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Showing posts from October, 2021

Harvesting brassicas? Look out for a new invasive insect.

As the season starts to wrap and fall cole crops are harvested, keep an eye out for damage from a new invasive pest: swede midge. Swede midge is an invasive fly that is a bit different than many of our insect pests.  It isn’t like Colorado potato beetle or cabbage looper, where you will notice the bug doing the damage.  In fact, you are unlikely to notice the damage until the culprit is long gone, and the damage can be so cryptic it is hard to figure out if swede midge is actually the cause.   The midges themselves are small flies, and the larvae that do the damage are even harder to see.  They are only a few millimeters long and translucent, and feed directly on the growing point of brassica crops and weeds. Swede midge larvae feed on the growing point, but in high numbers might spread out to other areas. Photo: Mao Chen, Cornell University, So what are you likely to see if swede midge has been active on your farm? Plants with odd growth pattern and distorted leaves Plant

Raspberry Cane Borers - What You Can Do This Fall

Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production Raspberry cane borer is an occasional pest of raspberries in Minnesota. I recently visited a farm in southeast Minnesota with a moderate infestation. This borer causes the growing tips of raspberry canes to wilt and fall off as the adults pierce holes in the canes for their larvae to enter. Raspberry growers can scout for this damage in the fall and remove any canes with cane borer damage. Doing so is an effective management strategy to remove most or all of the larvae present. Raspberry cane borer larvae tunnels seen directly below the puncture holes. Photo: A. Klodd Recognizing Cane Borers and their Damage Raspberry cane borer larvae are small, thin and light in color. They can be seen feeding their way down the inside of raspberry canes if you were to cut open an infested cane lengthwise. The adults are active from late June to early July. They are black beetles with a long and thin body and a patch of yellow b

Fruit Growers: Nov. 20 Deadline for Federal Crop Insurance

  SAINT PAUL, Minn., Oct. 13, 2021 — USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin producers that the final date to apply for crop insurance for perennial crops such as apples, cranberries, grapes, and tart cherries is November 20 for the 2022 crop year. Growers who are interested in the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection policy and are late fiscal year filers have until November 20 to apply for crop insurance. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage also have until the November 20 sales closing date to do so.       Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net. It helps producers and owners manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy . Producers may select from several coverage options, including yield coverage, revenue protection, and area risk policies. Additional information can be found on the Actuarial Information Browser page on the RMA website. Producers are encouraged to visit t

Tips for garlic planting season

Author: Natalie Hoidal It's garlic planting season. Here are a few quick tips to guide you. 1. Delaying planting due to heat? We've seen mild fall conditions across the state this year, and the first frost date is significantly delayed. The standard recommendation is to plant one to two weeks after the first killing frost, which typically falls in late September in northern Minnesota, and early October in southern Minnesota. Planting too early can lead to frost damage if the shoot emerges above the soil before winter. So, should you wait to plant? I asked a few colleagues to weigh in, and the general consensus was: No. Stick to the typical planting schedule, which means plant soon if you haven't done so already! Adding a thick layer of straw mulch sill help to keep your plants insulated through the winter. This will be particularly important if you see the shoots poking through the soil before a hard frost comes. Garlic planted with 6” row spacing and 6” between cloves in a

Quick Tips for Fertilizing Fruit Crops in the Fall

  Photo: A Regent apple tree in the fall. AK. Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production For many, fall is a convenient opportunity to do soil testing and apply certain fertilizers. Be careful about what and when you are applying in order to avoid problems going into winter. Fall is a great time to amend the soil pH if it is too high or low. Refer to this article for information on lowering soil pH in fruit and vegetable crops. As a general rule, it is safe to apply fertilizer and pH amendments to fruit crops in the fall, with the exception of nitrogen. Most nitrogen sources should be avoided in the fall, as they can stimulate unwanted new plant growth if applied before the plants are dormant, and can leach out of the soil with snow and rain before the next growing season. The exception is nitrogen-rich compost and composted manure, which can be safely applied once the soil temperatures dip below 50 degrees F.  Some growers report that they find it diffi

Does your soil have a high pH? Fall is the best time to amend it.

Authors: Natalie Hoidal & Annie Klodd   The ideal pH range for growing fruits and vegetables is 6.0 - 7.0 (with the exception of a few specific plants such as blueberries, which thrive in acidic conditions). Outside of this range, nutrients become less available to your plants, even if they are abundant in the soil. This article will cover some strategies for improving the pH of your soil, including longer-term management practices to keep it in the ideal range. Soils that are too acidic (below 6) can be amended with agricultural lime . A basic soil test will provide instructions for the amount of lime needed to adjust your soil. Soils that are too basic (above 7) also need to be amended, but a soil test will not provide specific guidance. A high pH in soil is caused by a few things: Some soils simply have a naturally high pH (or a naturally low pH) Soils that have received excess compost, especially composted manure, tend to have a higher pH due to the build-up of base cations H

2021 Annual Pumpkin Grower Meetup scheduled for November 1

Join us for a pumpkin grower meetup and field day on Monday, Nov. 1st from 1:00-3:00pm, at the UMN Horticultural Research Center in Excelsior, MN. To register: Location (note: this is a slight change in location from previous advertisements):  Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Center (at the MN Landscape Arboretum) 3210 W 82nd St, Chanhassen, MN 55317  Price: Free Date and Time: Monday, Nov. 1st, 1:00-3:00pm Topics: The best of 318 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds grown by John and Jenny Thull for the MN Landscape Arboretum Results of a white pumpkin variety trial, by Albany high school student Bryce Frerick and UMN Extension Discussions of problem diagnosis, weed management, and variety selection, led by UMN Extension educators The date and time were chosen based on a grower poll in which the vast majority of likely attendees voted for Monday, Nov. 1. Thank you for your input! Currently we have no plans to record this field day. It is challenging to get a h