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NeHA Fall Hop Conference and Annual Meeting

Harvest is over, and as always, much has been learned from the growing season.  Now is the time to finish documenting your successes and failures in your handy-dandy Hop Production Record Keeping Booklet!  Did you notice that one variety seemed to do better with two bines per string vs. four bines?  Or perhaps that training at a certain time resulted in better yields?  Maybe you wish you had fertilized your Cascades a little more.  Did you notice a couple of hills showing signs of downy mildew, and want to check back next spring to be sure to eliminate any flag shoots?  Write it down now while things are still fresh in  your mind, and come to the Northeast Hop Alliance Fall Hop Conference and Annual Meeting on November 5th in Troy, NY to get some new ideas for next season!

Register on Eventbrite by clicking here!

Hop Harvester Showcase

As many of you have heard, we are designing a hop harvester, and we want to show it off!  We are planning two showcases, one in Northfield, MA at Gene and Bonnie L’Etoile’s farm for our southern friends, and one for our northern friends at Borderview Farm in Alburgh, VT, where our research is hosted.  The Massachussetts date is Thursday, August 25th, and the Vermont date is Friday, August 26th.  Please click on the above links for more details.    We hope to see you there!

Spider Mite Destroyers and Spined Soldier Bugs!

As you are out in your hopyard, doing your weekly scouting, you may have run across these helpful little fellows:

Figure 1. A spider mite destroyer homing in on some two-spotted spider mites.

A spider mite destroyer lady beetle, or Stethorus picipes (Figure 1, click on the image to enlarge it), is a very useful beneficial insect and can eat up to 6 spider mites a day.  Both the larvae and adults feed primarily on spider mites, and are commonly found on the underside of the leaf.  The adult, shown in the photo to the left, looks like a shiny little black tank.  The larvae are small, gray and covered with fine hairs.  The University of California has some great photos of the spider mite destroyer as an egg, larva, pupa, and adult on their website (click on each image to enlarge it.) These guys are our friends, don’t squish ’em!

Figure 2. Spined soldier bugs (click to enlarge).

We have also come across these beautiful creatures (Figures 2 & 3), called spined soldier bugs (Podisus maculiventris).  The spined soldier bug is a predatory stink bug.  The eggs are metallic bronze with a spiny crown around the top, and are usually laid in clusters of 15-70 on the upper side of a leaf.  The eggs are usually found on the top side of the leaf, and when the nymphs hatch, they have a black head and a brick red thorax, and cluster around the eggs.  With each molt, the spined soldier bug changes in appearance.  The University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology has a website with photos of each stage. These beneficial insects feed on caterpillars (like the Eastern Comma Butterfly/Hop Merchant!!), grubs, and Colorado potato beetles, as well as loopers, flea beatles, army worms, and European corn borers.

Figure 3. Spined soldier bugs.

Potato Leafhopper Damage in Hopyards

Savanna Kittell-Mitchell, NW Crops and Soils Program & Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension Agronomist

Recently, injury and even death of hop plants from potato leafhopper feeding has been observed in Vermont.  Leafhoppers are damaging insects that have an appetite for more than 200 crops.  The potato leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) is considered an economic pest of other common northeast crops such as alfalfa, clover, potato, beans, raspberries, and even young maple trees. Interestingly, grasses are not considered a host.  This article will help you identify leafhopper infestation as well as provide direction on how to control this damaging pest.

Download pdf version of article

Crops and Soils Field Day

Location: Borderview Farm, 46 Line Rd, Alburgh, VT

Date: Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time: 10:00 am to 3:30 pm

Download pdf version of brochure

This year’s theme is Cultivating a Healthy Farm! From the ground up, we will highlight healthy soils, healthy crops and healthy people. Come and see over 2,000 research plots focusing on reduced tillage and cover crops, long term cropping systems and integrated pest management, as well as crop-specific research focusing on different annual forage systems, wheat, barley, oats, flax, oilseed crops and hops.

Our organic research hopyard is growing right before our eyes! Highlights will include weed control, mulches, time-saving irrigation methods, pest management, fertility management, and plans for a hop harvester, oast and baler. For the brewing enthusiasts, Christian and Andrea Stanley from Valley Malt will teach us the process of malting grains, featuring their prototype malter. Enjoy some malted ice cream from island homemade ice cream!

New this year, a health and wellness tent. We have a new addition to the field day this year–a farmer wellness tent that will include activities to improve health and reduce stress (think massage!) as well as local health care and farm safety providers to answer your individual questions.

Rick Kersbergen a nutritionist from University of Maine Extension will talk about enhancing forage rations with small grains. Learn from the results of the mini silo experiment testing that is evaluating the forage quality enhanced by blending small grains into stored feed such as haylage.

Much of our research this year is focused on farming for a healthy lake. Learn about our cover cropping research from planting dates and seeding rate to termination methods. Hear from farmers who have participated in our reduced tillage planter clinic, and learn how they have modified their planters. See a demonstration of new equipment such as a no-till grain drill and strip tillage implements.

Learn how to convert a tractor to run on straight vegetable oil or biofuel, but not before you see the various oilseed crop research trials! Tour the sunflower variety trial, seeding rate by nitrogen rate study, winter and spring canola variety trials and planting date studies as well as soybeans grown for biofuels. Don’t forget to watch our oilseed press demonstration as well as learn how to pelletize oilseed meal into grain.

Of course we have something for bakers and grain growers! Tour the several winter and spring wheat and barley, oats, and flax trials, all geared towards food grade products such as flour, oatmeal, and malt!

The program is free of charge for farmers.
All others, $20 per person. (CCA credits available)
Lunch will be provided featuring local products. Please RSVP by July 29 to 802-524-6501 or email
Individuals requesting a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program should
contact Elaine Burnor at 802-524-6501 or 800-639-2130 by July 28, 2011.

View Larger Map
Directions:
From Alburgh: Take Rt. 2 West. Just after the VT Welcome Center, turn right onto Rt. 225 (Border Rd.) Drive toward the Canadian Border. As you approach the border, turn left just BEFORE Customs. In front of you, there will be a dirt road (Line Rd.) that goes west along the border. Borderview Farm is the first farm on the left. Look for signs for the Field Day!

Managing Powdery Mildew of Hops in the Northeast

Powdery mildew (Podosphaera macularis (Wallr.) U. Braun & S. Takam) is one of the predominant fungal diseases that you might encounter in your hopyard.  Any pest issue in your crop can be daunting but a diligent integrated pest management (IPM) approach can help overcome many issues.  The goal of integrated pest management is to integrate a multipronged approach including prevention, observation, and various intervention strategies to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides while at the same time managing pest populations at an acceptable level.  This article will provide you with some guidelines on how to manage powdery mildew in your hopyard.

Click here to download article.

Spider Mites & Newsletters

Spider mites found in Northeast hopyards! This article, written by New York State Hops Specialist Steve Miller, will help you identify, scout, and develop treatment options for your yard. If you need assistance with scouting please give us a call (802) 524 6501. To purchase a hand lens, check out the following sites:

Also, in case you missed it, the Northeast Hop Alliance is putting out a newsletter, which will feature articles and updates on events, research, and grower and brewer news.  This month’s newsletter features an excerpt of Dr. Heather Darby’s fertility management guidelines for hopyards in the Northeast.  To read the fertility article in full, please click here.

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