Diversified fruit and veg farm crop insurance: Please read

April 6, 2014
Terence Bradshaw, UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Specialist

PLEASE consider spending a couple of minutes of your time for this. Ag research only works when its beneficiaries, i.e., farmers, participate. –Thanks, Terry

Jen Miller, a grad student at UVM, is doing a survey examining crop insurance on diversified fruit and vegetable farms as a risk management tool. She is looking for your honest feedback.

This goals of this project are to examine:

– Methods vegetable and fruit growers are using to manage production risk

– Vegetable and fruit farmers’ experience with, and perception of crop insurance policies

– How well crop insurance programs serve vegetable and fruit growers

Responses are being collected from vegetable and fruits farmers in the Northeast.

Please take a few minutes and go to the following link https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/257185/lang-en

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.
Always read the label before using any pesticide.
The label is the legal document for the product use.
Disregard any information in this newsletter if it is in conflict with the label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

2014 Growing Season Welcome

April 1, 2014

Terence Bradshaw, UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Specialist

As I write this at the beginning of the first week of April, it looks like Spring will finally be arriving, but in a form I remember as a kid- a long month of fluctuating temperatures, plenty of ice and slush, and trees showing signs of waking up from their slumber near the end of the month. I’ve always considered April 1 as the day that the growing season officially starts, and many years, that’s about when we get into the field with a tractor for the first time of the year cleaning up prunings. Not this year, but it will come soon enough.

As many growers know, I have assumed responsibility for the UVM Apple and Grape program from the retiring Lorraine Berkett who has served in this role for over 30 years. Lorraine has been an excellent resource for our grower community, with her dual background in entomology and plant pathology, and her work has certainly helped Vermont growers maintain sustainability while managing pests on the orchard. My background is more diverse: I am neither an entomologist nor plant pathologist, yet I have worked with Lorraine for nearly 20 years at UVM and that experience will inform my newsletters to you. In addition, I have been the default horticulturalist with the program for nearly 10 years, so my reports will contain more information from that area. As a jack-of-all-trades, I will rely on my observations from the UVM orchards and vineyard and any I visit, as well as information from regional experts to offer a well-rounded outreach program that supports our tree fruit industry.

In my new appointment at UVM, I do not have a formal Extension component, but I have received a USDA Extension-IPM grant to provide outreach services to apple and grape growers in the state. Feel free to contact me with your questions during the season, preferably by email (tbradsha). I will be issuing regular email and blog updates (see below) during the season, with less of a reliance on the traditional newsletter format where information is held until compiled together in a regularly scheduled issue. Let me know if this system is working out as the season goes on, I appreciate and need to feedback.

New UVM Fruit Website

My colleague Sarah Kingsley-Richards has been hard at work setting up a new website for our programs and migrating content over. Our old websites (http://orchard.uvm.edu, http://pss.uvm.edu/grape) were designed in the early 1990s and 2000s, respectively, and have served us well. However, web standards have moved on, and it was time to get our information together into a more usable format. In addition, the website for our Organic Apple Production project, http://www.uvm.edu/~organica, has existed in isolation since its launch in 2006. Each of those sites will remain for the time being as archive sites, but will no longer be updated.

The new site, http://www.uvm.edu/~fruit, will serve as a gateway for small fruit, tree fruit, and grape producer information. The small fruit tab will direct users to Vern Grubinger’s Vermont Vegetable and Berry page, while tree fruit and viticulture information will be housed within the site itself. We don’t have everything migrated over from the old sites yet, but this should be your first source for any new information coming from our program.

We also have developed a companion blog site, skingsle to get on the list. The latest blog posts will be featured on the homepage of the UVM Fruit website to help users keep abreast of any new information. Blog posts are sorted by categories that can be selected on the right side of the main blog page.

Both the UVM Fruit website and blog feature responsive web design. That means that the sites will adapt to fit various screen sizes, whether on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Work on this site redesign is funded with a grant obtained through the Vermont Specialty Crops Block Grants Program.

Finally, another site of importance for fruit growers is the Cornell Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA) site, http://newa.cornell.edu. Vermont has been a partner with Cornell on this site since 2010. The site collects weather data from stations located at farms and airports to generate real-time pest management models that can help growers make decisions in the field. The Vermont NEWA network consists of eight weather stations located on farms (Calais, Dummerston, East Dorset, Putney, Saxtons River, Shoreham, South Burlington, and South Hero) and six airports (Bennington, Burlington, Montpelier, Morrisville, Rutland, and Springfield). On-farm stations feature temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, and leaf wetness sensors, which allow users to run all models on the site. Airport stations lack leaf wetness sensors, so some models, such as apple scab, will not run. Users should select the site closest to their farm, with the caveat that local meso- and microclimates may affect the actual weather conditions on your farm. Remember, however, it is only a model, and will serve as one piece of information in your decision-making process. Site and station reliability are very good, but internet connectivity and station readiness can occasionally be fussy, so you should have a good knowledge of your pest management decisions on your farm rather than relying solely on NEWA to make you decisions for you.

2014 New England Tree Fruit Guide is Available Now

The 2014 New England Tree Fruit Management Guide is available for order now. This guide represents the work of IPM professionals throughout New England, and is our primary resource for IPM and general production information available to growers. If you think your old guide will cut it, it won’t. There have been numerous changes in product registrations and recommendation in recent years, and an up-to-date guide is your best investment in helping to keep your management program up-to-date.

Guides are $40 each, delivered. We are not set up to accept credit cards, so interested growers can print this email out and send a check for $40 payable to “University of Vermont” (nothing else goes on the to: line) to:

Sarah Kingsley-Richards
UVM Plant & Soil Science Dept
63 Carrigan Dr
Burlington, VT 05405

Please give your:

Name: _________________________

Orchard Name: _________________________

Mailing Address: __________________________

Summer course at UVM on Orchard and Vineyard Management

Registration is open now for PSS 195: Sustainable Orchard and Vineyard Management, offered at the University of Vermont this summer. Classes will be taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 am- 3:00 pm from June 16-July 11. Students will learn principles and practices of commercial orchard and vineyard crop production, including: site selection and preparation; cold hardiness development; varietal selection; tree and vine training and trellising systems; cold hardiness development; nutrient, water and pest management; harvest and postharvest considerations. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental and economic sustainability of fruit production systems.

The course will cover both orchard and vineyard crops suitable for production in northern New England, and students will have opportunities to explore specific crops in greater depth if they so wish. At each course meeting, we will apply knowledge of integrated horticultural and pest management practices in a real farm setting.

Registration is open to both undergraduate and non-credit students. For more information, contact Instructor Terence Bradshaw (contact information is listed below) or go to:

http://www.uvm.edu/~summer/course-detail/?crn=60793

__________________________________________________________________

Survey on Apple Scab Resistance

March 21, 2014- I’m passing this on from some colleagues who are pulling together a grant to develop a rapid fungicide resistance test for apple scab. Please consider spending five minutes to answer the survey. This is important work that is worthy of funding. -TB

Apple pathologists in New England and New York would like to know how apple growers rate the importance of fungicide resistance and whether they are trying to manage it. The following short survey will help us a great deal. If growers do report fungicide resistance as an important issue in their orchards, we will use the information as justification to apply for research and education grants to address the problem.

The survey should take less than 5 min. We greatly appreciate your willingness to give us this very useful information.

Dr. Dan Cooley, UMASS and Dr. Kerik Cox, Cornell University

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MFFGZWR

Courses for instruction on Diversified Farm Management at UVM Summer 2014

March 18, 2014- This series includes my course on Sustainable Orchard and Vineyard Management. -TB

UVM Educational Farm Expands Learning Opportunities for Students
Catamount Farm to provide dynamic environment for wide range of students

By Erica Houskeeper

A new farming education endeavor at the University of Vermont will give students the opportunity to learn about sustainable farm practices, contribute to the local food system and help support research needs of the university.

Catamount Educational Farm in South Burlington will offer an extensive hands-on farm experience for post-traditional, undergraduate and high school students. Produce grown at the farm will be sold to select outlets within the UVM community, including University Dining Services, and be available at the UVM farm stand and through a CSA.

Catamount Educational Farm is located at the UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center (HREC) on land that has been owned by the university for more than 60 years. After three successful years of the UVM Farmer Training Program managing three acres of vegetables at the HREC, UVM Continuing and Distance Education and the UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences created the Catamount Educational Farm by designating 13 acres for specialty crop production and academic programs.

“The establishment of Catamount Farm will allow UVM to provide a dedicated, hands-on learning environment for students seeking diverse farming and management skills on a well-managed, productive farm,” said HREC Director Terence Bradshaw. “Since its purchase in 1952, the mission and vision for the ‘Hort Farm’ has been to provide research, education and outreach. Catamount Farm fulfills that mission and effectively moves UVM’s local food system efforts to the next level.”

Catamount Educational Farm consists of five acres of diverse vegetables and eight acres of apples and grapes. The farm will continue to be home to the UVM Farmer Training Program for post-traditional students, as well as offer new courses such as the Catamount Farm Summer Experience for undergraduate students and the Introduction to Sustainable Vegetable Farming for high school students.

“Catamount Farm will provide a dynamic environment for immersive, experiential and relevant programs,” said Susie Walsh Daloz, who develops sustainable farm programming for UVM. “The expanded farm also allows us to reach a wide range of students, who now have the incredible opportunity to study sustainable farming while producing food for the UVM community.”

Students will be integral to carrying out all activities of the farm, providing them with real and diverse sustainable farm management skills.

“What’s unique and valuable at Catamount Farm is that production and education will go hand-in-hand,” said Laura Williams, manager of Catamount Farm. “Catamount Farm is so much more than a demonstration farm, and that’s what makes us remarkably different.”

For more information about Catamount Educational Farm, visit learn.uvm.edu/catamountfarm.

2014 New England Tree Fruit Guide is Available Now

March 17, 2014

The 2014 New England Tree Fruit Management Guide is available for order now. This guide represents the work of IPM professionals throughout New England, and is our primary resource for IPM and general production information available to growers. If you think your old guide will cut it, it won’t. There have been numerous changes in product registrations and recommendation in recent years, and an up-to-date guide is your best investment in helping to keep your management program up-to-date.

Guides are $40 each, delivered. We are not set up to accept credit cards, so interested growers can print this email out and send a check for $40 payable to “University of Vermont” (nothing else goes on the to: line) to:

Sarah Kingsley-Richards
UVM Plant & Soil Science Dept
63 Carrigan Dr
Burlington, VT 05405

Please give your:

Name: _________________________

Orchard Name: _________________________

Mailing Address: __________________________

UVM/Vermont Tree Fruit Listserv Questions

March 12, 2014

I have had some questions about signing up for the UVM/Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association Listserv. This interactive mailing list is offered to VTFGA members to facilitate cooperation, networking, and marketing activities between fellow growers.

This is important: to sign up for the list, you need to start with a blank email to listserv. That means deleting anything in the subject line, your signature file, and any attached graphics first in your usual template first. Then add “sub vttreefruit John Doe” (no quotes, and use your real name please, aliased subscribers will be asked to change their name or risk being removed from the list) in the body of the message. That should be the only thing in the message.

Instructions on listserv function and etiquette can are attached.

Thanks,

Terry

vttreefruit_listserveinstructions.pdf

New Organic Fire Blight Publication Released for Apple and Pear Growers Facing Sunset of Antibiotic Oxytetracycline

March 7, 2014 –

As Organic Rules Shift for Fire Blight Control, The Organic Center Releases Essential Suggestions for Apple and Pear Growers

Organic-Approved Antibiotics Sunsetting – Report Aims to Help Growers Keep Certification

WASHINGTON, DC (March 4, 2014) – With approved antibiotics for fire blight control expiring for organic apple and pear growers
this fall, The Organic Center has released an essential report featuring existing practices and emerging research to help growers control fire blight while maintaining organic certification.

“Grower Lessons and Emerging Research for Developing an Integrated Non-Antibiotic Fire Blight Control Program in Organic Fruit” –
available here – collects critical knowledge from U.S. apple and pear growers who already practice fire blight prevention without
the commonly-used antibiotic oxytetracycline that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will begin sunsetting in Oct. 2014.

Funded by The Organic Center, the 28-page report arrives as up to 70 percent of growers in a surveyed region said they may
transition from organic to conventional management in face of NOSB’s changes if proven alternative organic fire blight control methods are not available.

Organic Growers Exposed, Supply at Risk as Standards Phase Out Antibiotics

Unlike some fruit pathogens, fire blight doesn’t just damage or destroy a season’s fruit – it can kill the entire tree under
severe conditions. It is caused by the bacteria Erwinia amylovora, spreads easily among trees and orchards, and can infect at different points in the growing season.

For decades, the primary control of fire blight in U.S. organic production has been the antibiotics streptomycin and
oxytetracycline. But, NOSB has approved a proposal for phasing out their use beginning this Oct. Dr. Ken Johnson, Oregon State
University, is leading a three-state USDA-OREI project on non-antibiotic control of fire blight in organic orchards to be completed in 2015.

“The interim year between approved antibiotics sunsetting and release of the OREI project findings leaves growers with minimal
guidance and experience for non-antibiotic fire blight control,” said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The
Organic Center. “It’s unfortunate timing, as organic apple and pear demand are at all-time highs. If U.S. production declines,
organic apple and pear prices could spike, or imports from South America – where the disease is not present – could greatly increase.”

Organic Center Encourages Testing Alternatives Now

“Grower Lessons and Emerging Research” encourages organic apple and pear growers to begin testing alternatives now with integrated
non-antibiotic fire blight control options that have proven successful for some organic growers.

The report is based on field experiences from organic growers who have already developed various approaches to non-antibiotic fire
blight control – particularly exporters to Europe, which does not allow antibiotics – along with preliminary results from a range of research trials on new materials and strategies.

The study suggests successful non-antibiotic fire blight control combines orchard management practices with an integrated systems
approach for prevention. The report features suggestions for fungal control, insect control, bloom thinning, spray coverage, tree
training, soil and foliar nutrients, and cultivar and root stock selection. And, it provides detailed considerations for each
stage of apple and pear production. Some of the research is now validating the grower practices, such as the fire blight control from lime sulfur blossom thinning sprays.

Shade added once Oregon State’s findings are available in 2015, growers can combine the university’s recommendations with The
Organic Center’s report to give them the benefit of the latest research as well as field-proven strategies.

The study’s co-authors are Harold Ostenson, a Washington-based tree fruit consultant, and David Granatstein, Sustainable
Agriculture Specialist for the Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

About The Organic Center

Established in 2002 and based in Washington DC, The Organic Center is a nonprofit organization that is a trusted source of
information for scientific research about organic food and farming. We cover up-to-date studies on sustainable agriculture and
health, and collaborate with academic and governmental institutions to fill gaps in our knowledge.

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