Reminder – Pumpkin and Sunflower Field Day – August 25

For over 20 years The Ohio State University has held a pumpkin field day as a source of production and pest management information for both new and experienced growers. This year we will be adding some flair as we begin to tackle the production and pest management issues surrounding the popular trend of sunflower fields for photography and cut flowers as an additional source of revenue on diversified farms. For growers who want to learn about two popular fall attractions, pumpkins and sunflowers, this is a field day that can’t be missed.

Pumpkin and sunflower

The field day will be divided roughly in half, with the first hour focused on sunflower topics ranging from grower experiences in production (Matt Sullivan, grower) to impacts from the ag tourism perspective (Kate Hornyak, OSU). A nine-hybrid sunflower demo strip trial will be in various stages of bloom for attendees to walk through and examine.

The second hour will focus on pumpkin production and pest management, with presentations on managing pollinators in cucurbits (Ashley Leach, OSU), foliar fertilizers and plant nutrition (Bryan Reed, Sunrise), a review of powdery mildew fungicide management followed by a walk through the 24 pumpkin and squash hybrid trial (Jim Jasinski, OSU).

The field day will be held August 25 at the Western Ag Research Station, 7721 S. Charleston Pike, South Charleston Ohio. The field day will begin promptly at 5:30 PM and end at 7:30 PM. Pre-registration is required for attendance and there is a $5 charge per person for handouts and refreshments (and likely a few sunflowers).

Pre-register by Aug. 23 at this link: https://go.osu.edu/pumpsun22

More details are listed on the attached flyer.
Pumpkin and Sunflower 2022 Flyer

Alert – Corn Earworm Moth Numbers Running Very High!

On the heels of the VegNet blog article posted a few days ago (https://u.osu.edu/vegnetnews/2022/08/13/corn-earworm-flight-numbers-spike/), corn earworm flights continue to be very high in southwest Ohio. In the past 10 days, over 1,000 moths have been trapped at the research station in South Charleston, including 424 moths caught from Friday (12th) through Monday (15th).

This pile is what 424 CEW moths looks like.

The Hartstack trap (large metal mesh) used at the research station is placed near fresh silking sweet corn which is very attractive to CEW moths and known to catch more moths than a Heliothis trap (white plastic mesh). Be sure to use the CEW management chart, which is based on the Heliothis trap, when making management decisions. Traps placed away from fresh silking corn will not catch as many moths.

These large moth flights have yet to be recorded in the northern county tier of traps in the network (https://u.osu.edu/jasinski.4/pestvisualization/#linke). Growers who are running Hartstack or Heliothis type traps to manage their insecticide spray intervals are advised to check their traps every few days for the next few weeks.

CEW flights in monitoring network.

Corn Earworm Flight Numbers Spike

Clark County has reported a massive spike in corn earworm (CEW) this week.

386 CEW moths caught during past week.

Other trapping locations have not reported an increase in activity yet (https://u.osu.edu/jasinski.4/pestvisualization/#linke). This annual caterpillar pest of sweet corn and tomato should have growers paying special attention to these crops for infestation, especially during the latter part of the season. Flights of CEW typically increase through the summer as the moth migrates into Ohio from southern states such as Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. The caterpillar stage is known to attack silking corn and tomato fruit, especially when other susceptible hosts are not abundant.

CEW, aka tomato fruitworm, feeding on tomato.

Moths prefer to lay eggs on fresh sweetcorn silk and can hatch and enter the ear tip as quickly as two days under ideal weather conditions, where they are no longer susceptible to insecticide treatments. Treatments for this pest should be made based on number of moths per day and daily temperature threshold of 80F. Use the chart below to determine the recommended number of days between insecticide application to protect sweet corn as it enters silking. Insecticide options can be found in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide, remember to rotate insecticide classes to avoid resistance (https://mwveguide.org).

CEW spray interval chart.

Want to learn more about monitoring for CEW? Check out this original video that reviews how to set up a trap to monitor for CEW (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6b7OtUOo8Y&list=PL0HRPaZDLHyG53DPisl9iGTezcx815u-q&index=8).

There is also an updated version of how to monitor for several key moths in sweet corn on the OSU IPM YouTube channel https://youtu.be/X1jvQxx_fpc

Pumpkin and Sunflower Field Day – August 25

For over 20 years the pumpkin field day has been a source of production and pest management information for both new and experienced growers. This year we will be adding some flair as we begin to tackle the production and pest management issues surrounding the popular trend of sunflower fields for photographs and cut flowers as an additional source of revenue on diversified farms. So if you want to learn about two popular fall attractions, pumpkins and sunflowers, this is a field day that can’t be missed.

Pumpkin and sunflower

The field day will be divided roughly in half, with the first hour focused on sunflower topics ranging from grower experiences in production (Matt Sullivan, grower) to impacts from the ag tourism perspective (Kate Hornyak, OSU). A nine-hybrid sunflower demo strip trial will be in various stages of bloom for attendees to walk through and examine.

The second hour will focus on pumpkins, starting off with managing pollinators in cucurbits (Ashley Leach, OSU), foliar fertilizers and plant nutrition (Bryan Reed, Sunrise) and then a review of powdery mildew fungicide management and a walk through the 24 hybrid trial (Jim Jasinski, OSU).

The field day will be held at the Western Ag Research Station, 7721 S. Charleston Pike, South Charleston Ohio. The field day will begin promptly at 5:30 PM and end at 7:30 PM. Pre-registration is required for attendance and there is a $5 charge per person for handouts and refreshments (and likely a few sunflowers). For more information contact Jim Jasinski, Jasinski.4@osu.edu.

Pre-register at this link: https://go.osu.edu/pumpsun22

More details are listed on the attached flyer. Hope to see you there!

Pumpkin and Sunflower 2022 Flyer

Attack of the Killer Tomato (Hornworms)

Yes, this is the title of a 1978 comedy horror film (sans the hornworm part, that was added to provide context to the article).  I have a small garden at home and last week I noticed foliage and fruit chewed along with fairly large frass pellets laying around so I had all the clues needed that hornworms had indeed found at least two of my tomato plants. I began searching diligently but could only find one hornworm, I’m sure there were several more hidden among the foliage digesting their lunch.

Finding these worms at home made me think about scouting the much larger tomato research project at the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston. Unfortunately, there is no pheromone trap to detect the moth so periodic monitoring of the plants for feeding damage or caterpillars is required. I started looking at the plants and soon discovered there were hornworms infesting about 5% of the plants.

Hornworm damage to tomato plant

 

Hornworm damage

While there are many types of hornworm moths, commonly referred to as hawkmoths or sphingid moths, there are only two economically important species found in Ohio that feed on tomato plants, the tomato and tobacco hornworm. The key characteristic I use to identify these two species is the shape of the markings on the side of the caterpillar; the tomato hornworm has a sideways “V” called a chevron on each segment while the tobacco hornworm has a slanted white slash that looks like a cigarette (to me). There are other characters to separate the species such as the color of the “horn” on the last segment (black vs. red) but these tend to be less reliable. The tobacco hornworm is usually more common in Ohio tomato fields than the tomato hornworm. The length of the worms found at the research station was up to 3 inches, which is near their maximum size.

Tobacco hornworm, note white slashes on segments

 

Tomato hornworm, note “V” shape on segments

Hornworms are often found with many small white cocoons stuck on their body. The cocoons show that biological control by natural enemies is in progress. A hornworm covered with cocoons has been parasitized by Cotesia congregata, a small braconid wasp. By the time the cocoons emerge from the larva, the hornworm is close to death and will not reach its pupal stage. One wasp will emerge from each cocoon.

Parasitized hornworm

The threshold for treating this pest is two or more hornworms or fresh damage per 40 plants scouted of any stage, from seedling to fruiting. Whether parasitoid cocoons are seen or not, the chances of biocontrol contributing to the management of this pest are increased greatly by avoiding the use of broad-spectrum insecticides. The best insecticide to use is one of the BTs such as Dipel or Javelin or Xentari, especially if worms are small. If insect pests in addition to hornworns are found in the tomato field, then conventional insecticides will be needed; most insecticides are very toxic to hornworms so the selection of the product should be based on the other pest(s). Products such as carbamates (Lannate, Sevin) and pyrethroids (Asana, Baythroid, Pounce, Warrior) are toxic to hornworms but disruptive to natural enemies like the Cotesia parasitoid. Products such as Radiant, Intrepid, or Neemix are toxic to hornworms but have a more gentle impact on beneficial insects. More insecticide options are listed in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide (https://mwveguide.org).

Part of this article was excerpted from a previous VegNet article posted in 2009.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Spotted

Spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) is one of the major pests of cane berries, blueberries, black berries, strawberries and peaches. Last week it was detected in Greene, Monroe, Geauga and Wayne counties but likely is present and active in most Ohio counties at this point in the season (https://u.osu.edu/jasinski.4/pestvisualization/#linki).

Spotted wing Drosophila male (L) and female (R).

Recall that this pest is relatively new to Ohio, first discovered in 2011, and has the distinction from other drosophila flies of being able to attack whole, healthy fruit as they begin to blush and ripen.

The best way to monitor for this pest on your farm is to use a trap with either a commercial lure or apple cider vinegar as a bait.

Spotted wing drosophila baited Scentry trap.

If you do this, it will be necessary to empty the trap weekly and look through the catch to identify the male (with the spot on its wing) or female (which has an enlarged serrated ovipositor) using a stereoscope. Remember that the threshold for this pest is 1 SWD fly, male or female. Once the threshold is exceeded, trapping can be halted. This can be a fairly intensive endeavor but has been described in detail in various videos posted to the OSU IPM YouTube channel (setting up trap, identification, salt water tests, etc.). https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0HRPaZDLHyFqKGmNic832l0SWqMO8IQ4

If you choose not to monitor for this pest and have had SWD on your farm before, it is nearly 100% certain they will return once fruit is in the blush or ripe stage, so you should prepare to manage based on their assumed presence. A fact sheet on SWD giving more detail on management and biology with an up to date list of insecticides can be found here: https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/1/8311/files/2020/11/SWD_Ohio_handout_V20.pdf

Once you decide to stop harvesting in a certain block, insecticide treatment for SWD can be halted. For smaller or organic growers, some cultural methods including use of black mulch, pruning and netting have been shown to reduce and delay infestation.

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

Notes from the Pumpkin Patch – June 26

The seasonal pattern of too wet to do any field work has relented to extremely dry conditions given the past week of temperatures in the 90’s. I managed to get caught up on planting the last of my trials, side dressing those trials with emerged plants and applying herbicides in anticipation of rain.

Perhaps the biggest pest to note over the past week was Squash Vine Borer becoming active in Greene and Coshocton counties (https://u.osu.edu/jasinski.4/pestvisualization/#linkj). This pest can cause some plant loss if active in fields (egg laid on stem, hatches into caterpillar which bore into the plant stem and can no longer be successfully treated) but usually not more than five percent of plants are infested. In prior years I have seen losses up to 30% in some of my research plots.

Squash vine borer adult on pumpkin leaf.

One way to determine if this pest is active near your field is to observe a large purple and orange moth flying around the field, but the best way is to use a pheromone trap. Once increases in trap catches are seen, 2-3 applications toward the base of the plant every 7-10 days is an effective control measure. Foliar insecticide options are listed in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide (https://mwveguide.org/guide). I produced a short video on monitoring and treatment options as an overview on the OSU IPM YouTube site (https://youtu.be/KIHeMtkF98Y).

SVB pheromone trap.

Not much other pest activity to note at the research station but it was obvious to see while working around the various trials which hybrids had been treated with FarMore FI400 and which ones were not based on their Striped cucumber beetle feeding levels. I also saw my first Spotted cucumber beetle of the season this past week.

Spotted cucumber beetle.

Spotted cucumber beetle.

Keep an eye out for the third major early season pest, Squash bug, which should be making an appearance soon.

Squash bug adult.

Squash bug eggs.

Early Season Notes from the Pumpkin Patch

Between the end of May and first 10 days of June, getting trials planted has been challenging with showers just about every 3 days. Typical field work ahead of direct seeding or transplanting (tillage or burn down) into our research and demonstration plots at South Charleston was definitely a “hurry up to wait” scenario. Hopefully most of you are having better luck at getting these crops in the ground!

As soon as I did manage to get some seeds and plants in the ground, there were quite a few pests waiting to pounce; read on and find out who!

Striped cucumber beetle – This is a pest that we expect to find every season. While it was reported several weeks ago in Southern Ohio, it made an appearance this past week in South Charleston. Notice the characteristic feeding damage on the lower cotyledon surface and on some of the early leaves. If FarMore FI400 seed was used not much damage should be expected but for untreated plants, scouting every few days while seedlings is important, followed by foliar sprays if beetles go over threshold (0.5 – 1 beetle / plant). Foliar insecticide options for all pests can be found in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide (https://mwveguide.org/guide).

Striped cucumber beetles in a semi-dead state beneath FarMore FI400 treated plant.

Characteristic striped cucumber beetle feeding

Salt Marsh caterpillar – A sporadic pest that is primarily a foliage feeder. While feeding can be fairly severe, typically very few plants are affected. The injury looks similar to that of striped cucumber beetle feeding shown above.

caterpillar

Salt marsh caterpillar found on feeding on pumpkin transplant

Black cutworm – Another sporadic pest found especially in no-till fields where winter annuals such as chickweed and other weeds are present during seeding or transplanting. If a burndown herbicide is applied or other disturbance to the field is made, these caterpillars will move to and feed on fresh plants, including pumpkin or squash seedlings. The damage is characteristic cutting of the stem at the soil line and often the cut stem and leaves will be pulled into the soil. To find the cutworm caterpillar, lightly dig around the cut plant to find and destroy the pest or risk other seedlings being cut.

stem cut

Partially cut seedling stem

cut stem and caterpillar

Fully cut stem and caterpillar

close up of cut stem, leaf feeding and caterpillar

Close up of cut stem, leaf feeding and caterpillar

Field mice and voles – In reduced tillage situations or fields planted with cover crops, there is an increased risk of depredation by several species of mice and voles which can feed on a variety of plant parts including leaves, stems, roots and seeds of plants. They have a particular fondness for pumpkin and squash seed, and can move down a planted row systematically digging up and eating every seed for stretches up to 50 feet. Even newly emerged seedlings aren’t safe from feeding as the cotyledons and radical (main root) can be chewed off, killing the plant.

In every direct seeded trial at the research station this year, we have lost between 30 to 95% of stand due to seed feeding, so this is a major consideration for us to decide if a trial gets direct seeded or transplanted. For growers, the size of the operation and effort to raise transplant needs to be evaluated against the expense and time lost to replanting (7-10 days) which can affect marketing and field harvest, possibly impacting sales.

There are a few ways to minimize mouse and vole seed and seedling depredation including increasing field tillage to disturb nesting areas, reducing the rate of cover crop planted to provide less cover for these vertebrates and providing perching structures near the field to invite raptors to prey on these pests. Planting in warm soils will promote faster germination and limit the time seed is vulnerable to depredation.

The only approved chemical treatment is an in-furrow application of zinc phosphide pellets. This is a Restricted Use Product and is not allowed to be broadcast on the field.

Seed feeding

Seed feeding

Cotyledon feeding

Cotyledon feeding

mouse

Vertebrate pest

Insect Pest Data Going Visual!

For the past few years members of the IPM Program have been working hard to upgrade how insect pest data is displayed to end users such as growers, consultants and other educators, mainly because spreadsheet data is so 1990’s!

chart image

Along with the transition from spreadsheet to graphical data, we are beginning to add key points and interpretation to help end users make management decisions about the current pest status. Our goal is to make insect activity trends easier to understand while wrapping in some useful pest management decision points. There might still be a few bugs to work out of the system but overall it should be functioning as intended.

While we don’t have all of the key pests for specialty crops listed, we do have most of the major pests for fruit and vegetables online at this point. If there is a pest you want to see monitored, drop us a note and we’ll see if we can add it. We are still fine-tuning timely cooperator data entry (meaning all data collected may not have been entered into the system for display) and some pests have just begun to be monitored for so trends may be difficult to see. Also, pest graphs with no data are populated with a large “NO DATA” tag in the body of the graph. Along the top of each graph is the county where the trapping data is being collected. Multiple sites in one county are numbered Greene 1, Greene 2, Greene 3, etc.

The new website can be found here: https://u.osu.edu/jasinski.4/pestvisualization/

Below is a screen capture of the new site. If you have questions or comments about the graphs let us know. We hope you enjoy the new interface experience!

insect data

Initial Summary of Specialty Crop Listening Session

The following article was written by Jim Jasinski, Professor, Department of Extension; Jamie Strange, Chair, Department of Entomology and Ken Scaife, CFAES Director of Operations.

Introduction
Since early 2020, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) administrators, faculty and educators have been engaged in discussions addressing the interaction and relationship between the University and the diverse needs of specialty crop stakeholders. Specialty crops as defined by the USDA include fruits, vegetables, nuts, nursery crops, flowers and other horticultural crops.

To assess the relationship between OSU and specialty crop stakeholders, four activities have been initiated and completed to date.

1. Phone interviews with traditional large scale specialty crop farm operators to understand their individual concerns.
2. Phone interviews with official specialty crop groups and organizations that represent the interest of individual stakeholders to understand their overarching concerns.
3. Conducted a Statewide listening session via Zoom; Part 1 allowed Department representatives to share current specialists’ expertise via short three minute video segments. (can be viewed here on YouTube – https://youtu.be/MZMOXUXz0pU)
4. Conducted a Statewide listening session via Zoom; Part 2 solicited specialty crop stakeholder needs in facilitated feedback sessions.

The next step in the process involves sharing a short summary of the listening session data gathered where the preliminary needs and gaps of the broad stakeholder community given by growers, consultants and official crop associations in attendance during the statewide Zoom listening session.

Specialty Crops Represented by Report
There were multiple calls for engagement to various specialty crop stakeholders prior to the Zoom listening session, during the session and after the session concluded. A list of the most economically important crops mentioned during all of those requests is represented below. This is only a snapshot of the crops represented at the time and should not be generalized to commodity needs across the entire state. In general, fruit and vegetable crops, flowers and herbs are represented, along with Maple products and mushrooms. Crops listed that are not considered specialty crops include sunflower, field corn and soy based products.

graph of crops

Listening Session Discoveries
1. Below are the summary of comments received when asked to name the top major research and education needs over the next few years.

-Address specific pests / issues; Spotted lanternfly, Colorado potato beetle, flea beetles, carrot weevil, peach borer, other invasives, Paw Paw production and pest management, IPM, beneficial insects / biocontrol
-Address no-till/organic production, herbicides, crop inputs, variety trials, emerging crops, potatoes, climate control – how it effects crops, economics, GAPs & food safety, logistics, post harvest handling, weeds, cut flowers, new raspberry hybrids (breeding/eval?), better information access / types, farm expansion, local supply chains, produce aggregation, value added, season extension, labor, automation of planting, canning efficiency, soil health
-Address research on specific diseases such as Phytophthora, Buckeye rot, bacterial diseases in multiple crops, disease impacts on industry/processing, copper replacements, organic support
-Consumer education (local production and consumption cycle), specialty crop value in rural communities
-Marketing, beginner farming, legal, hops liaison, food hub, branding, better educational materials
-Automation of planting/harvesting, technology for crop production, energy efficient processes
-Shared facilities, incubator kitchens/parks
-Help with measuring carbon, soil health, sustainability reporting tools, maple quality

2. Below are the summary of comments received when asked to name the top areas that CFAES and Extension should continue to address in the next few years.  

-Research chemical and cultural control of plant diseases and insects; Integrated Pest Management; diagnostic services; monitor and report pest pressure, presence and severity
-Weed control – develop new herbicides, crop rotation/cover crops, chemical registration
-Variety trials – evaluate new and emerging varieties for yield, quality, disease resistance – fresh market and processing vegetable crops were primarily mentioned
-Support for obtaining new labels / registrations for chemicals
-Support for existing OSU crop breeding programs
-Interest in new market opportunities, industry marketing trends
-Education on food safety, GAP training, FSMA
-In-person programs or Extension visits are valued
-Multiple forms of communicating Extension information (social media, newsletters, email/hard copy, workshops and in-person programs); distilling relevant production and management information; draw expertise from other land-grant universities; communicate information on regular basis
-Critical mass of OSU personnel needed to support specialty crops
-Minor mentions – urban farming; organic agriculture; Paw Paw, maple syrup; soil health; cut flowers; high tunnels; beginning farmers; ag statistics; farm business/management; labor

3. Below are the summary of comments received when asked to name the top major research and education gaps that CFAES and Extension should address in the next few years.

-The primary area for improvement involved connecting OSU faculty, staff, and students with producers. Many people identified a lack of communication as a problem and others recommended more on-farm visits as a solution
-Production issues were the second most mentioned areas for improvement. These included pest control, disease management, production methods, and breeding and varietal trials of new cultivars as most important issues
-Multiple participants identified the need for more research on organic production including, pest and disease management, cropping systems, and connecting growers to markets
-The need to increase OSU staffing within departments and extension offices was identified, as was the need to connect growers and researchers to funding
-Marketing, especially helping new producers connect to markets, was noted as an area that needs more attention
-Several participants noted issues related to tree products including fruit, syrup, and carbon sequestration
-Various other areas of growing need for research and extension included farming in solar arrays, urban agriculture, and serving disadvantaged communities

Next Steps
The accumulated information from the phone interviews and listening session are being shared with CFAES administrators, Department Chairs, Specialists and Extension Educators in order to assess the needs, strengths and gaps in current interactions with specialty crop stakeholders. Action based on this input will be forthcoming to help address and improve current relations.

In the next few months, expect opportunities to have in-person meetings to discuss the findings with large blocks of specialty crop stakeholders, such as but not limited to, processing vegetable crops, fruit crops and other vegetable, nursery or floral crops.