All posts by Elaine Roddy

Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Conventions – don’t miss these sessions

The program schedule for the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention is mind boggling. With over 36 different sessions and 144 different presentations, you can be forgiven for not knowing exactly where to start.

For the 2018 conference, there will be several vegetable specific sessions: IPM Strategies in Field VegetablesThe 4 C’s of Soil Health
for Vegetable Production
Specialty Root VegetablesCucurbits and Market Gardening Vegetables.

Other sessions that will be of interest to vegetable growers include: BiostimulantsFertigationHerbicide Resistance –
New Technologies
Promoting Pollinators on the FarmWash Water Handling and Does IPM Contribute to Pesticide Resistance?

The 2018 convention will also host a number of business management related sessions: Finding Money and Managing It BetterMarketing 101: Opportunities in the Digital World, and Labour Productivity on the Farm.

It’s the Root that Counts with Cover Crops

By Anne Verhallen, Soil Management Specialist (Horticulture)

Every time I see a bare field this time of year I just think – what a missed opportunity – an opportunity to get a cover crop in and build soil. Cover crops should be a key part of any soil maintenance package. Adding a cover crop into the rotation not only protects the soil over winter but also adds to the length of time that the soil has an active living root system.

Active and living are the key here. Roots take in water and nutrients from the soil but don’t forget plant roots continuously slough off and they also produce and secrete compounds back into the soil. These are called root exudates. These exudates can be waste materials from plant processes or they can be compounds with a known function like lubrication or defence. Research has shown that, in their own way plants continuously communicate with other plants and other organisms, often through these root exudates.

Soil adheres to the root exudates on this oat plant
Soil adheres to the root exudates on this oat plant

Continue reading It’s the Root that Counts with Cover Crops

Ridgetown Horticulture Crops Field Research Assistants – Summer Job Posting

Job Ad: 2018 Horticulture Crop Summer Student Field Research Assistant Positions (up to 3 positions in Ridgetown)
Organization: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Male Pumpkin Flower For Pollen Analysis
Male Pumpkin Flower For Pollen Analysis

Position Title: Summer Student Field Research Assistant
Job Term: Temporary for 16 – 18 weeks
Location: Ridgetown, ON
Salary: $14.85/ hour, based on a 36.25 hour work week
Closing Date: February 2, 2018

This position will provide an excellent opportunity for those interested in a career in crop production, research or the agricultural service sector. This position will provide the opportunity to learn about diseases, insects, and agronomy on a wide range of vegetable crops commonly grown in Ontario. Continue reading Ridgetown Horticulture Crops Field Research Assistants – Summer Job Posting

Corn Earworm and Late Planted Sweet Corn

Corn earworm pressure often increases as we head into September. With turbulent weather patterns originating in the Gulf of Mexico, flights of airborne moths are generally quite high.  As the tradewinds mix with the cooler air of the great lakes, these high populations are dropped into Southern Ontario.  Any sweet corn at the green silk stage is highly susceptible to corn earworm infestation.

For earworm control, cover green silks with an insecticide such as Coragen or Voliam Express.  Avoid insecticides from the pyrethroid family.  Corn earworm are known to be resistant to the pyrethroids.  Lannate TNG is a good rotational partner for Coragen and Voliam Express.

Heliothis trap for corn earworm monitoring

Late blight alert – July 27th, 2017

This information is updated from an earlier article by Janice LeBoeuf.

We have had multiple reports of late blight in conventionally managed tomato fields this week.  Typically, this disease is well managed in tomatoes with a broadspectrum fungicide program including chlorothalonil.  However, high disease pressure due to environmental conditions, combined with a dense leaf canopy and rapid growth may have resulted in poor spray coverage and reduced efficacy.

Commercial growers should scout often and ensure they are using fungicides with good late blight activity in their fungicide program.  When late blight is in the area, spray intervals should be shortened.

Under continued high disease pressure, growers should consider adding a targeted late blight fungicide to the spray program.  If late blight has been identified in a field, use a fungicide with curative and antisporulent activity, see the table below for late blight fungicides and their properties. Continue reading Late blight alert – July 27th, 2017

Time to Start Scouting for Powdery Mildew

This is a re-post from 2016 – Late-July to early-August is the key time for powdery mildew management!  With any disease, preventative management provides the best control.

Powdery mildew typically arrives in Southern Ontario in mid-to-late July. Plants are most susceptible to infection during the fruit sizing and development. Poor control results in decreased yield and poor fruit quality at harvest. The threshold for treatment is 1 lesions/50 plants. Optimum powdery mildew control is a combination of variety selection, fungicide timing and fungicide selection.

Powdery Mildew Lesion on the Lower Leaf Surface
Powdery Mildew Lesion on the Lower Leaf Surface

Cheryl Trueman, a vegetable pest management researcher at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus, has been conducting powdery mildew efficacy trials since 2009. In these trials, several products consistently provided good control of powdery mildew. These products are powdery mildew targeted, and have a single site mode of action. To prevent the development of resistance, it is essential to always rotate between different fungicide groups and/or tank mix with a broad spectrum fungicide.

Powdery Mildew Targeted Fungicides Showing Consistent Control in the Ridgetown Field Trials:

Group 13: Quintec (quinoxyfen)
Quintec was the most consistent powdery mildew product tested in Ridgetown. It provided excellent control in 4/5 years and good control in 1/5 years tested.

Group U8: Vivando (metrafenone)
Vivando provided excellent control in 1/3 years and good control in 2/3 years and tested.

Group 7: Fontelis (penthiopyrad), Aprovia (benzovindiflupyr), Sercadis (fluapyroxad) and Pristine (boscalid/pyraclostrobin).
Fontellis was somewhat less consistent. Control with this produce ranged from excellent to poor, depending on the year. It provided excellent control in 1/5 years, good control in 2/5 years and poor control in 2/5 years. Note: Aprovia, Sercadis and Pristine were not tested in the Ridgetown Campus trials.

Group 3: Inspire (difenoconazole), Proline (prothioconazole) and Quadris Top (azoxystrobin/difenoconazole)
Inspire provided a level of control similar to Fontelis; good control in 3/5 years, and poor control in 2/5 years. Proline and Quadris Top were only tested for one year in the Ridgetown trials, in which they both provided good control.

Fungicides containing chlorothalonil (Bravo ZN and Echo) provided a lower level of powdery mildew control, but are still better than the untreated checks. They also control a broad range of other foliar diseases including scab and alternaria.

Research in Ontario and other jurisdictions indicates that the group 11 (QoI) fungicides, Cabrio (pyraclostrobin) and azoxystrobin (a component of Quadris Top) no longer control powdery mildew. However, they may provide control of other cucurbit diseases such as anthracnose and alternaria.

Additional reading: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/IPM/english/cucurbits/diseases-and-disorders/powdery-mildew.html#advanced