"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." --Aristotle

Address any questions or comments regarding this newsletter to the individual authors listed after each article or to its editor, Rick Weinzierl, 217-333-6651, weinzier@illinois.edu. To receive e-mail notification of new postings of this newsletter, call or write the same number or address.

In This Issue:

Upcoming Programs (lots of listings for beginning and established growers)

Regional Reports (from southern and western Illinois)

Fruit Production and Pest Management (brown marmorated stink bug)

Vegetable Production and Pest Management (biological control of insects and mites in high tunnels)

Local Foods Issues (Zachary Grant, new Extension Educator in Cook County)

University of Illinois Extension educators and specialists in fruit and vegetable production and pest management

Upcoming Programs

Check the Illinois SARE calendar for a full list of programs and links for registration.
http://illinoissare.org/ and http://illinoissare.org/calendar.php
Also see the University of Illinois Extension Local Food Systems and Small Farms Team's web site at:
http://web.extension.illinois.edu/smallfarm/ and their calendar of events at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/units/calendar.cfm?UnitID=629.

Small Farm Webinar Series:  A weekly educational series for the small farm community on important topics to advance local food production in Illinois. This series is aimed at providing small farm producers with a look at how leading practices in production, management, and marketing enable operations to improve profitability and sustainability.  Webinars air live each Thursday at 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. and include a question and answer session.  If you cannot attend, a link to the recorded webinars will be available to view at your convenience for all those who register.  To register, see http://go.illinois.edu/2015winterwebinars or contact:  Miki White, University of Illinois Extension, Small Farms/Local Foods Program Coordinator, Knox County; 309-342-5108 or miki7047@illinois.edu.




Jan. 15, 2015

No-till culture for Peppers & Tomatoes

Jan. 22, 2015

Growing Hops for Market

Jan. 29, 2015

Potato Production

Feb. 5, 2015

Sweet Corn Production

Feb. 12, 2015

Perennial Crops for Small Farms

Feb. 19, 2015  

Understanding Insecticides

Feb. 26, 2015

Blueberry Production

Mar. 5, 2015


Mar. 12, 2015

Effective Farmers Market Displays

Mar. 19, 2015

Veggie Compass Record-Keeping Software

Mar. 26, 2015

Variety Selection & Rootstocks for Establishing Apple Orchards

Kyle Cecil (309-342-5108; cecil@illinois.edu)

Regional Reports

From the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center ... We have added a lettuce float bed to our collection of hydroponic equipment. While NFT techniques such as gutters are popular for raising lettuce, older methods such as float beds are still used and represent a viable low cost alternative.  This winter we will evaluate 14 Bibb lettuce cultivars in two NFT systems and one float bed system.  In addition, we have also made plantings of hydroponic tomatoes and cucumbers for our Beginning Farmers class and a hydroponic workshop that will be held here later this winter.

Jeff Kindhart (618-695-2770; jkindhar@illinois.edu) and Julie Zakes (zakes@illinois.edu)

From western Illinois ... Temperatures during the week of January 5 were bitterly cold, but the last few days have warmed significantly.  Although the cold snap wasn't long-lived, we did experience some significant freezing of the ground. Extreme cold weather events are a unique opportunity to "test" our high tunnels. By this I mean the opportunity to monitor the temperature extremes and variability within the tunnels during these events. I am always amazed at how "comfortable" it can be inside these structures with minimal sunlight during the winter months. We experienced colder temps last January, and plants that were the right variety, planted at the right time and given the opportunity to recover did quite well.

Growers throughout the region have started trays of tomatoes, greens and other plants destined for area high tunnels. It won't be long till we are in the heat of the growing season. It can't come soon enough.

Kyle Cecil (309-342-5108; cecil@illinois.edu)

Fruit Production and Pest Management

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

At the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organics Conference on January 9 I provided an update on a few insect pests of fruits ... one that I covered is brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).  BMSB has been detected in the counties indicated on the map above and probably is present in additional counties as well.  Most fruit growers will NOT likely encounter this insect at densities that warrant control this year, but a few may.  The insecticides listed in the table above are among the most effective against BMSB.  See http://plant-pest-advisory.rutgers.edu/bmsb-insecticide-options-revised/bmsb-spray-schedule-table-3/ for a more extensive list.  I'll provide updates and sampling recommendations for this insect at upcoming fruit programs and later issues of this newsletter. 

Rick Weinzierl (217-244-2126; weinzier@illinois.edu)

Vegetable Production and Pest Management

Biological Control for Insect Management in High Tunnels

Aphids, thrips, and mites (not actually insects) often are greater problems in high-tunnel production of tomatoes, cucumbers, and other crops than they are in outdoor production.  Because of insecticide resistance, spray coverage problems, pre-harvest restrictions, and the high value of crops within high tunnels, biological control of these pests by use of predators and parasites can be a cost-effective alternative to insecticide and miticide applications.  A useful source of information that addresses biological control of insects and mites in high tunnels is Sustainable Pest Management in High Tunnels and Greenhouses, a SARE publication. See http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Fact-Sheets/Sustainable-Pest-Management-in-Greenhouses-and-High-Tunnels.  You can download the pdf from this site.

Suppliers of biological control organisms for release in high tunnels and greenhouses include Biobest (contact Veronica Cervantes at 248-912-4774; veronica@biobest-usa.com; see www.biobest-usa.com) and Koppert Biological Systems, Inc. (1-800-928-8827; fax: 1-734-641-379; see: www.koppert.com). 

Rick Weinzierl (217-244-2126; weinzier@illinois.edu)

Local Foods Issues

Zachary Grant hired as Extension Educator in Cook County

Zack Grant, currently the manager of the Student Sustainable Farm at the University of Illinois campus at Urbana, has been hired as a Local Food Systems and Small Farms Extension Educator in Cook County.  In addition to a range of production and marketing  topics, a portion of his responsibilities will focus on Farm-to-School programming.  We'll provide more information (including a phone number) after Zack starts in this new position on February 2, 2015.  His email address is zgrant2@illinois.edu.

Less Seriously ...


University of Illinois Extension Specialists in Fruit and Vegetable Production & Pest Management

Extension Educators – Local Food Systems and Small Farms

Bronwyn Aly, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Pope, Saline, and White counties



Stephen Ayers, Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion counties



Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Logan, Menard and Sangamon counties



Kyle Cecil, Henderson, Knox, McDonough, and Warren counties



Bill Davison, Livingston, McLean, and Woodford counties



Connie Echaiz, Lake and McHenry counties



Laurie George, Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, & Washington counties



Doug Gucker, DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties



Nathan Johanning, Franklin, Jackson, Perry, Randolph, & Williamson counties



Andy Larson, Boone, DeKalb, & Ogle counties



Grant McCarty, Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties



Mike Roegge, Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike and Schuyler counties



David Shiley, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties



James Theuri, Grundy, Kankakee, and Will counties



Jamie Washburn, Effingham, Jasper, Clay, Fayette, Clark, Crawford and Edgar counties



Extension Educators – Horticulture

Richard Hentschel, DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties



Andrew Holsinger, Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, & Montgomery counties



Sonja Lallemand, Franklin, Jackson, Perry, Randolph, & Williamson counties



Elizabeth Wahle, Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, Madison, Monroe, St Clair, and Washington counties



Horticulture Research-Extension Specialists at our Research Stations

Jeff Kindhart, Dixon Springs Agricultural Center

618-638-7799 (cell)


Shelby Henning, St. Charles Horticulture Research Center



Campus-based  Extension Specialists

Mohammad Babadoost, Plant Pathology



Mosbah Kushad, Fruit & Vegetable Production



John Masiunas, Weed Science



Chuck Voigt, Vegetable Production (& herbs)



Rick Weinzierl, Entomology