drosophila – End of Year Round Up – Jim Jasinski & Celeste Welty

Autumn is slowly closing the curtain on most fruit and vegetable production and their associated insect pests, which brings a collective sigh of relief from growers across the state. However, the spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) is one of those pests that is really poised for population explosion, especially in abandoned small fruit plantings that are no longer being treated with an insecticide, high tunnel strawberry crops, and even vineyards that have not been picked yet. For growers needing to treat in high tunnels, remember that Assail, Diazinon, Exirel, Radiant, and Delegate cannot be used in these structures.

Although there are only a handful of county sites still monitoring for SWD around the state (Franklin, Greene, Clark, Clinton, Warren, and Geauga), anywhere there is a baited trap hanging in a field, adult SWD flies are being caught. For example, in abandoned blackberry, red raspberry, and vineyard plantings that still have some fruit, individual trap catches this week ranged from 2 to 590 flies! So, despite it being the end of the season for most pests, if growers are still trying to harvest fruit to take to market, it is recommended that you keep up your spray schedule until harvest is complete.

Even after a hard frost, with temperatures rebounding into the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s F during the day, some of these flies can escape being frozen to death and remain actively seek fruit to oviposit and damage.

Looking toward next year, research has shown that proper pruning to open up the canopy will allow better control of SWD when applying insecticides. Aggressive pruning will also allow for increased SWD control but at the expense of yield due to reduced canopy.

Pumpkin Disease Diagnosis Field Night at Piketon Oct 5

Coming up in just 2 weeks…

We will be hosting a Pumpkin Disease Diagnosis Field Night on Thursday, October 5, 2017. This field night will be focused on various types of diseases and will be held partially in our pumpkin research field.

If you are a pumpkin grower, or thinking of growing pumpkins, then you will want to attend this educational field night.

The workshop will include the following:
*Pumpkin crop management
* 30 Pumpkin cultivar evaluations
* Disease control and management
* Disease screening for powdery mildew, downy mildew, anthracnose and white speck
* Walking tour of our pumpkin field trial
* And more!

Registration is required, and the deadline to register is October 4, 2017.
Location:
OSU South Centers
1864 Shyville Rd.
Piketon, OH
Cost: $10.00
(includes a light meal)
To Register:
Contact Charissa Gardner
at gardner.1148@osu.edu or
at 740.289.2071 ext. 132

 

 

Surge in stink bug activity

Since the current heat wave began last weekend, we have been seeing a large increase in stink bug sightings in central Ohio. Stink bugs have not been commonly found for most of the summer even in known hot spots like Columbus. We are now finding stink bugs in late plantings of sweet corn (Figure 1), where their feeding results in shriveled kernels (Figure 2). We are also seeing them in bell peppers and apples (Figure 3) and soybeans , as well as around buildings. Most are the brown marmorated stink bug, but we are also finding some of our native green stink bug and brown stink bug. In soybeans last week, the majority of stink bugs that we found were large nymphs (Figure 4), with only a few adults, but in the past few days we are starting to see fewer nymphs and more adults. It is the new adults that are quite mobile that will be seeking protected places to overwinter. They are particularly active when temperatures are above 80 degrees, as they have been for the past week. Our trapping network has shown that stink bug activity is highly variable around Ohio; there are a few hot spots such as Columbus, but some locations have had no detection of stink bugs, and many locations with only light detection. Reports on catch of brown marmorated stink bug in our trap network can be found with this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LtyYFH06PRhb2OOij97pMULqDuL9zOnDRuNinI3dxzk/edit?usp=sharing . Growers with susceptible late-season crops should scout their fields to determine whether stink bugs are present.

Figure 1. Brown marmorated stink bug, nymphs and adults, on sweet corn ear.

Figure 2. Shriveled kernels of sweet corn caused by stink bug feeding through the husks.

 

Figure 3. Adult of brown marmorated stink bug on apple.

 

Figure 4. Nymph (immature stage) of brown marmorated stink bug on soybean.

 

Experiments in Vertical Gardening

This video details the progression of vertical gardening experiments at The Children’s Educational Garden at the Hocking County fairgrounds from May through August.  Its lighthearted nature reflects its target audience but the technique is applicable for all ages of gardener.