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Weekly Fruit Update - June 16, 2021

Photo: Strong fruit set on Nova floricane-bearing raspberries in Chanhassen, MN. Photo: Annie Klodd   Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production. In this week's fruit update: Strawberry harvest season, apple pest forecast, grape post-bloom tasks, raspberries and blueberries. Updates Relevant Across Fruit Crops: Most of Minnesota is in a "moderate drought" right now. This is impacting all fruit crops. For irrigation recommendations, read Irrigation Recommendations for Fruit Crops During Drought. Dicamba and 2,4D herbicide drift injury. The cutoff date for farmers to apply dicamba was extended to June 30th in Minnesota this year. The hot, dry weather and high winds make dicamba and 2,4D even more susceptible to volatilization and drift, increasing the risk to neighboring specialty crops. We all wish there were more that specialty crop growers could do to protect their crops from drift. Some things you can do are to commu
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Weekly Vegetable Update - June 16, 2021

Author: Natalie Hoidal, UMN Extension educator, local foods and vegetable crops What a week! You all made it though another week of temperatures in the high 90's, and despite a bit of heat stress, many farms now have strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, garlic scapes, and high tunnel cucumbers. As expected, most of the summer insects are out and about, but I'm not yet seeing too many farms that have reached economic damage thresholds. The week ahead is projected to be much more reasonable temperature wise, and we're even supposed to get some rain, giving both you and your plants some respite.  Crop updates Cole crops: Growers are harvesting their first broccoli and cauliflower this week. So far disease has not really been an issue - we actively tried to inoculate a field with black rot and have so far failed because the environmental conditions are just not ideal for disease spread. This is good news for farmers. Insects however, are out and active. I've se

Summer 2021 COVID-19 guidance for farms

Annalisa Hultberg, Extension Educator, food safety During the COVID-19 pandemic, farms (along with all other businesses) have been required to follow guidance issued from the state to protect their employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19. As vaccination rates increase and infection rates decrease, restrictions are lifting. What are the current COVID-19 - related restrictions that apply to farms? Read more to learn the most current guidance.  Current COVID guidance  As of May 28th 2021, there are no longer state-imposed restrictions on capacity for any sector. All businesses and venues may choose to operate at 100% their rated occupant capacity (both indoors and outdoors). As per the COVID-19 Universal Guidance for All Businesses and Entitie s issued May 28th , businesses should continue to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan through June 30 or until 70% of Minnesotans aged 16+ receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Use the UMN COVID Preparedness Plan template for fa

New Guide to Growing High Tunnel Raspberries

Did you know that twin cities residents eat more raspberries per capita than any other US city? Raspberries are a high value, high demand specialty crop worthy of precious high tunnel real estate. Growing them in high tunnels rather than the open field increases yield and fruit quality, extends the growing season, and protects the berries from disease by excluding rainfall.  We have noticed increased interest in high tunnel raspberries among Minnesota specialty crop farmers in recent years, which is great. In response, we just published a new 19-page guide, Organic High Tunnel Raspberry Production. You can download the guide as a PDF here, from University of Minnesota Extension: Organic High Tunnel Raspberry Production Guide In this guide: Variety recommendations Production tips for crop productivity and season extension Organic disease, insect pest, and weed management Organic spotted wing Drosophila options Nutrient management Irrigation and fertigation ...and more

Irrigation recommendations for fruit crops during drought

Water-stressed apple trees exhibiting upward leaf curling, a common symptom   Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production, and Amaya Atucha, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist - UW Madison The climate of the upper Midwest is variable and at times, extreme. Fruit growers find themselves managing the effects of excess rainfall one season, and extended dry periods the next. While berry growers use irrigation throughout every growing season, irrigation use is less universal in apples and grapes in the upper Midwest. For example, most Minnesota grape growers lack irrigation systems because they are so rarely needed; while others with drip tape report having never turned it on. Most, but not all, modern orchards in the upper Midwest have drip irrigation systems. Irrigation is very important for apples every year, and can be helpful for cold climate grapes in extremely dry years and for newly-planted vines.    Grapes Water availability impacts grap