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Broccoli trial results: which varieties of broccoli stand up to disease and heat stress?

Disease pressure and climate change pose significant challenges to growing broccoli in the Midwest. For the past two summers, we've been conducting collaborative trials with growers across the region to identify broccoli varieties that can withstand increasing disease pressure and heat stress. Since around 2018, the pathogens black rot ( Xanthamonas campestris pv. campestris ) and Alternaria ( Alternaria spp. ) have become common on farms and in gardens, with some growers reporting 80-100% yield losses. Especially for organic growers, varietal tolerance can be a powerful tool for disease management.  We conducted replicated broccoli trials at the Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC) in Waseca, Minnesota, where we inoculated plots with black rot ( Xanthamonas campestris pv. campestris ). We also partnered with 88 farmers and gardeners to conduct mini trials at their farms and gardens. Our goal was to screen for varieties of broccoli with tolerance to the pathogens black rot
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Register for the 2023 Cold Climate Fruit Webinar Series

You are invited to join us for a variety of spring webinars on beginner apple production and high tunnel berries.  The Cold Climate Fruit Webinar Series is an annual webinar series organized by Extension Educators at:  University of Minnesota Extension University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Iowa State University Extension University of Illinois Extension The Beginning Apple Grower webinars are best for those new to orchard production (less than 10 years) or considering buying or starting an orchard in the Midwest.  The High Tunnel Berry Production webinars are great for growers with high tunnels who would like to use them to grow berries. You may also attend if you are thinking about building a high tunnel. Berries are a very high value crop well suited for high tunnels, and we recommend strawberries and raspberries for high tunnels in the upper Midwest. The webinar registration pages are managed through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Fruit News website.  Register here for appl

Forcing Chicories: An Opportunity for Diversifying Season Extension on Minnesota Vegetable Farms

Guest article by Peter Skold, Waxwing Farm, Webster, MN As a part of a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant we received, we have been exploring growing forcing chicories as a way of diversifying our farm’s season extension efforts. We learned that these crops can be successfully grown in this part of the country and have the potential to be valuable additions to any vegetable farm’s mix of winter crops. What are forcing chicories? Chicories are a family of crops that include radicchio and endive as well as other forage greens. Roasted chicory root has historically been used as a coffee additive/substitute. Forcing chicories are leafy vegetables produced by forcing certain varieties of chicory roots to grow without sunlight. This results in a leafy vegetable that contains no chlorophyll, giving the finished product a unique appearance and flavor.   Photo 1: Forcing chicories grown on our farm, left: Tardivo radicchio, right: Belgian endive We produced two kinds of

Apple pruning workshops across Minnesota this winter

University of Minnesota Extension is offering a series of apple tree pruning workshops across the state. These free workshops will take place throughout the winter months, the time of year when apple trees are dormant and pruning is recommended. Whether you have two trees or 200, you can get guidance on proper pruning methods and hands-on practice pruning trees at apple orchards. Pruning apple trees properly is important to optimize fruit growth and make harvesting easier. Homeowners, gardeners, Master Gardener volunteers, and orchardists of all experience levels throughout Minnesota may find these workshops useful. Participants will be outdoors using pruning shears and loppers, so attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather and activities involved. Extension educators will lead participants through the considerations and techniques for proper pruning. All workshops will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Workshops will be held at: January 23 :  Pine Tree

Complete the agriculture census by February 6th

The USDA census of agriculture occurs every 5 years, and it is underway now through February. The census is mean to be a complete count of farms and ranches in the United States. It informs funding allocations, research, and agriculture policy. Any grower who grew $1,000 or more of fruit, vegetables, or food animals, or who would have done so in a normal year is eligible to complete the census. If you have not yet filled it out, you can complete the census online at  agcounts.usda.gov .  Learn more about the ag census at www.nass.usda.gov/agcensus .  Here are some ways that our team has used the census:  Estimating the number of growers that we should be reaching, which helps us to determine whether we are truly meeting the needs of all fruit and vegetable growers in Minnesota vs. just a subset of those growers Using census data to help us determine research priorities. For example, we have seen the number of high tunnels climb substantially with each new ag census, which tells us tha

FSMA Produce Safety Rule trainings - registration open for winter 2022/23

  Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, food safety Do you grow fruits and vegetables for sale or donation to others? Join the University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and experienced fruit and vegetable growers for these 100% virtual FSMA Produce Safety Rule Grower Trainings.  Who should participate?  This training course is for produce growers and those interested in learning about produce safety, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. If your farm is not excluded or exempt from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, at least one supervisor or responsible party from your farm must complete a training that uses FDA-recognized curriculum or equivalent. This course will satisfy this requirement.  (Read more here  to learn whether or not your farm is covered by the Produce Safety Rule.)  Dates:  Jan 26, 2023 in-person: 8:45am - 5:00pm (lunch included) Minnesota Farmers

Connect with our team at winter conferences

Our team will be attending many grower conferences this winter. We love to connect with growers at these events and hear about your ideas, successes, challenges, and questions. If you’re planning to attend any of these events, please feel free to say hello! This article is a list of some of the places you can find us this winter, and presentations we’ll be giving at various conferences. Minnesota Apple Growers Association Winter Conference, LaCrescent, January 4-5 All apple orchard owners and managers are encouraged to attend the Minnesota Apple Growers Association Winter Conference. Annie will be attending and giving two presentations at this conference. Educational sessions will cover a variety of topics from orchard labor management to pest management. The agenda includes many discussions led by experienced apple growers. Tips for Managing Newer UMN Apple Varieties Basics of Apple Chemical Thinning   Minnesota Organic Conference, St. Cloud, January 5-6 While the Minnesota Organic Co