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Showing posts from September, 2019

Mechanical weed control highlights

Author: Natalie Hoidal, Extension horticulture educator. 

This week I (Natalie) attended a mechanical weed control field day in Eastern Wisconsin. This is an overview of some of the tools that were highlighted and some reflections from the day. One of the most exciting things about mechanical weed control is that these tools are available on multiple scales, and there's a lot of room for mixing and matching. For example, finger weeder is an appropriate tool for a small-scale diversified farm using a two wheel tractor or even a wheel hoe, as well as field crop systems with much larger tractors. You also don't have to choose just one type of attachment - it's often more effective to attach multiple tools to your toolbar to achieve multiple functions (between row weed control, within row, deeper-digging attachments as well as those that just scratch the surface).

General tips for mechanical cultivation

Do it early and often. Mechanical cultivation is most effective when weeds a…

Tools for measuring soil health

With so much talk about soil health, have you ever wondered why soil tests don't provide more complete soil health information? Our friends in the Extension nutrient management team host a monthly podcast, and this month they took a look at the different ways that we can measure soil health. While this podcast is typically geared towards field crops producers, the content in this episode is really useful for fruit and vegetable growers!


Here's the episode description and links to the podcast. Enjoy!
In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we discuss soil health tests. What is the consensus definition of soil health? What should growers look for in soil health tests, and how should they go about testing their fields? What research is available in Minnesota tying soil health tests to crop performance and yield?
Listen to the podcast

View the podcast transcript

Sightings from the Field: Week of August 9-13

Authors: Annie Klodd and Natalie Hoidal, UMN Extension Educators for fruit and vegetable production

This was a week of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are some of the things that occurred this week throughout Minnesota:
Clear differences among pumpkin varieties in trial The field tour of the pumpkin variety trial by Annie Klodd and Rod Elmstrand (Rod's Berry Farm) took place on in the evening of Monday, Sept. 9. Thank you to the 40 growers who attended despite the rain! We compared fruit from 32 different varieties from the trial, stepped into the field between rain showers to discuss pumpkin management, viewed a pest management calendar made by Natalie Hoidal, and enjoyed dinner and dessert prepared by Rod and Sara Elmstrand. Thank you to MFVGA for sponsoring the event.
While we have not harvested or collected data yet, some stand out varieties at the field tour included: Hermes, Zeus, Orange Sunrise, Kratos, and several experimental varieties including RPX 6208 (Rupp) and …

Spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) Concerns for Wine Grapes Continues

Bill Hutchison, Dept. of Entomology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul campus

SWD trap catches remain high in vineyards and fall raspberries, and growers should continue to be diligent in controlling SWD this time of year, particularly just before grape harvest. Recent trap catch data for SWD at Rosemount and Hastings is shown in the following graph. See the previous SWD article, published in late August, for more information .


Apply for funding through the AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant

Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production. kloddann@umn.edu

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture just released the call-for-proposals for the 2019 AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program. This is a good opportunity for farmers, including fruit and vegetable farmers, to apply for funding for research and demonstration projects on their farm. A total of $200,000 will be awarded this year, and proposals may request up to $50,000.

According to the MDA website, "This grant supports innovative on-farm research and demonstrations. It funds projects that explore sustainable agriculture practices and systems that could make farming more profitable, resource efficient, and personally satisfying."

Applications from farmers are given priority, but farmers can also collaborate with UMN researchers, UMN Extension, other non-profit organizations, and/or other farmers on their proposed projects. Non-profit and educational organizations can …

FSMA food safety updates - inspections have begun and upcoming trainings

This summer the first farm inspections began under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule for the largest farms in the state. The inspections, conducted by The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program, are announced and are held during the growing and harvest season. Inspections on small and very small farms, as defined by the rule, will begin in spring of 2020 and spring of 2021 respectively.

As a reminder, the Produce Safety Rule is part of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The rule sets, for the first time, science-based standards for growing fruits and vegetables for human consumption.  Fruit and vegetable farmers that grow, pack, harvest and/or hold produce and that do not qualify for an exemption or exclusion from the Produce Safety Rule are required to have one person attend a standardized food safety training.  To learn more about if your farm is covered by the rule, see this factsheet. The MDA produce safety program staff states: “Inspections will be sch…

Late-Season Corn Earworm Alert: Focus on Sweet Corn

Bill Hutchison, Eric Burkness & Suzanne Wold-Burkness
Dept. of Entomology, UMN Extension IPM Program, University of Minnesota, St. Paul campus

As noted in mid-August, corn earworm moth flights usually do not increase substantially until late summer, and throughout September. Consequently, only the latest maturing hybrids, or late-planted sweet corn is more vulnerable to egg-lay and larval infestations in ear tips.

This past week, our trap network cooperators observed a substantial increase in moth counts in south-central and southeastern Minnesota (Fig. 1, Blue Earth, Owatonna, Rosemount). Moth numbers at these locations are much higher than our standard “action threshold” of  >5 moths per night for at least two consecutive nights (measured via pheromone traps).

When this threshold is reached and silking sweet corn (fresh/green silks) is present, it will be highly attractive to female moths for egg-lay. Although CEW cannot overwinter in the upper Midwest, the moths readily migra…