Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 1 – May 20, 2016

May 20th, 2016 1:30 PM

StrawberriesStrawberry IPM Newsletter No. 1 – May 20, 2016
Click on photos to enlarge.

2016 STRAWBERRY PEST MANAGEMENT SEASON BEGINS

Long, Cold Winter Delays Early Spring Growth

Situation:
The winter was slow to get started, provided only intermittent snow cover and got very cold just before giving up. It has left some strawberry plantings with significant winter injury, while others seem to have come through in good shape. The distribution and degree of injury is like the winter, very variable from site to site; although it seems Maine growers may have actually experienced less damage than some of their southern New England counterparts. If winter injury is present, cutting into the crowns of injured plants will reveal dark brown discoloration in the internal tissue. Helping plantings recover from winter injury involves compensating for the damaged vascular system. Make sure the plants get plenty of water, especially in this dry period; and it may help to apply extra nutrients to encourage root growth and flower development, including nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. While we do not recommend heavy nitrogen fertilizer applications in the spring, up to 20 pounds of actual N (e.g. 125 lb. calcium nitrate) may improve early spring growth.

2015-2016 New England Small Fruit Management Guides are available at Highmoor Farm. The guide contains the latest information on management options for small fruit pests as well as cultural information. Cost of the guide is $13.00 plus $2.61 postage for a total of $15.61.

To order the guides, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, attention Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or pamela.stpeter@maine.edu.

We will begin scouting strawberry fields for major insect pests next week, including volunteer farms in North Berwick, Wells, Cape Elizabeth, Poland Spring, New Gloucester, Dresden, Monmouth, Wayne, and Farmington, and will be reporting our findings through this newsletter and blog on a weekly basis until harvest time. You can also get quick access to this information on the Pest Management web page at http://umaine.edu/ipm/.

The best way to manage strawberry pests is to scout your own fields regularly and often. You should start scouting regularly as soon as flower buds emerge from the crown. You should be able to identify the major pests and their damage, and be able to determine if control measures are necessary. To properly scout your fields you may want a copy of the Strawberry Production Guide for the Northeast, Midwest and Eastern Canada. This contains detailed information on strawberry pest identification and monitoring, and also provides information on all other aspects of strawberry production. It may be purchased for $45.00 per copy from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publications Catalog online.

Clipper Beetle on Strawberry Bud

Clipper Beetle on Strawberry Bud, photo by James Dill

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” are becoming active as flower buds begin to emerge. We have had reports of clipper activity within other New England states and in southern Maine. The clipper is a small weevil, which girdles strawberry flower buds, causing them to dry up and fall off the flower stalk. Scout for damage by counting the number of clipped buds in two feet of row length at five different locations in a field. If the average number of clipped buds per two-foot sample exceeds 1.2, or if live clippers are found, control measures are recommended. Damage is usually first noticed at the edges of the field. Border sprays may be effective in keeping this insect from becoming a problem in larger fields. Fields with a history of clipper problems will typically exceed threshold nearly every year. Insecticide options for clipper include Lorsban®, Brigade®, Sevin® and PyGanic®.

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph, Photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bugs adults will soon be laying eggs. Strawberries are one of their preferred hosts at this time of year. Once the eggs start to hatch, we’ll find the nymphs feeding in the flowers. The nymphs are small, active, yellow-green insects. It is important to scout for them regularly, as they can appear very quickly in warm weather. Tarnished plant bugs feed on the open strawberry flowers, causing the berries to have seedy ends. To scout for the nymphs shake 30 flower clusters (six clusters in five different locations) over a plate. If four or more of the clusters out of the 30 sampled have any nymphs, control measures should be taken. Be on the alert and scout your fields now! Insecticide options for tarnished plant bug include malathion, Brigade®, Danitol®, and PyGanic®.

Cyclamen Mite Damage on Strawberry Plant

Cyclamen Mite Damage on Strawberry Plant, photo by David Handley

Cyclamen mites: Plants showing weak growth and yellow, pinkish or blackened, crinkled leaves may be infested with cyclamen mite. Cyclamen mites are very small, smaller than spider mites, and reside in the crown of the strawberry plant feeding on the developing leaves and flower buds. They are very hard to see, even with magnification. Infested plants have shrunken distorted leaves and flower stalks, and produce few, if any, marketable fruit. Miticides such as Kelthane® and Portal® can be effective, but must be applied in lots of water to be sure that the material is carried down into the crowns where these mites reside. Thionex® may also be used, but registration of this product on strawberries will run out in July of this year.

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites can be a problem in the spring, especially for plants under row covers. This is often where we first find mites. Spider mites will reproduce rapidly when warmer weather arrives, so it is important to scout for them regularly. Spider mites feed on the undersides of strawberry leaves, rasping the plant tissue and sucking the sap. Infested leaves will develop yellow flecking and a bronzed appearance. The plants become weakened and stunted. Fields that have had excessive nitrogen fertilizer and/or row covers tend to be most susceptible to mite injury. To scout for mites, collect 60 leaves from various locations in the field and examine the undersides for the presence of mites. Mites are very small – you may need a hand lens to see them. Chemical control options for two-spotted spider mites include Acramite®, Portal®, Nealta® Savey®, Zeal®, Vendex®, Oberon®, Brigade®, Danitol® and JMS Stylet Oil® (oils will cause plant injury if used in combination with captan or within 14 days of an application of sulfur).

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub, photo by David Handley

Root weevil management
Fields that were infested with root weevils last summer should be inspected for grubs this spring. Infested plants appear week and stunted, usually in somewhat circular patches in a field. Digging under the plants will reveal small (1/4”-1/2”) crescent-shaped legless grubs. Typically, the grubs begin to pupate when the plants are in bloom. A soil drench of Platinum® (thiamethoxam) insecticide during the spring and/or fall when the grubs are active in the soil can provide control. However, Platinum® has a 50 day pre-harvest interval, so it is too late for applications in most fruiting fields this year. Platinum® may also be used as a pre-plant or planting treatment for root weevils. It is not too late to put on an application of nematodes to control the grubs (optimal timing is about mid-May). Two species of nematodes appear to offer the best control of root weevil grubs. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Hb) appears to be the best candidate for control of root weevils when the soil temperature is above 60 degrees, and is available from Green Methods, www.greenmethods.com/site-info; the Integrated Biocontrol Network, www.biconet.com; and Koppert Biological Systems, www.koppertonline.com.

Nematodes are living organisms and they can be killed if they are misapplied. Order nematodes ahead of time and be ready to apply them through a sprayer or irrigation soon after they arrive. Refrigerate them if you cannot apply right away. Do not apply nematodes using a sprayer with a piston pump. Use clean equipment, removing all screens finer than 50-mesh. Apply nematodes in early morning or evening in a high volume of water to already moist soil, pre-irrigating if needed. Apply another ¼ inch of irrigation after application to wash them onto and into the soil. Researchers and suppliers recommended 250 (if banded in the row) to 500 million per acre, at a cost of $100-$200 per acre depending on volume and source. Nematodes tend to work best in heavily infested fields. Strawberry plants can recover their vigor remarkably well if crown feeding has not occurred and diseases haven’t taken over the roots.

Once the adults become active in July, bifenthrin (Brigade®) will provide some control if used at the highest labeled rates. The best timing for this spray is at night during the peak feeding activity of adults, before they start laying eggs, or about the time harvest ends.

White Grub

White Grub, Photo by David Handley

White grubs: Weak growth noted in fields this spring may also be the result of white grubs feeding on the roots of newer plantings. These grubs are the larvae of beetles, including European chafer and Asiatic garden beetle. They differ from the larvae of black vine weevil and strawberry root weevil in that they have legs and a swollen anterior (rear end), and they tend to be larger. Their feeding weakens the plants by reducing the number of roots. The grubs can be found by pulling up weak plants and sifting through the soil that surrounded the roots. Controlling white grubs once they have become established in a field can be difficult. These tend to be more of a problem in new fields that have been planted following a grass rotation crop, because the adults prefer to lay their eggs in sod. Admire Pro® and Platinum® insecticides are labeled for control of white grubs and should be applied within two hours of irrigation or rainfall to be sure the chemical gets into the root zone. Admire Pro® requires a 14 day to harvest interval, while Platinum® requires a 50 day pre-harvest interval.

Gray Mold on Strawberries

Gray Mold on Strawberries, photo by James Dill

Diseases: Bloom is a critical time to protect strawberry fruit against gray mold caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, especially when conditions have been damp. Two to three sprays of fungicide during bloom are typically required to provide good protection against this disease. If you tank mix insecticides and fungicides, avoid spraying when bees are active. Botrytis cinerea overwinters on old leaves and plant debris. Fruit infections take place almost exclusively through the flowers, so gray mold control efforts must be focused on the bloom period. If the bloom period is dry and/or good fungicide coverage is maintained, incidence of gray mold at harvest should be low.

There are several excellent fungicide choices for control of gray mold in strawberries. Elevate® (fenhexamid) has good to excellent activity against Botrytis. Captevate® is a pre-mix of captan and fenhexamid and has a broader spectrum of activity than Elevate® alone. Switch® (cyprodinil and fludioxonil), Scala® (pyramethanil) and Pristine® (pyraclostrobin and boscalid) are also excellent products for gray mold control. Topsin M® + captan is also a good fungicide combination, but remember that captan is strictly a protectant and can be washed off by rain or irrigation water. Thiram is similarly effective but also susceptible to wash-off.

The fungicides Cabrio® (pyraclostrobin) and Abound® (azoxystrobin) are NOT suitable for gray mold control, but are effective against anthracnose and other fruit rot and leaf spot diseases. All fungicides mentioned above have a 0-day pre-harvest interval, except Topsin M® (1 day) and thiram (3 days). Remember to alternate fungicides with different modes of action for resistance management purposes.

Red Stele Symptoms on Strawberry Plant

Red Stele Symptoms on Strawberry Plant, photo by David Handley

Red stele root rot
Although early spring conditions have not been especially conducive to red stele development, you should still be alert for this root rot if any fields appear to be weak, stunted or dying. To diagnose red stele, pull up a few plants that look weak and scrape the roots of these plants to see if the center of the root, known as the stele, is rusty red in color, instead of the normal white. The red color would indicate an infection. Red stele is caused by Phytophthora fragariae, a soil pathogen that infects roots when soils are wet with temperatures around 50°F. The pathogen grows into the roots causing the plants to become weak, stunted and to eventually die. Symptoms are most evident in the spring, and can be mistaken for winter injury. Ridomil Gold®, Alliette® or Phostrol® are fungicides that can be applied in the late fall or early spring for control of red stele. Many varieties have some level of resistance to the disease, but the most effective management strategy is to plant only into well-drained soils, and/or plant onto raised beds.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew, photo by David Handley

Powdery mildew: This fungus disease may first show up as purple or red blotches on the leaf petioles and flower stems in strawberry fields. Most of us are more familiar with the later symptoms of upward curling of the leaves and white, powdery growth on the undersides of the leaves. Check your fields for pinkish purple leaf and flower stem lesions as new leaves emerge. Pristine®, Cabrio®, Topsin-M®, captan, Procure®, Torino® and JMS Stylet Oil® are presently registered to control powdery mildew.

Angular leaf spot is a bacterial disease that is characterized by translucent leaf spots that may turn yellow and eventually black. The symptoms tend to start on the lower leaves but may move upwards as bacterial spores are splashed up by rain or irrigation water. Infection of the calyxes may result in a blackening of the berry stems and caps, reducing their marketability. Bacterial angular leaf spot is favored by extended cool, wet weather and nights with temperatures close to freezing. Frequent irrigation for frost protection can greatly encourage the development and spread of the disease, as will extended cool, damp weather. Susceptibility to this disease appears to vary significantly between varieties.

Angular Leaf Spot

Bacterial Angular Leaf Spot, Photo by David Handley

The copper-containing material Kocide®, can reduce the spread of this disease. Start spray applications before bloom to prevent multiplication of the bacteria on the leaves before they jump to the berry caps. Application of copper sprays after bloom can result in fruit injury and is not recommended. Hydrogen dioxide (OxiDate®) may also have some activity against angular leaf spot when used on strawberries as part of a gray mold management program.

Other Berries:

Raspberries are showing significant winter injury in some fields, especially among the less hardy varieties. Often more winter injury becomes apparent once the floricanes start to flower. Tip dieback often occurs due to winter damage to the vascular tissue within the canes.

Highbush blueberries are also showing significant winter injury in some fields, especially in more southern regions. Dark brown or black discoloration of last year’s shoot growth, and/or shriveling of the shoot tissue indicate winter injury and desiccation, frequently resulting in death of the flower buds. Mummy berry spores will soon start to be active. Expect infection periods to occur over the next few weeks, anytime there is a significant moisture event (rain, mist, fog). Protectant fungicides for mummy berry include Indar®, Orbit®, and Quilt Excel®.

The Twilight Meeting will be held on June 9th at MacDougal Orchards in Springvale. This meeting will focus on irrigation and will feature Trevor Hardy from Brookdale Farms to discuss irrigation options for fruit and vegetable growers. George Hamilton of the University of New Hampshire will also be on hand to discuss calibration of sprayers. We’ll have a tour of some of the fruit plantings on the farm and see the new deer exclusion project being set up around the orchard. We’ll also discuss the pest situation around the state, and the current crop outlook. The meeting will run from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. More details will follow. Hope to see you in Springvale.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME 04259         Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment. A Member of the University of Maine System.

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

Pick a day for Maine Vegetable and Fruit School

March 9th, 2016 10:43 AM

New grape varieties and management options for the spotted wing Drosophila will be among the topics covered at the Maine Vegetable and Fruit School to be held in Portland and Bangor in March.

Farmers can attend the one-day school from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 at Seasons Event and Conference Center, 155 Riverside St., Portland, or March 16 at Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center, 701 Hogan Road, Bangor.

Nourse Farms in Massachusetts is the sponsor and University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association are hosts. Recertification credits are available.

The $45 per-person fee includes lunch; preregistration is required. For more information, contact David Handley at 933.2100, david.handley@maine.edu. Additional information, including registration, is online. To request a disability accommodation, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: October 23, 2015

October 27th, 2015 9:48 AM

SPOTTED WING DROSOPHILA UPDATE: OCTOBER 23, 2015

Click on photos to enlarge.

David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist; James Dill, Pest Management Specialist; Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology/Entomology

Spotted Wing Drosophila Larva in Blackberry

SWD Larvae in Blackberry, photo by David Handley

Spotted wing drosophila populations have not shown any dramatic shifts in the past two weeks. Numbers at all sites remain at levels high enough to justify control, if any fields are still being harvested. Although there have been increases in fly populations in some sites and decreases in others, this variation is relatively small compared to populations we have seen over the past four years; and is probably not significant. What is more notable this year is the lack of a sharp increase in fly populations at the end of the season. Numbers this year are not only lower than in the past, but have remained relatively stable as the season progressed. Over the past few years we have noted a sharp increase in populations a few weeks after we start catching a significant number of flies. Whether the lack of an increase this year is due to a lower overwintering population, fewer flies coming up from the south on storm fronts, more predators and parasites, or some combination of these factors is not yet known. Hopefully, further monitoring and research will provide some answers.

Several growers have asked if they should apply a “clean-up” spray after they have finished harvesting to reduce overwintering populations of spotted wing drosophila. The short answer is “don’t bother”. Such sprays are very unlikely to have an impact on populations next year as most of the flies that come into a field very likely overwinter in another location. What may be more effective is to do a good job of pruning your plants this winter to allow more light and air movement in the planting. This will create a drier environment to discourage the flies, and improve spray penetration to make your insecticide applications more effective.

Town Spotted wing
drosophila weekly
trap catch 10/9/15
Spotted wing
drosophila weekly
trap catch 10/16/15
Spotted wing
drosophila weekly
trap catch 10/23/15
Limington 202 438 179
Limerick 840 363 165
Wells 1392 405 1196
Cape Elizabeth 233 1157 193
Bowdoinham 78 129 135
Dresden* 1743 1715 1499
Freeport 28 2
Buxton 244 262 243
Livermore Falls 57 288
Mechanic Falls 122 100 59
Poland Spring 51 39 29
Monmouth* 99 117 457
Wales 17 247 42

*Not sprayed

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap with One Male SWD Circled

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap, Male SWD Circled, photo by Kaytlin Woodman

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME 04259          Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

For more information on identifying spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and updates on populations around the state, visit our SWD blog.

Other IPM Web Pages
Michigan State University
Pennsylvania State University
University of New Hampshire

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: October 13, 2015

October 14th, 2015 11:27 AM

SPOTTED WING DROSOPHILA UPDATE: OCTOBER 13, 2015

Click on photos to enlarge.

David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist; James Dill, Pest Management Specialist; Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology/Entomology

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap Catch

Spotted Wing Drosophila Trap Catch, photo by Christina Hillier

Spotted wing drosophila populations are building up in some southern and coastal locations. Numbers at all sites remain at high enough levels to be of concern in any fields still picking fruit. The most significant increases this week occurred in Limerick, Wells, and Dresden. Other sites remained relatively stable or had slight decreases in numbers. There may still be a late season spike in fly counts if we get more moisture and weather coming up from the south, although very cold weather anticipated later this week may put an end to the harvest season for most fields. All fields could still experience significant infestations in ripening fruit, so management of spotted wing drosophila should continue until harvest is finished. A seven-day spray schedule of an appropriate insecticide should provide adequate control of the flies at this time. (See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for more information and details.) Clean up any waste fruit, and keep the fields on a frequent harvest schedule to further reduce drosophila populations in a field.

Town Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/22/15 Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 10/2/15 Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 10/8/15
Limington 65 354 202
Limerick 160 254 840
Wells 63 71 1392
Cape Elizabeth 175 233
Bowdoinham 151 129 78
Dresden* 306 945 1743
Freeport 359 28
Buxton 36 462 244
Livermore Falls 77 16 57
Mechanic Falls 13 140 122
Poland Spring 62 51
Monmouth* 338 403 99
Wales 266 143 17

*Not sprayed

Spotted Wing Drosophila Larvain in Raspberry

SWD Larvae in Raspberry, photo by David Handley

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME 04259          Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

For more information on identifying spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and updates on populations around the state, visit our SWD blog.

Other IPM Web Pages
Michigan State University
Pennsylvania State University
University of New Hampshire

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

 

 

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: October 5, 2015

October 5th, 2015 11:00 AM

SPOTTED WING DROSOPHILA UPDATE: OCTOBER 5, 2015

Click on photos to enlarge.

David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist; James Dill, Pest Management Specialist; Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology/Entomology

Female Spotted Wing Drosophila

Female Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Christina Hillier

Spotted wing drosophila populations continue to hold at high enough levels to be of concern in any fields still harvesting fruit. While some sites have seen an increase in numbers, we have not yet seen a significant late season spike in fly counts that we have experienced in previous years with this new pest. This could still happen as we get more moisture and weather coming up from the south. Counts in all fields are high enough to cause significant infestations in ripening fruit, so management of spotted wing drosophila should continue in all fields still being harvested. A five to seven day spray schedule of an appropriate insecticide should provide adequate control of the flies, until and unless we see populations rise. (See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for more information and details.) We have been finding larvae in waste fruit on the ground at some sites. Cleaning up any waste fruit can help reduce populations in a field, and regular harvesting of all ripe fruit can also help slow the build up of this pest.

Town Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/11/15 Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/22/15 Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 10/2/15
Limington 89 65 354
Limerick 217 160 254
Wells 69 63 71
Cape Elizabeth 1042  175
Bowdoinham 131 151 129
Dresden* 96 306 945
Freeport  359
Buxton 728 36 462
Livermore Falls 51 77 16
Mechanic Falls 55 13 140
Poland Spring 580 62
Monmouth* 1217 338 403
Wales 221 266 143

*Not sprayed

SWD Maggot in Raspberry

SWD Maggot in Raspberry, photo by David Handley

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME 04259          Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

For more information on identifying spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and updates on populations around the state, visit our SWD blog.

Other IPM Web Pages
Michigan State University
Pennsylvania State University
University of New Hampshire

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

 

 

 

Researchers receive $1 million to boost organic grain production in Maine

September 28th, 2015 1:26 PM

Researchers at the University of Maine have received a $1 million federal grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture to continue their efforts in boosting organic grain production in northern New England.

“We are very excited by this new USDA award in that it recognizes the impact of the work we’ve done with farmers, millers and bakers with our prior grant to build a local, organic bread wheat economy in our region,” Ellen Mallory, University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist and associate professor of sustainable agriculture at UMaine, says.

The grant — which will be shared with researchers at the University of Vermont — will provide the needed support to expand the local organic grain sector to include other grains including oats, barley, rye and spelt.

The project is aimed to help farmers combat critical constraints in organic grain production by designing robust weed and disease management strategies, establishing efficient legume green manure systems and expanding social networks within their communities.

The researchers will work to develop and evaluate sowing and hoeing equipment and rotation budgeting tools to help farmers reduce production risks.

This is one of many collaborative projects Mallory and her UMaine colleagues have conducted with the University of Vermont to advance local grain production, processing and use in the region.

“By working together, we are able to test varieties and production methods over more sites, or in some cases divide up research questions that need addressing. The results are relevant to everyone in the region. As well, we hope to connect the farmers and grain-based business across states,” says Mallory.

For the current project, UMaine will receive 60 percent of funds as the lead institution.

Though New England has excelled in developing organic dairy and vegetable sectors, it lags behind other regions for organic grain production, says Mallory. However, she notes that the recent increase in organic wheat production in Maine and Vermont — from 125 hectares in 2008 to 700 hectares in 2013 — demonstrates New England’s potential for growth.

Mallory’s research will focus on optimizing green manure systems for organic grain production by evaluating different legume species and legume/grass mixtures for their ability to produce nitrogen to support the growth of grain crops. She will then compare different green manure termination methods to see how the timing of nitrogen release matches up with crops needs.

The project also will address weed management, with weeds being a critical production challenge for organic grain farmers who are not allowed to use synthetic herbicides.

Insufficient weed control not only reduces grain crop yields directly, it also discourages farmers from growing certain crops that can provide much needed rotational diversity, including soybean, field peas and canola.

Eric Gallandt, professor of weed ecology and management at UMaine, will lead the project efforts to evaluate different planting and cultivation methods from northern Europe that may provide more reliable weed control. He will work with an agricultural engineer from UVM to create designs for how farmers can adapt their existing equipment to utilize these methods.

Another important constraint the researchers will address is leaf- and seed-borne diseases, which is a serious threat to long-term organic grain production. Heather Darby, the project leader from UVM, will oversee a region-wide survey to identify the most prevalent disease pressures on organic farms. She will test organically approved treatments for head blight, Fusarium, a disease that causes problems in New England.

To create a regional organic grain economy, the team will work to strengthen knowledge, skills and networks among farmers, processors, end-users and educators. Winter workshops, field days and farm tours will provide learning and networking opportunities within each state.

The grant also will support farmer exchanges and video conferencing between Maine and Vermont, as well as with counterparts in neighboring Canadian provinces.

The project, titled “Innovative Sowing, Cultivation, and Rotation Strategies to Address Weed, Fertility, and Disease Challenges in Organic Food and Feed Grains,” involves nine researchers from UMaine and UVM and will span four years.

Contact: Amanda Clark, 207.581.3721

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: September 22, 2015

September 22nd, 2015 11:05 AM

SPOTTED WING DROSOPHILA UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 22, 2015

Click on photos to enlarge.

David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist; James Dill, Pest Management Specialist; Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology/Entomology

Male and Female Spotted Wing Drosophila Flies

Male (left) and Female (right) Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

There has not been a significant increase in spotted wing drosophila populations at most trapping sites this week, and in some locations captures were lower than last week. Hot, dry weather tends to reduce drosophila activity, as they prefer cooler, more humid conditions. However, populations in all sites are still high enough to cause significant infestations in ripening fruit, so management of spotted wing drosophila should remain a high priority for growers who are still harvesting. At this point, a five to seven day spray schedule of an appropriate insecticide should provide adequate control of the flies. (See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for more information and details.) As the temperatures cool down and more rain moves into the state, it is likely that populations will increase. This will put increased pressure on the ripe fruit remaining, and more frequent sprays may become necessary to prevent infestations.

Town Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/4/15 Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/11/15 Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/22/15
Limington 228 89 65
Limerick 23 217 160
Wells 35 69 63
Cape Elizabeth 399 1042
Bowdoinham 90 131 151
Dresden* 58 96 306
Nobleboro 111 53
Buxton 127 728 36
Livermore Falls 10 51 77
Mechanic Falls 11 55 13
Poland Spring 54 580
Monmouth* 1200 1217 338
Wales 108 221 266
Caribou 45

*Not sprayed

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME 04259          Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

Spotted Wing Drosophila Larvae in Raspberry

Spotted Wing Drosophila Larvae in Raspberry, photo by David Handley

For more information on identifying spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and updates on populations around the state, visit our SWD blog.

Other SWD websites:
Michigan State University
Pennsylvania State University
University of New Hampshire

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Crop insurance webinar for veterans taking up farming

September 21st, 2015 12:00 PM

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Crop Insurance and Risk Management program announces a new webinar, “Crop Insurance 101 for Beginning Farmers who are Military Veterans.”

The webinar introduces crop insurance as a risk management tool, how to navigate options, and new incentives for beginning farmers. The program aims to educate farmers about crop protection options and provide risk assessment and business management skills to help improve farm profitability and reduce risk.

The webinar is available online. For more information, call Erin Roche, UMaine Extension program manager, at 949.2490.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: September 11, 2015

September 14th, 2015 2:32 PM

SPOTTED WING DROSOPHILA UPDATE:  September 11, 2015

Click on photos to enlarge.

David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist; James Dill, Pest Management Specialist; Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology/Entomology

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

Spotted wing drosophila trap captures have been increasing in most locations over the past two weeks. We have been anticipating a substantial increase in fly numbers for some time, and this may be the start of it. Some of the trap count increases may be related to there being less fruit available as the season winds down, which makes our traps more attractive to the flies. However, we have been getting calls from growers that are now finding infested fruit, suggesting that the pressure on any fruit remaining is high. Growers who still have berries to harvest should be able to manage drosophila with a five to seven day spray schedule of an appropriate insecticide. (See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for more information and details.) Over the past two seasons, we have not seen drosophila numbers decline until after several hard frosts in November. However, growers should stop spraying once harvest is complete. Continuing to spray after harvest will not have a significant impact on next year’s drosophila populations.

Town Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/4/15 Spotted Wing Drosophila weekly trap catch 9/11/15
Limington 228 89
Limerick 23 217
Wells 35 69
Cape Elizabeth 399 1042
Bowdoinham 90 **
Dresden 58 96
Nobleboro 111 **
Buxton 127 728
Livermore Falls 10 51
Mechanic Falls 11 55
Poland Spring 54 580
Monmouth 1200* 1217
Wales 108 221
Springvale 372 1217
Fayette 102 163

*Not sprayed
**Traps not collected yet

Spotted Wing Drosophila Larva in Blackberry

SWD Larvae in Blackberry, photo by David Handley

For more information on identifying spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and updates on populations around the state, visit our SWD blog.

Other SWD sites include:
Michigan State University’s website,
Pennsylvania State University’s SWD website, and
University of New Hampshire’s SWD web page.

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME 04259          Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Sweet Corn IPM Newsletter No. 12 – September 11, 2015

September 14th, 2015 8:09 AM

Sweet CornSweet Corn IPM Newsletter No. 12 – September 11, 2015
Click on photos to enlarge.

Last Issue for 2015!

PEST THREAT TO SILKING CORN RISING

Late Silking Corn Needs Protection From Corn Earworm, Fall Armyworm

This will be the final issue of the Sweet Corn IPM Newsletter for the 2015 season. I would like to thank all of the growers who participated in the program this year, and our team of IPM scouts including Kara Rowley, Tammy Cushman, Sabrina Beck, Griffin Dill and Sean McAuley, with help from Jason Lilley. Have questions, comments or suggestions about the program? Please call or email us at 207.933.2100 or david.handley@maine.edu.

SITUATION
Hot, dry weather is bringing the season to a close rapidly, as late corn is moving quickly to maturity. Many fields are quite dry, but predicted rain this weekend could help alleviate stressed plants. Pest pressure has risen slightly in some locations, but is still moderate for this time of year. Most fields with fresh silks remaining will need to stay on a 4 to 6 day spray schedule.

Corn Earworm Larvae

Corn Earworm Larvae, photo by David Handley

European corn borer: Moths were caught in traps in Poland Spring, Nobleboro and Warren this week. Both Poland Spring and Nobleboro were over the recommended spray threshold of 5 moths; but the fields are under a spray interval for corn earworm, so no additional sprays should be needed.

Corn earworm: Moth captures were slightly higher in most sites this week. A 6-day spray interval for corn earworm on silking corn was recommended in Sabattus and Wales. A 5-day spray interval was recommended in Nobleboro, Warren, Biddeford, North Berwick and one Wells site. A 4-day spray interval was recommended in Cape Elizabeth, Dayton and Poland Spring. Unless very high numbers of corn earworm and/or fall armyworm moths are being caught, sprays should stop once silks have dried.

Fall Armyworm on Corn Silk

Fall Armyworm on Corn Silk, photo by David Handley

 Fall armyworm: Moth captures were generally higher this week, with most locations over the control threshold. Silking fields in Biddeford, Cape Elizabeth, Dayton, North Berwick, Poland Spring, Sabattus, Wales, Warren and Wells were over the control threshold of three moths in silking corn. However, with the exception of one Wells site, all of these locations were under a spray recommendation for corn earworm; so no additional sprays should be needed. One pre-silking field in Wayne was over the 15% threshold for larval feeding.

Fall is a great time for soil testing: Late summer and early fall is one of the best times to seed cover crops to prevent soil erosion and to retain soil nutrients. It is also a great time to take soil tests from your fields. Having soil test results back before the ground freezes gives you time to add any needed supplements to the soils, such as lime to correct the pH; phosphorus, potassium, magnesium or other nutrients to correct deficiencies; or manure to increase organic matter. Fall applications of lime and some nutrients (not nitrogen, as it is prone to leaching) are often better, because the fields are drier than in the spring; so its easier to move equipment around, and the nutrients will have time to be worked into the soil before the plants need them. You can pick up soil test boxes and forms at any county office of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or call us here at Highmoor Farm, if you’d like us to send you some. For details on soil testing at the University of Maine Analytical Laboratory and Soil Testing Service, you can visit their website.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME 04259          Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

Sweet Corn IPM Weekly Scouting Summary

Location CEW
Moths
ECB
Moths
FAW
Moths
Recommendations / Comments
Biddeford 7 0 63 5-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Bowdoinham 0 0 0 No spray recommended
Cape Elizabeth 32 0 34 4-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Dayton 9 0 6 4-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Nobleboro 4 14 1 5-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
No. Berwick 7 0 20 5-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Poland Spring 11 10 6 4-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Sabattus 3 0 6 6-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Wales 3 0 6 6-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Warren 4 4 43 5-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn
Wayne 0 0 0 One spray for FAW in pre-silking corn
Wells I 0 0 34 One spray recommended on silking corn for FAW
Wells II 7 0 32 5-day spray interval recommended on all silking corn

CEW: Corn earworm (Only fresh silking corn should be sprayed for this insect.)
ECB:  European corn borer
FAW: Fall armyworm

Corn Earworm Spray Thresholds for Pheromone Traps

Moths caught per week Moths caught per night Spray interval
0.0 to 1.4 0.0 to 0.2 No spray
1.5 to 3.5 0.3 to 0.5 Spray every 6 days
3.6 to 7.0 0.6 to 1.0 Spray every 5 days
7.1 to 91 1.1 to 13.0 Spray every 4 days
More than 91 More than 13 Spray every 3 days

Thresholds apply only to corn with exposed fresh silk. Lengthen spray intervals by one day if maximum daily temperature is less than 80°F.

European Corn Borer Thresholds
Whorl stage: 30% or more of plants scouted show injury.
Pre-tassel-silk: 15% or more of plants scouted show injury.
Silk: 5 or more moths caught in pheromone traps in one week.

IPM Web Pages:
https://extension.umaine.edu/ipm/
http://www.pestwatch.psu.edu/sweet_corn.htm
http://ag.umass.edu/integrated-pest-management/umass-extension-programs

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the State of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.