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Originally posted on onspecialtycrops:

By Sean Westerveld and Melanie Filotas, OMAFRA

Over the last few weeks we have had a number of questions about “mildew”.  Mildew can refer to either downy or powdery mildew, and it seems that some growers have been confusing the two.  While both cause fuzzy growth on plant leaves, that is where the similarities end.  Downy and powdery mildew are actually very different diseases with different management strategies, and mistaking the two can be costly.

Downy and powdery mildew are common to a wide variety of fruit, vegetable and even some field crops.  They tend to be relatively specific, attacking only one or a few closely related crops.  So, for example, the downy mildew of basil will not affect cucurbits, and vice versa.  Some crops are affected by both a powdery mildew and a downy mildew disease (e.g. hops and cucurbits).

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Hannah Fraser, Entomology Horticulture Program Lead, OMAFRA

Brown marmorated stink bugAn adult brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) was caught in a trap at another one of our survey sites in Niagara, near Niagara-on-the-Lake. The presence of adults in traps indicates growers / consultants need to be on the look-out for this pest in their crops. It is very easy to miss BMSB when it is at low levels. This pest is highly mobile, and the adults can move in from adjacent areas at any point in the growing season. See the OMAFRA website for management recommendations. It is likely this will be revised as we learn more about the biology of BMSB in Ontario.

Brown marmorated stink bugs have been confirmed as established (breeding populations) in Hamilton, London, Newboro, St. Catharines, and Windsor, ON. In addition, we have captured adult BMSB in pheromone traps set up on commercial farms near Beamsville, Cedar Springs (2013), Essex, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. David’s, Continue Reading »

Hannah Fraser – Entomology Program Lead – Horticulture, OMAFRA; Jim Chaput – Provincial Minor Use Coordinator, OMAFRA

From ONvegetables in The Grower, 2014

At the 20th Annual Diagnostic Day in Ridgetown in July, we asked growers and consultants to guess what species is the most important pollinator of Cucurbita pepo (squash, pumpkin and zucchini) in North America. Almost everyone replied “honey bees”. A few mentioned “bumble bees” (a good guess as these are second on the list). Fewer still answered “squash bees”.

Cucurbita pepo produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers produce both pollen and nectar, while the female flowers produce nectar. Each female flower has an ovary under the flower that resembles the fruit it will become following pollination. Poor pollination results in small, unmarketable fruit. And since these flowers bloom less than a day, there is only a small window in which pollination can occur.

The pollen of these crops is large, sticky and spiny – characteristics which make it relatively unattractive to honey bees. Surveys of farms where C. pepo are grown indicate the (hoary) squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa, outnumber honey bees, bumble bees and other pollinators by several orders of magnitude. Indeed, where squash bees are present and abundant, honey bees are essentially redundant, in terms of pollination requirements for these crops. Continue Reading »

Amanda Green – Weed Management Program Lead – Horticulture, OMAFRA

As some vegetable crops are being harvested and June bearing strawberry harvest has wrapped up some growers may be considering planting a cover crop. Cover crops give the soil many benefits such as increasing organic matter, improving soil aggregation or fixing or scavenging nitrogen. One thing to consider when selecting your cover crop is the herbicides that you applied earlier this year and the previous year.

Some residual herbicides, mainly those that are soil applied pre-emergence (PRE), can have a negative impact on crop establishment and cause visible injury. PhD candidate María Angélica Rojas, from the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Darren Robinson, has studied the effects of three PRE herbicides applied in the spring on the functionality of subsequent cover crops to benefit the soil. The herbicides studied were: Continue Reading »

Christoph Kessel, Nutrition (Horticulture) Program Lead, OMAFRA

A Phosphorus PrimerLake Erie, algal blooms, phosphorus and agriculture.

These have been in the news over the past weeks. Earlier this year The International Joint Commission released its report A Balanced Diet for Lake Erie. It notes the following three points that are important for Ontario agriculture:

  1. Agricultural operations are a major source of phosphorus loadings into Lake Erie.
  2. These loadings result primarily from fertilizer application and manure.
  3. The main loading into the lake occurs during spring snowmelt and heavy rainstorms.

A Phosphorus Primer: best management practices for reducing phosphorus from agricultural sources is a 38-page booklet outlining Best Management Practices (BMPs) for on-farm management to keep phosphorus in its place. Continue Reading »

Based on information from the website insectforecast.com, it appears the risk of corn earworm flights into Southwestern Ontario has increased significantly over the past week. The University of Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News also reports increased trap counts this week.

Female earworm moths lay their eggs on sweet corn at the green silk stage.  One female can lay up to 100 eggs per night over a 10 night period.  The eggs incubate for 2- 10 days, depending on the temperature. After the egg hatches there is a narrow window of opportunity to control this pest before it enters the protection of the husk.

During periods of potential corn earworm activity, apply a corn earworm insecticide at 50-60% silk, with a second insecticide application 4 days later. Note: corn earworm populations may have a high degree of resistance to pyrethroid insecticides. The level of resistance varies greatly from year-to-year.

Pheromone trapping is an excellent tool to help monitor localized populations in specific sweet corn fields. For more information on trapping, visit Ontario CropIPM.

Two different types of pheromone traps used for corn earworm. The heliothis trap (rear) and the hartstack trap (front).

Two different types of pheromone traps used for corn earworm. The heliothis trap (rear) and the hartstack trap (front).

The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Processors Association (OF&VPA) are continuing with a bursary fund to support and encourage individuals pursuing a career in any aspect of the processing vegetable industry. These organizations are working together to ensure that there are new individuals who will have the interest, skills and abilities to further develop and grow this sector of Ontario’s agri-food economy.

Sponsor donations allow the OPVG and the OF&VPA to offer up to five bursaries to students this fall. These include bursaries in memory of former OPVG directors Jim Whitson and Ken Epp. Note that the Jim Whitson bursary is awarded to a student attending Ridgetown College. The award in memory of Ken Epp receives an additional $1,000 from the fund established in his name by the OPVG. Continue Reading »

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