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Showing posts from February, 2019

GAPs workshops and FSMA Produce Safety Rule Grower Trainings: What’s the difference?

Author: Anne Sawyer.  All growers of fresh fruits and vegetables care about their customers and want to provide them with safe, healthy food! GAPs are Good Agricultural Practices, which are science-based best practices for reducing risks of microbial contamination in fresh produce. GAPs are the foundation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule , under which some growers of fresh produce are subject to specific actions and recordkeeping related to the growing, harvesting, packing and storing of fresh produce. Whether or not your farm is covered by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (covered means those who do not qualify for an exemption or exclusion) depends on many factors such as average annual sales and market outlets. Follow this link to learn about whether your farm is covered under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Many specialty crop growers in Minnesota are likely exempt or qualified exempt under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule based on sales and markets. These

Managing Black Rot of Cabbage with Resistant Varieties and Leaf Removal

Black rot on cabbage. M.Grabowski, UMN Extension Project Overview In the summer of 2018, Meg Gable, a UMN Agriculture/Food Business Management student with guidance from Michelle Grabowski, UMN Extension Professor, set out to learn more about how to best manage black rot of cabbage. The goal of the project was to compare susceptible and resistant varieties of cabbage and to determine if removing infected leaves would stop the spread of a black rot infection. Veins turn black as the black rot bacteria moves through the leaf.  M. Grabowski, UMN Extension Overview of Black Rot  Black rot is a common disease of crops such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other brassicas. It is a bacterial infection that moves through the veins of plants, travels to the stem and affects brassica plants in many ways depending on variety and time of infection. Cabbage is a labor-intensive crop and if infected, black rot can spread easily and destroy an entire crop. However, there is no

Respirators are necessary to apply certain pesticides safely

Respirators are necessary for using certain pesticides safely, including pesticides used in fruit and vegetable production such as Bt and paraquat. To use a respirator safely, you need a medical evaluation and a fit test to ensure that you've chosen the right respirator for your face size and shape, as well as for your health status. Extension's Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education Program is hosting six free respirator fit test workshops this winter. If you'd like to offer fit testing in your community, you can attend an all day "train the trainer" workshop. If you'd like a fit test for yourself, you can sign up for a 45 minute fit test appointment in the afternoon. Locations and dates include: Alexandria, March 19th, Alexandria Public Works Meeting Room, 526 Willow Dr, Alexandria, MN 56308 Little Falls, March 20th, 405 1st St SE, Little Falls, MN 56345 Hutchinson, March 26th, Hutchinson  Event Center,  1005 MN-15, Hutchinson, MN 55350 M

Free private pesticide applicator online study course

Do you need your private pesticide applicator certification? This new course is a supplement to the pesticide applicator manual with interactive videos, graphics, and additional content to help you engage with the curriculum. We are offering a trial run of this course for free! We’d like to get your feedback on how we can improve the course and how to make it as useful as possible for new pesticide applicators seeking certification. The course will take ~10 hours total, and we recommend splitting it up over six weeks. Who is this course for?  While the private applicator manual and exam are geared towards field crop producers, the online course has an expanded focus with extra information for specialty crop producers. Our goal is to create a course on pesticide safety and integrated pest management that is useful to growers at all scales of production. Registration To register for the course, you’ll first need to create a free account with Second, fill

New App for Midwest Farmers: Midwest Stinkbug Assistant

Authors: Bill Hutchison, Theresa Cira and Bob Koch.  The main focus of the Midwest Stinkbug Assistant app is to facilitate early detection and reporting of the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB; Halyomorpha halys). But, it also helps users identify native stink bug species common to the Midwest region. This free app, Midwest Stink Bug Assistant, will allow farmers, crop consultants, and the general public to become comfortable distinguishing stink bugs from other bugs and identifying common stink bugs. The app was developed in collaboration with Purdue University, Extension, and first released in April 2018. Figure 1.  Look for the Midwest Stink Bug Assistant screenshot to download the app.  A free IOS and Android app has been developed by the University of Minnesota Extension IPM Program, in partnership with the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC) and Purdue University (Fig. 1). The app can be downloaded here, for both Apple and Android platf

Developing an Annual Day-Neutral Strawberry Planting System with Biodegradable Mulches

Strawberries growing on plasticulture. Photo: Nathan Hecht Author: Steve Poppe, WCROC Horticulture Scientist. Despite growing consumer interest in local foods, the supply of Minnesota-grown strawberries is extremely limited due to the short growing season and perishability of traditional varieties. While the traditional June-bearing varieties produce fruit from early June through early July, the U of MN West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) has developed a day-neutral low tunnel system, which offers high quality fruit from late July to October. The low tunnel system requires hoop-like structures that go over the rows of strawberry plants. In addition, the strawberry plants must be planted into some type of mulch for adequate weed control and to maximize plant growth. In initial studies, we used white-on-black plastic mulch in the row which is a very effective weed control strategy. However, farmers expressed concern over the amount of plastic used, especially since th

Polar Vortex Tests the Cold Hardiness of Fruit Trees and Vines

Farmers across the Midwest are asking how the recent polar vortex impacted fruit trees and grapevines in Minnesota. This question was even explored on  Kare11 News on January 31, with UMN grape breeder Matt Clark. A Minnesota vineyard in January 2019.  Photo: Annie Klodd Apples Jim Luby, professor of fruit breeding at the U of MN, cautions that the 2019 polar vortex was the type of cold snap that can cause damage to apples and other fruit trees. However, the amount of damage is yet to be determined, and will vary depending on the variety. Many of the older University of Minnesota varieties have been subjected to these temperatures more frequently in previous decades and lived to tell the tale. European cider apple varieties that are marginally hardy in Zone 4 may suffer significant damage. The relative cold hardiness of common Minnesota apple varieties is listed here.  It should be noted that the "cold hardiness" of a variety refers to the ability of the plants to s

2019 Midwest Fruit and Vegetable Production Guides Available

The 2019 editions of the Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide and the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide are now available. The Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide 2019 was developed by the Midwest Fruit Workers Group. This publication combines two longtime guides that have become familiar to countless growers: the annual Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide and the annual Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide. The Midwest Fruit Workers Group also publishes companions to this guide, including the  Midwest Small Fruit Pest Management Handbook  and  Midwest Tree Fruit Pest Management Handbook. The 2019 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers is a collaboration of land-grant universities from eight states. It provides vegetable production information that is valid in the participating states for the current year. This includes fertility, variety, cultural, and pest management recommendations. To get print copies of either guide for $15, contact Annie Klodd at kloddann

Can you spot the trunk disease on this infected grapevine?

A grapevine trunk cross section with trunk diseases, though the typical symptoms are barely visible. Photo: Annie Klodd The photo below shows a cross section of a Marquette grapevine trunk. Looking at this photo, would you think that there was anything wrong with it? As it turns out, this grapevine has five different trunk diseases responsible for grapevine decline including "dead arm," Esca, and Eutypa, revealed by expert laboratory analysis. Often in online resources, plant diseases are demonstrated in photos that clearly show the symptoms. This is so that farmers can accurately identify them out in the field with as little ambiguity as possible. However, sometimes diseases can be present even if the tell-tale symptoms are not yet visible, such as in this example. The Marquette grapevine pictured was not producing well in 2018 and parts of its cordons had begun to die. We were curious whether this declining grapevine was infected with grapevine trunk diseases, which

March 27: 2nd Annual Fruit and Vegetable Pest Management Workshop

Blossom end rot of high tunnel bell peppers. Photo: Annie Klodd. Do you sell vegetables or fruit at your local farmers market, grocery, or restaurant? Join University of Minnesota Extension for this workshop addressing management and pest issues in vegetable and fruit production. Annie Klodd, Extension Educator-Vegetable and Fruit Production, will cover issues that appear to be diseases but are actually due to environmental factors such as temperature swings, uneven watering, and winter injury. Extension Entomologist Bill Hutchison, will address a variety of insect pests including, spotted wing drosophila, tarnished plant bug, squash vine borer, cabbage looper, and corn earworm. In addition he will address insects on the horizon like the brown marmorated stink bug and the Japanese beetle that will greatly impact your vegetable and fruit operations. Two Locations: Little Falls (8:30-11:30am) Little Falls City Hall: 100 7th Ave NE, Little Falls MN Alexandria (1:30-4:30pm) Do