Spotted-wing Drosophila are slowly becoming active

Since 2012, Extension educators and a handful of state specialist have set out traps to monitor when spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) begin to migrate from their overwintering locations into cultivated small fruit fields where growers have to actively manage them. This year, only two counties, Franklin and Greene, have traps out early to monitor for this pest ahead of the dozen or so county network sites that will become active in mid-June.  Franklin county has caught 26 SWD in 2019 but only back in January, nothing more recent. The Greene county site caught two SWD last week (May 28), one in a wood line and one at the edge of a blueberry field but none this week. Recall that the threshold is one fly to begin management when the fruit begins to ripen or is ripe. So, the message is the adults are slowly becoming active, and as the weather warms and fruit begins to ripen, be on the lookout for SWD.

For tips on how to identify, monitor, and manage SWD, check out OSU’s resources at http://u.osu.edu/pestmanagement/pests/swd/and the SWD section of OSU’s IPM YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzcWaLH3mx7HUKh4OF7bYPA

Research newly Completed and Started

High tunnel studies are affected by weather. However, typically, high tunnel work continues when some operations in open field production are halted. Like growers, the Vegetable Production Systems Lab (VPSL is transitioning to full “summer mode” as conditions allow. See the six panels below for snapshots of a portion of our recent and near-term activities and don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or if we can assist another way.

Matt Kleinhenz (kleinhenz.1@osu.edu; 330.263.3810)

Five-year soil balancing project results

Another wet spring, and many farmers postpone field work awaiting drier conditions. Could improved drainage be obtained through the application of common gypsum? This is one of the claims made by many consultants and farmers who use a practice called soil balancing.

Ohio State’s five-year study on soil balancing has been mentioned in previous VegNet articles. The project involved multiple long-term field tests, as well as interviews and surveys to better document practices and beliefs surrounding soil balancing. Despite a lack of past research proving soil balancing’s effectiveness, we found that the practice is used heavily by organic and conventional farmers in our region to reduce weeds, and improve soil quality, crop quality, and yields. While we were unable to demonstrate improvements in crop yields or quality, we did see limited effects on soil quality and weed populations in some of our test sites during the final year of the study.

Defining Soil Balancing

Traditionally, soil balancing strives to keep base cations calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K) at a recommended ideal ratio (typically 64:10:5). Although long practiced by farmers, soil balancing is not recommended by most researchers and Extension educators. Our study indicated around half of organic corn growers in the Midwest used a soil balancing approach, but more than 75% of the Extension researchers we surveyed felt soil balancing had no scientific merit.

It’s true that most soil balancing studies done in the past 20 years have reported the practice had no effect on production. However, our research reveals several potential gaps in these studies. Consultants and farmers we interviewed commonly reported that soil balancing improved overall soil quality and structure, which led to improved drainage and reduced weeds. While farmers also reported improved yields and profit, it was generally not the first improvement they mentioned. Interviewees noted that these improvement often happened gradually over several years. In short, past research may not have captured long range positive effects. Most recent studies were short-term, lasting one or two years; were conducted in a greenhouse rather than field; focused only on improved yields; and were conducted on limited types of soils. (Chaganti and Culman, 2017)

We also found that many farmers pair cation balancing with other soil improvement practices such as cover crops and biostimulants. The goal, according to the “balancers” we spoke with, is to improve the physical and biological properties of the soil.

Field Testing

Using both on-farm and Ohio State research station sites, we collected data on soils, weeds, and crops, while applying a variety of soil amendments to change Ca:Mg ratios. We measured crop quality using Brix, color, size, and other characteristics specific to individual crops. Vegetable crops included tomato, butternut squash, cabbage, popcorn, and edamame. Agronomic field crop trials were conducted as well.

We were unable to document any treatment effect on yield or crop quality. In the last year of testing, we did see effects on weed populations (either lower weed populations overall or lower populations of foxtail on “balanced” soils) and on soil root resistance (indicating improved soil structure with higher Ca saturation). These effects appeared only on some fields, but they do support our hypothesis that the positive results of soil balancing are related to improvements in soil structure and drainage. We hope to continue monitoring these fields to see if results become more consistent over time.

Recommendations

For now, we are unable to officially encourage or discourage the use of soil balancing. The following recommendations are based on field trials and on the experience and advice of our stakeholder advisory committee.

  • Soil test data is critical to making informed decisions about what to apply. Some Ohio soils may already have large concentrations of Ca due to Ohio’s limestone bedrock.
  • Watch your pH if using lime. Gypsum is a better choice to change the Ca level without affecting pH and it also provides sulfur.
  • Soils with a CEC below 10 may develop deficiencies. In soils with a low holding capacity for cations, excess Ca can lead quickly to deficiency levels of K, and possibly Mg. We did work in fields with Ca saturations well above 80% and observed K deficiencies in the soil and vegetables in these situations.
  • Consider economic factors. The higher your CEC, the more time and amendments will be needed to increase the Ca:Mg ratio. At some point—depending on the amount of change needed and the value of your crop—using soil balancing becomes an expensive practice.
  • Any time you try a new practice, monitor the results. If possible, try using the new practice on only part of your farm and compare it with a similarly managed area to see if the new technique is making a positive contribution over time.

With widespread use of the practice, soil balancing is a pertinent area for research and cooperative education. Our team hopes to continue studying the practices and long-term effects of soil balancing on a larger variety of soils. Drawing on experiment data and the experience of farmers and consultants, we will work toward guidelines and toward a mutual understanding of soil balancing.

Read more about this study at the Soil Balancing Project Site or the Vegetable Production Systems Laboratory. This work is supported by Organic Agriculture Research & Extension funding grant no. 2014-51300-22331/project accession no. 1003905 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

 

OFFER Website Focuses on Organic Production

Articles and resources related to organic production are available on the OFFER Organic Food & Farming site, offer.osu.edu.

Recent articles:
Two-Day Ohio Compost Operator Education Course
Transitioning to organic? A three-year project studies the effects of different transitional strategies

Recently added resources:
• Information and links to some of our current organic research groups and projects.
• A list of OSU Extension fact sheets that pertain to organic production.

You can sign up to receive new articles and other updates here.

Did you know?
As of the most recent agricultural census, Ohio ranked 7th nationwide in the number of organic agricultural operations.

Spotted Lanternfly Webinar Series

Please join the NYS IPM ProgramNYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, and the Northeastern IPM Center for a

An adult spotted lanternfly on Ailanthus altissima in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Photo by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org

webinar update on the latest invasive insect to hit the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has recently been detected in surrounding states starting with Delaware and New York in 2017, and Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland in 2018.

Two webinars covering hops, berry crops, vegetables, grapes, and apples will be held on February 26th.

Two additional webinars on Christmas trees, greenhouse, nursery, and landscape industries will be held on March 4th.

Visit this site to get all the details including registration: https://www.northeastipm.org/working-groups/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly-basics-webinar-announcement/

To date, SLF has NOT been reported in Ohio. Given the proximity of detections and the possibility of being inadvertently spread by various modes of transportation, we are recommending increased vigilance for this pest. This pest has a wide host range and is known to attack grape vines, apple and cherry trees, and hop bines. This pest also has an affinity for Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), especially in the fall.

 

Produce Safety Training – Sandusky County

Sent on behalf of Matt Fout, Ohio Dept. of Agriculture, Produce Safety Manager

Hello All,

Below are two links detailing the full announcement and registration forms for the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training that will be held at the North Central Ag Research Station, 1165 County Road 43, Fremont, OH 43420, on February 28.

The course will cover basic produce safety; worker health, hygiene, and training; soil amendments; wildlife, domesticated animals, and land use; agricultural water (both production and postharvest); postharvest handling and sanitation; and developing a farm food safety plan. As a participant you can expected to gain a basic understanding of: microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm; how to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks; how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm; parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one; and requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them. There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should come prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions.

There is no cost for Ohio residents to attend this training. Please feel free to distribute to any produces growers who may want to attend.

Direct any questions to Matt Fout, (614)728-6250, or  Matthew.Fout@Agri.ohio.gov.

PSA Training Details

PSA Grower Registration

 

The 2019 Ohio Produce Network Program: Count on It

The upcoming Ohio Produce Network program (http://www.opgma.org/ohio-produce-network/) sponsored by Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association will be held on January 16-17, 2019 at the Embassy Suites in Dublin, OH. Topics selected by growers during months of event preparation will be addressed in presentations, demonstrations and trainings, discussions, and displays and exhibits.

The program has five tracks and begins with the OPGMA Annual Meeting and Keynote Address. The Keynote Address will be given by Liliana Esposito, who serves as the Chief Communications Officer with Wendy’s. The entire program includes eleven hours and of presentation and discussion time across five tracks (55 hours total) plus five hours dedicated to viewing the tradeshow and various exhibits and participating in trainings and demonstrations.

Combined, the Vegetable, Food Safety, and Greenhouse/High Tunnel tracks also comprise interesting numbers. For example, they include twenty-nine speakers and at least that many topics. Of these twenty-nine speakers, thirteen are with a university (three institutions), five are farmers, eight represent farming-related businesses, two represent organizations, and one represents the ODA. These numbers are matched by equally impressive ones across the Fruit and Marketing tracks. However, for now, the most important numbers to remember are 5100 Upper Metro Place, Dublin, OH 43017 … the address of the OPN program and where we hope to see you on January 16 and 17!

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).

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.