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Out Croppings: Important crop news from the field!

Malt Barley and Hop Quality at the Annual Field Day

Posted: July 24th, 2018 by outcropn

Malt Barley and Hop Quality is just one of the afternoon sessions you can choose to attend at the Annual Crops & Soils Field Day on July 26th at Borderview Farm in Alburgh, VT.  Andrew Peterson of Peterson Quality Malt will talk about malt barley quality and scouting for grain diseases.

The NWCS team will talk about hop quality including harvest timing, crowning, irrigation, scouting for pest and natural enemies, and end-of-season disease management.

Register today for the Annual Field Day –

www.regonline.com/2018cropsfieldday or call Susan at 802-524-6501.

Fee includes a great lunch, Tasting Tent sampling, and Kingdom Creamery ice cream!


Sign Up Today for the Annual Crops & Soils Field Day!

Posted: July 19th, 2018 by outcropn

It is almost time for our Annual Crops & Soils Field Day (click to view flyer)!!

WHEN:  Thursday, July 26th

TIME: 10am to 3:30pm; registration starts at 9:15am

WHERE: Borderview Research Farm, 487 Line Road, Alburgh, VT 05440

SIGN UP TODAY: www.regonline.com/2018cropsfieldday

Cost is $10 per farmer and $25 all others. Lunch included.


In addition to the morning tour of our research trials, the afternoon sessions include:

·         No-till and Cover Crops, Ontario farmer Blake Vince

·         Perennial Forage Management, Consultant Sarah Flack and UVM Sid Bosworth

·         Pollinators, UVM Spencer Hardy and John Hayden from The Farm Between

·         Hemp Irrigation, Trevor Hardy from Brookdale Farms in NH

·         Malt Barley and Hop Quality, Peterson Quality Malt and Foam Brewery

We will have sponsor exhibits (all day) and our Tasting Tent (11:30am to 2:30pm).  Tasting Tent vendors this year include All Souls Tortilleria/VT Bean Crafters, Butterworks Farm, and Mill River Brewing!  And Kingdom Creamery will be there with delicious ice cream!

You can sign up to earn CCA and water quality training education credits.

Join us on July 26th and sign up today – www.regonline.com/2018cropsfieldday

Armyworm Alert!

Posted: July 18th, 2018 by outcropn

Armyworms. Photo by Sid Bosworth, UVM Extension. Click on image to enlarge.

Armyworms were spotted in St. Johnsbury and Pawlet this week. Please don’t panic but do scout your corn and grass fields for armyworm caterpillars.

True Armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta, are typically spotted each year on some acreage in Vermont — crops most affected are grasses including field corn, grass hay and pasture crops. It is important for farmers and consultants to monitor fields. At high populations, armyworms can create significant damage very quickly.

Scout for caterpillars. When mature, they can be almost 1.5 inches long. The caterpillars are usually greenish or brownish, but can be almost black. The sides and back of the caterpillar have light colored stripes running along the body. They normally feed at night and can cause much damage before they mature.

Their preferred foods are grasses including corn, grains, and timothy but they will feed on other plants if grasses are unavailable. Feeding will start on the lower leaves and move upwards. A large population of armyworm caterpillars can strip an entire field in just a few days. When the field is eaten they “march” to adjacent fields. Please note: Corn fields that are reduced or no-tilled or fields infested with grass weeds are most susceptible.

For more information on armyworm, see “When Armyworms Come to Town” and/or True Armyworm resources on the Vermont Crops & Soils webpages. For additional scouting and control options, please contact the following agronomists.
Northwest VT: Heather Darby at (802) 524-6501 or heather.darby@uvm.edu.
Champlain Valley: Jeff Carter at (802) 388-4969 or jeff.carter@uvm.edu.
All other locations: Sid Bosworth at (802) 656-0478 or sid.bosworth@uvm.edu.

2nd Annual Northeast Cover Crops Council Conference

Posted: July 5th, 2018 by outcropn

Call for Presentations for 2nd Annual Conference of the Northeast Cover Crops Council (NECCC)

 The second annual conference of the NECCC will be held in State College, PA, on November 15th, 2018, with a field day on the 16th. The organizing committee invites you to share your cover crop research or experiences during the conference. The conference theme for this year is “The Northeast – Leading the Charge”. 

 Please submit a title and 250-word maximum description of your volunteered presentation no later than July 15th. You may indicate your preference for oral or poster format. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee and organized into oral or poster sessions; if your oral presentation does not fit into an oral session, you will be invited to present a poster. You will be informed of your presentation format and time in August. Oral presentations will be 20 minutes long, while posters will be displayed all day on the 15th in the main lobby, with presenters at their poster from 8:30-9:30 am.

 Last year’s conference in Ithaca, NY, drew 170 participants from across the Northeast. Don’t miss this chance to share your work with local cover croppers! Please see http://northeastcovercrops.com/annual-conferences/2018-neccc-conference-information/present/ for more information and to submit. Contact Victoria Ackroyd (Victoria.Ackroyd@ars.usda.gov) with any questions.

2018 Annual Crops & Soils Field Day

Posted: July 3rd, 2018 by outcropn

Register now for the 11th Annual Crops & Soils Field Day on July 26th – www.regonline.com/2018cropsfieldday. Fifth generation Ontario farmer Blake Vince will share his experience with no-till and cover cropping. On their family farm, they produce corn, soybeans, and winter wheat on 1300 acres and have been no-till planting for more than 30 years.

The field day will provide opportunities for farmers to view research trials, see new innovative equipment, participate in workshop sessions, and visit the tasting tent to sample food products from local vendors and businesses.

Afternoon workshops will focus on no-till/cover cropping, perennial forage management, malt barley and hop quality, pollinators, and camera-guided weed control systems.

The cost, including lunch, is $10 for farmers and $25 non-farmers.  CCA and water quality training education credits are available.

We hope to see you on July 26th!

Interested in Trying Cover Crop Interseeding?

Posted: June 25th, 2018 by outcropn

The University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crop and Soils Team recently received a grant to work with farmers to adopt cover crop interseeding.  Our team is seeking out interested farmers in the Champlain Valley and Northeast Kingdom to try interseeding this season.

What is interseeding?

InterSeeder – drills the cover crop seed in

Interseeding is a method of planting seeds in between rows of an established cash crop, such as planting cover crops into a corn silage system. With interseeding, cover crops can be planted as early as the 4th and 6th leaf stages of the corn. Interseeding can also occur later in the season after the corn has tasseled.

How do you interseed cover crops?

Cover crops can be interseeded into growing corn with a variety of equipment options. Specialized equipment includes Interseeder Grain Drills and Highboy Seeders, both options available through the UVM Interseeding Grant. In addition, broadcast spreaders, fertilizer spreaders, and helicopters can be used for interseeding cover crops.

Highboy – sprays cover crop seed into standing corn

What is the benefit of interseeding?

Interseeding allows farmers to get cover crops in the ground earlier so they don’t have to worry about getting them planted and established in the fall! Interseeding also allows farmers the opportunity to plant a more diverse array of cover crops that might include tillage radish and clover. Farmers all across Vermont have been rapidly adopting cover cropping to improve soil health, reduce erosion, and reap benefits associated with this practice.

Looking for more information on interseeding?

For a more detailed look at interseeding, please refer to the UVM Extension Northwest Crop and Soils Program Publications Under Cover: Integrating Cover Crops into Silage Corn Systems, Tips for Interseeding Cover Crops, and/or Interseeding Cover Crops—Innovative Technologies, which can be found on our cover crops webpage www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/covercrops.

Interested in trying interseeding?

If you are interested in trying interseeding, please contact Heather Darby (heather.darby@uvm.edu) or Jeff Sanders (jeffrey.sanders@uvm.edu) at UVM Extension Northwest Crop and Soil Team 802-524-6501. The team has both equipment and technical expertise available. You can also view a fact sheet of information and get an enrollment form here.


Be on the lookout for Powdery Mildew

Posted: June 18th, 2018 by outcropn

Be on the lookout! Keep an eye on your cucurbits for powdery mildew!  

Powdery mildew is a very common disease on
cucurbits (cucumbers, zucchini, squash, melons). Powdery mildew is likely to
first appear within a month and continue throughout the season. This video
shows the identification, life cycle, and scouting technique, and describes
biofungicide options for powdery mildew on cucurbits – https://youtube.com/watch?v=00mAyMRwuKE&t=24s 

The 2016 research report Evaluating the Efficacy of Organic Approved Fungicides for the Control of Powdery Milldew in Squash can be found here: https://bit.ly/2tjRyQO 

Image: Powdery mildew on squash leaf, Alburgh, Vermont, 2016.


On the Lookout for Smut!

Posted: June 5th, 2018 by outcropn

This season the NWCS team is interested in collecting smut infected grain heads with a goal of identifying all smut disease that are present in the Northeast. We are looking for farmers to notify us if they spot smut in their small grain fields. Smuts are one of the easiest grain diseases to spot in the field (Image 1. Loose smut infected wheat head, Burlington, VT).

As winter and spring grains begin to head out and flower, you can start to see the visual signs of smut. There are several types of the smut pathogen found in the Northeast: Loose smut (Wheat = Ustilago tritici / Barley = U. nuda), False loose smut (Barley = U. nigra / Oats = U. avenae), and Covered smut (Barley = U. hordei).

Loose smut: During spike or head emergence, diseased heads emerge slightly earlier than healthy ones and appear as a mass of dark brown spores covered with paper-like membrane. This membrane tears easily as healthy plants begin to flower, and windblown spores infect the embryos of developing seed. After the fungus invades the grain seed embryo, it remains dormant until the seed is planted and germinates. Infected plants appear to be normal, but develop smutted heads.

Covered smut: Infected plants are often stunted and heads may not completely emerge. During spike or head emergence, diseased heads emerge at the same time, or slightly later than healthy ones and appear as mass of dark brown spores covered with paper-like membrane. This membrane ruptures at plant maturity or during threshing, and the spores infect healthy seed and soil. Covered smut spores are not typically wind-dispersed. The fungal spores remain dormant on seed coat until the seed is planted and germinates. Infected plants appear to be normal, but develop smutted heads.

Planting contaminated seed, especially in organic systems, can exponentially increase grain infection rates, resulting in yield reductions; 100% of the smutted heads are lost. Eating smut infected grain poses no harmful health effects and doesn’t appear to impact baking quality.


  • If you find smutted heads in your fields, do not save the seed.
  • Plant certified or otherwise high-quality, disease-free seed.
  • Plant resistant varieties.
  • Infected seed can be treated with various fungicides in conventional systems.

**If you find smutted heads in your fields, please contact Erica Cummings, erica.cummings@uvm.edu, phone: (802) 656-5392.

Supporting our Industrial Hemp Research

Posted: May 8th, 2018 by outcropn

We began our industrial hemp research program in 2016 with the help of program donations – thank you!  Interest in the crop and research-based guidance has continued to grow, and we need your help to keep this research project going.  Please view our Industrial Hemp web page – http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/hemp to see the research and current information.

Our goal is to raise $25,000 specific for our Industrial Hemp Research Project to keep the research going and help our farmers succeed!  Please help support our Hemp Research and visit our crowdfunding page today – http://go.uvm.edu/givenwcs

Industrial Hemp updates

Posted: April 23rd, 2018 by outcropn


Industrial hemp, Alburgh, VT

Here are some quick Industrial Hemp updates –


Visit our Industrial Hemp web page to view the 2017 research reports as well as related articles – http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/hemp

 We also have the presentation on Hemp production and processing that was given during our 2018 Grain Growers Conference – Growing and Processing Hemp (PDF) with Marc Bercier and Hannah Windatt from Eastern Ontario.


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