Research and demonstration plots are slowly going in as rain dances across the experiment station in South Charleston. On Tuesday a herbicide screen featuring common products (Strategy, Sandea, Dual Magnum) plus various Reflex treatments were planted. According to the 24(c) label, Reflex is known to have potential phytotoxic reactions with some butternut and squash hybrids, so a sensitivity trial with four butternut squash hybrids, four squash hybrids and two pumpkin hybrids was also planted. Both trials were sprayed on Wednesday, followed by 0.7 inch rain which should have activated all the pre-emerge herbicides. These trials will be rated for weed control and phytotoxicity several times in the next month.
Missing Pumpkin Acres – Partially Solved
On April 2, an article was posted on the OSU VegBlog that looked at the sudden drop of pumpkin acreage from 2015 (>6,000A) to 2016 (<4,000A). I gave a few ideas for the potential drop in acreage and asked growers if they had any thoughts on the matter. I received several email and phone calls about the subject, here is the summary of our discussion.
–Imports: Pumpkins are being imported from other countries or other states more cheaply than they can be produced here in Ohio, so growers who couldn’t compete with the prices of imports got squeezed out of the business.
–Buyers: Many buyers of large chain stores are shopping around for the lowest price possible which has strained traditional supplier relationships. As a result, fewer Ohio growers are willing or able to compete at the lowest possible price so they are not supplying these market needs.
–Labor: It is getting more difficult to find the labor needed to plant, maintain and most importantly harvest and pack a pumpkin crop in a timely manner. This labor used to be local folks or high school kids but that is getting tougher to find, as is qualified migrant labor.
All of these factors and undoubtedly others have contributed to the loss of pumpkin acreage in Ohio. What remains most interesting is the confluence of these factors between 2015 and 2016 to generate a nearly 2,500A loss, which has still not rebounded five years later.
More Cucurbit Pests About to Get Active
A few weeks ago I mentioned options for controlling early season cucumber beetles and by extension, bacterial wilt. As we look past the beetle
invasion, remain vigilant for squash bugs and squash vine borer. A new video describing how to identify, monitor and manage Squash Vine Borer has just released on the OSU IPM YouTube channel.
Additional points that could have been made in the video include:
-An alternative to shaking the insects from the trap top into the plastic bag is to have a spare top, so that the active bag can be stuffed into a freezer to kill the contents which makes sorting and identifying much easier.
-The trap bottom should be about one foot above the ground and the string that holds the lure needs to be taught across the bottom of the trap to maximize catch. Use of a thin wire to hold the lure will help prevent sagging. The traps and pheromone lure can be found at just about any insect trapping supply business such as Great Lakes IPM.
-For non-chemical management row covers may work better on some crops than others based on how quickly they flower. There is also the possibility of late planting and/or trap cropping as a means to avoid peak SVB flight provided it fits with your marketing plans.
-While some plants do succumb to SVB attack, many other plants infested with SVB larvae survive and continue to produce fruit.
-Here are the results of a 2020 SVB trial on zucchini conducted by Celeste Welty. This research was funded by the Ohio Vegetable Small Fruit Research and Development Program.