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In This Issue:

Upcoming Programs (listings for beginning and established growers)

Regional Reports (from southern and western Illinois)

Fruit Production and Pest Management (fire blight management; plum curculio control)

Vegetable Production and Pest Management (asparagus beetle, high-tunnel tomato variety evaluations)

Local Foods Issues (FDA clarification of "food facilities")

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.


Regional Reports

From southern Illinois ...  We finally got a partial break from the rain last weekend, along with warmer temperatures (around 80˚ on Sunday, April 12).  Temperatures are forecast to be in the 70s for highs and 50s for lows most of this week with scattered chances of rain throughout the week.  While growers have had a few breaks in the weather, many would appreciate a few warm, sunny and windy days to help dry out the soil and allow some more field work.   

Tree fruits are progressing well, with most peaches around petal fall and apples just entering full bloom.  Early blueberry varieties are approaching full bloom as well, and some warm sunny days would benefit the work of pollinators.  Plasticulture strawberries are starting to bloom, and some already have some small green fruit.

I noted the first emergence of asparagus on April 2 at Murphysboro, which was earlier than I expected.  Our first harvest was about a week after that.  Harvests have been fairly slow, with mostly cool, cloudy days.

Nathan Johanning (618-687-1727; njohann@illinois.edu)

From western Illinois ... Our part of Illinois (Quincy area) has missed much of the rain that has fallen in other parts of the state.  We had less than 1 inch in March, and so far in April, we've had 5 rain events, and  I've emptied less than 0.6 inch from the gauge.  Tile lines are barely running, but seeps seem to be running full tilt.  For some, filed work has been ongoing since the first of the month, others have gotten a slow start, but everyone can find some soils that are dry enough to work in.  We've still not had enough rainfall to incorporate dry fertilizer spread two weeks ago, and half-melted remnants of the granules are still visible on the soil surface. 

One grower who decided to get his neighbors excited planted some sweet corn 3 weeks before Easter.  It has now emerged. Now not everyone gets that crazy with planting,  but sweet corn planted on April 6 has a radicle root extended 1inch deep.

Growers have been busy working fields, applying fertilizer, planting and transplanting. Some anxious growers planted tomatoes (outside) the week prior to Easter only to see them succumb to a low temperature in the 20's Easter morning.  Early planted greens have emerged. Transplanting of onions and cole crops has been ongoing.

In the high tunnels, transplanting of most crops has been completed.  Lack of sunshine has limited growth to some degree. Growers attempting to maximize growth in tunnels have been kept busy adjusting side walls with the cloudy and sunny weather changing almost hourly the past week.  I will echo Kyle Cecil's warning on aphids in high tunnels.  For growers transitioning from winter crops to summer crops, be cautious of aphids bridging the gap between these crops.  It's almost impossible to prevent aphids from overwintering in a winter crop, thus the potential for early infestation in the “high dollar” summer crops can be high.

High-tunnel strawberries have been blooming for several weeks, and outdoor plasticulture berries have a few early blooms showing, but most are at bud stage.  Some of these early flowers sport black frost killed centers.   Asparagus harvest has begun, with several pickings being reported thus far. Rhubarb growth has also begun.  Peach trees are at bloom and apples are at pink   

Mike Roegge (217-223-8380; roeggem@illinois.edu)

Also from western Illinois ... Recent cool and damp weather have not provided favorable conditions for crops in the field or in high tunnels.  I was in several high tunnels a few days ago, and it seemed to be “raining” on us the whole time we were standing inside.  There is not a great deal that a grower can do to remedy this right now other than provide ventilation to help move moisture out and off the plants.  If the air you are bringing in is at 90% humidity, it can seem like a losing battle.  Free moisture and relative humidity over 90% favor many disease pathogens, so managing the environment and managing diseases are important during cool, damp weather.  With current conditions, diligence in scouting is essential.  One resource to assist growers with disease management is the University of Illinois Plant Clinic.  Contact the clinic at:  S-417 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.  Phone: 217-333-0519; email: plantclinic@illinois.edu

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


Fruit Production and Pest Management

Updates on Fire Blight of Apple in Illinois

Fire blight is a bacterial disease caused by Erwinia amylovora.  Fire blight occurs in Illinois every year and causes shoot blight, canker blight, and rootstock blight on apples and pears.  I consider fire blight the most destructive disease of apples and pears in Illinois.  Blossom blight symptoms of the fire blight are not common in Illinois, but shoot blight is widely observed during June and July.  

In 2008 and 2009, we had widespread and severe fire blight in apple orchards in Illinois. This resulted in speculation that streptomycin-resistant strains of E. amylovora might be present. Resistance to streptomycin in E. amylovora has been reported from other states, such as California and Michigan.

We conducted statewide surveys in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and collected 117, 129, and 170 E. amylovora isolates, respectively, from 20 counties.  None of the 416 E. amylovora isolates tested were resistant to streptomycin (Agri-Mycin 17WP) at 50 mg/liter (50 ppm).  However, seven non-E. amylovora bacterial isolates were collected from E. amylovora-infected shoots that were streptomycin-resistant, which could be a potential source of streptomycin-resistance for E. amylovora in Illinois in the future.  In 2011 and 2012, we conducted field trials to evaluate efficacy of oxytetracycline (Mycoshield 17WP), kasugamycin (Kasumin 2L and ARY-0416-06), copper hydroxide (Kocide-3000 41.6DF), Bacillus subtilis (Serenade Max, QST713), and Pseudomonas fluorescens (Blight Ban A506) for management of fire blight.  Only kasugamycin (Kasumin 2L and ARY-4016-06) reduced blossom infection significantly.

Kasumin 2L is registered for control of fire blight of pome fruit (e.g., apple, crabapple, pear, Asian pear, quince) and should be used wherever resistance to E. amylovora has been confirmed.  Otherwise, streptomycin is still the most effective chemical for control of E. amylovora.  Based on the label for Kasumin 2L, spray volume must be sufficient to provide good coverage of treated foliage; begin applications at 20–30% bloom or when conditions favor disease development and repeat applications at 7-day intervals or when conditions favor disease development; do not make more than two consecutive applications of Kasumin 2L, if additional applications are needed, rotate with another product with a different mode of action that is registered for this use; and do not make more than 4 applications of Kasumin 2L per season.  Follow all label directions (http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ldB4M000.pdf).

Spraying all of pome fruit trees in the orchard is essential.  Spray the trees with a fixed copper compound at silver tip; use the MARYBLIT program for predicting infection and timing spray applications, and apply streptomycin during bloom, as predicted by MARYBLIT; apply streptomycin after a major hail or storm damage; do not make more than four applications of streptomycin per season.  Refer to the 2015 Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide for the updates on fire blight management.

Mohammad Babadoost (217-333-1523; babadoos@illinois.edu)

Plum Curculio Management

In orchards with a history of plum curculio infestations, the time to control this insect is at petal fall.  Because the insecticides that are effective against this insect are toxic to bees, it's important that growers not apply petal fall sprays too early.  Although removing honey bee hives when most flowers have dropped may protect the colonies that were supplied to the orchard for pollination services, wild honey bees and other native bees such as the orchard mason bee will continue to forage on later flowers, so waiting until bloom is truly over before spraying for plum curculio is important for protecting pollinators.

Adult plum curculios move from overwintering sites to apples, pears, plums, and peaches (and some other tree fruits) beginning around the time of bloom.  Females chew crescent-shaped slits into developing fruitlets and deposit an egg under the surface.  Larvae that hatch from the eggs develop in the flesh of peaches, plums, and other stone fruits.  In apples and pears, most larvae do not survive, but the feeding/egg-laying scars enlarge to become blemishes that cause downgrading of fruit at harvest.

Imidan, Avaunt, and Assail are among the most effective insecticides for curculio at petal fall.  All are at least moderately toxic to bees, so be sure to delay applications until bees are no longer in the orchard.  See the 2015 Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide for a listing of additional insecticides that can be used for curculio control.  The Spray Guide also lists Belay and Actara for curculio control, but these two insecticides are MUCH more toxic to bees, and I discourage growers from using them at this time, especially if some late bloom is still attracting pollinators.  For organic growers, repeated applications of Surround (OMRI-approved) provide some reduction in curculio damage.  In peaches, the pyrethroids used for stink bug control (see page 36 of the Spray Guide) also control plum curculio. 


Left: plum curculio (Clemson University); center: crescent-shaped slits on a small apple (West Virginia University) ... eggs are laid into these slits; right: egg-laying scars as they appear later on mature apples (University of Kentucky).

And ... although most apple and peach growers are familiar with plum curculio; a related species in apples and pears (at least Asian pears) is the apple curculio, Tachypterellus quadrigibbus.  It damages fruits at about the same time, and we usually see it persist a little longer into the late spring at the U of I research orchard at Urbana.  Apple curculio is a little smaller than plum curculio and has a longer snout.  Like plum curculio, it chews an opening through the skin of small apples (around dime-size and larger) and lays an egg into the opening.  It may chew several holes close together on a single fruit.  The scar it leaves is round, however, not crescent-shaped, and as the fruit grows, the damaged areas may appear as raised bumps.  The same insecticides and application timing used for plum curculio control also reduce damage by apple curculio.


Apple curculio (photo by Aron Katz).

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


Vegetable Production and Pest Management

Scouting for and Managing Asparagus Beetles

With the emergence of asparagus comes the opportunity for asparagus beetles to lay eggs and feed on the spears.  At Murphysboro asparagus beetles showed up almost as quickly as the first asparagus emerged.  In this location asparagus beetles had be present last year as well.  Asparagus beetle adults overwinter and move onto spears in the spring, where their feeding causes scars and deformed growth.  They lay numerous eggs on spears, and although larvae move to ferns to feed, the eggs are viewed as contaminants by buyers, further reducing the marketability of the crop.  Scouting is critical, and during harvest it is easy to spot asparagus beetles, damage, and eggs.  The recommended threshold to make an insecticide spray is 5-10% of plants infested or 2% of spears with eggs.  There are many labeled products that can provide good control with very short pre-harvest intervals (PHIs) such as Sevin XLR Plus, Pounce, and Malathion.  See the 2015 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for a listing of registered insecticides, rates, and PHIs.


Asparagus beetle adult and eggs on asparagus spears.

Nathan Johanning (618-687-1727; njohann@illinois.edu)

High-Tunnel Tomato and Pepper Trials at the St. Charles Horticulture Research Center

In 2014, nineteen tomato and eleven bell pepper cultivars were evaluated for yield performance at the University of Illinois St. Charles Horticulture Research Center (SCHRC).  Tomatoes were grown from seed that was started on March 18 and were potted into 4-inch peat pots filled with Pro Mix on March 29.  Both tomato and bell pepper transplants were planted randomly into single-layer black plastic beds 5 feet on center in the high tunnel on May 22. Tomatoes were set at a spacing of 12 inches for indeterminate cultivars and 18 inches for determinate cultivars. Determinate cultivars were grown using a trellis weave system and pruned up to but not including the first sucker below the first cluster.  No additional thinning or pruning was done on the determinate cultivars.  Indeterminate cultivars were pruned to a single leader and clamped to a single polyethylene twine suspended from a permanent overhead trellis made from treated lumber and high tensile wire.  Peppers were set in twin rows, 16 in. apart and in-row spacing of 12 inches.  

The planting was monitored for pest problems and treated as required. Insects that presented significant problems were limited to tomato hornworm and aphids. Aphids were a consistent pest of peppers throughout the growing season.  Yield data are given in Tables 1 and 2. The data represent the mean of five plants for both tomato and pepper.  Unless noted, tomato varieties are determinate.

Table 1. Total season (7/15-11/11) harvest results from SCHRC high-tunnel tomato cultivar evaluation, 2014.

Variety

No. Fruita

Marketability

Average fruit
weightb (oz.)

Yield (oz.)c

Total

Total #1

Total #2

Marketable

% Marketable

% Cull

Total

Marketable

Baltimore

163

107

39

146

90

10

10.3

104.5

93.6

Big Beefd

242

111

66

177

73

27

7.8

118.2

86.4

Brickyard

135

83

40

123

91

9

8.1

68.7

62.6

Florida 47R

206

138

51

189

92

8

7.7

99.5

91.3

Lemon boyd

220

88

70

158

72

28

8.0

110.0

79.0

Mountain Majesty

223

133

40

173

78

22

8.8

123.2

95.6

Phoenix

203

147

36

183

90

10

8.6

109.2

98.4

Picuse

327

275

40

315

96

4

3.8

78.2

75.3

Pink Girld

224

76

56

132

59

41

9.3

130.1

76.6

Primo Red

144

86

30

116

81

19

9.3

83.8

67.5

Red Bounty

195

137

29

166

85

15

7.9

96.3

82.0

Red Deuce

138

70

19

89

64

36

11.5

98.9

63.8

Red Morning

171

83

23

106

62

38

9.7

103.3

64.0

Richmond

187

114

54

168

90

10

7.1

82.5

74.2

Rocky Top

196

141

39

180

92

8

8.1

99.4

91.3

Summer Pick

164

81

49

130

79

21

9.6

98.9

78.4

SV47257td

120

67

22

89

74

26

9.6

71.7

53.2

SV7101td

180

126

34

160

89

11

8.8

99.5

88.5

SV7631td

173

107

41

148

86

14

8.9

96.0

82.1

aData shown are a total seasonal harvest of five plants per variety
bData shown are an average of fruit production divided by harvest weight at each sampling date.
cData shown are total or marketable no. fruit multiplied by average fruit weight.
dDeterminate variety.
ePaste-type variety.

 

Table 2. Total season (715-11/11) harvest results, high-tunnel bell pepper cultivars.

Variety

Total No. of Harvested Fruita

Total Harvest Weight (Lbs.)

Average Fruit weight (oz.)

Archimedes

111

35.5

5.1

Aristotle X3R

100

32.6

5.2

Bastille

95

30.6

5.2

Bayonet

100

32.9

5.3

Chesapeake

142

44.3

5.0

Currier

96

32.8

5.5

Cutlass

91

29.0

5.1

Karisma

97

33.7

5.6

PS09941288

130

41.7

5.1

PS09954288

85

27.5

5.2

Rampart

90

31.1

5.5

aData shown are a total seasonal harvest from of five plants per variety

Shelby Henning (630-584-7254; shenning@illinois.edu)


Local Foods Issues

Good News on One Food Safety Issue

FDA has released a proposed rule that makes it clear the agency does not intend to consider farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA distribution points, and other direct marketing venues as "food facilities" subject to certain food safety regulations.  The National Sustainable Agriculture coalition explained: "There were two aims of this clarification -- the first was to reinforce that CSAs, farmers markets, roadside stands, and other primarily direct-marketing operations are not facilities, do not have to register with FDA as facilities, and are not subject to the Preventive Controls Rule. The second aim was to clarify that the location of the direct sale could not trigger the facility definition -- e.g., that delivering a CSA box to a location where customers could pick up their boxes would not make that operation a facility."  Please note this proposed change does not pertain to the food safety regulations on farms.  For more information, http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/retail-food-establishment/

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant (217-782-4617; cvnghgrn@illinois.edu)




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

618-382-2662

baly@illinois.edu

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

217-333-7672

srayers@illinois.edu

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Logan, Menard and Sangamon counties

217-782-4617

cvnghgrn@illinois.edu

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

309-342-5108

cecil@illinois.edu

Bill Davison, Livingston, McLean, and Woodford counties

309-663-8306

wdavison@illinois.edu

Connie Echaiz, Lake and McHenry counties

847-223-8627

cechaiz@illinois.edu

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

618-548-1446

ljgeorge@illinois.edu

Zackhary Grant, Cook County

708-449-4320

zgrant2@illinois.edu

Doug Gucker, DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties

217-877-6042

dgucker@illinois.edu

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

618-687-1727

njohann@illinois.edu

Andy Larson, Boone, DeKalb, & Ogle counties

815-732-2191

andylars@illinois.edu

Grant McCarty, Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties

815-235-4125

gmccarty@illinois.edu

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

217-223-8380

roeggem@illinois.edu

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

217-543-3755

dshiley@illinois.edu

James Theuri, Grundy, Kankakee, and Will counties

815-933-8337

jtheu50@illinois.edu

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

217-374-7773

jlwshbrn@illinois.edu

Extension Educators – Horticulture

Richard Hentschel, DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties

630-584-6166

hentschel@illinois.edu

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

217-532-3941

aholsing@illinois.edu

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

618-687-1727

lalleman@illinois.edu

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

618-344-4230

wahle@illinois.edu

Horticulture Research-Extension Specialists at our Research Stations

Jeff Kindhart, Dixon Springs Agricultural Center

618-695-2770
618-638-7799 (cell)

jkindhar@illinois.edu

Shelby Henning, St. Charles Horticulture Research Center

630-584-7254

shenning@illinois.edu

Campus-based  Extension Specialists

Mohammad Babadoost, Plant Pathology

217-333-1523

babadoos@illinois.edu

Mosbah Kushad, Fruit & Vegetable Production

217-244-5691

kushad@illinois.edu

John Masiunas, Weed Science

217-244-4469

masiunas@illinois.edu

Chuck Voigt, Vegetable Production (& herbs)

217-333-1969

cevoigt@illinois.edu

Rick Weinzierl, Entomology

217-244-2126

weinzier@illinois.edu