Recap of Ag Week at Harrington, DE Fair Grounds
Amazing presentation from industry experts discussing innovations, new crop potentials, as well as relevant new and old diseases and pests.
Jill Pollack, University of Delaware's plant diagnostician, explained how most samples that the plant diagnostic clinic processes are woody ornamental landscape crop and perennial samples. Whereas field crops, fruit, vegetables, and small grain made up less than 25% of samples submitted. Jill discussed diseases like black rot, downy mildew, phomopsis, and botrytis in small fruit. Jill also warned about new diseases on strawberries, neopestalotiopsis, and tar spot on corn. Disease can be challenging to identify even with a hand lens. Submitting samples to the plant diagnostic clinic is a great way to confirm infections.
Dr. Gordon Johnson, University of Delawares fruit and vegetable extension specialist explained the benefits of using brassica, such as mustard, rape seed, and canola as a biofumigant to control phytophthora. Some considerations if you are thinking of incorporating this into your operation are: choosing species and variety with high glucosinolat content, treat this cover crop like cash crop, and make sure to preform proper seedbed preparation. One of the most important steps is to immediately incorporate into the soil after termination because this is crucial to obtain the biofumigant effect.
Dr. David Owens, U of D entomologist reviewed previous insect data and potential issues in the new year
Early flight of corn ear worm was late May through mid-June. By mid-July until late August this pest is in main flight with high population levels. This is one of those pests that has been building resistance to pyrethroids and should be watched/scouted for carefully. You don’t want to miss time your applications.
October, Milton, DE was happy to discover a new mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis on tomatoes. This mite feeds on two spotted spider mites. There is some awesome research being done in NC, this maybe one of those bennies you may want to adjust your IMP for. Check out NC research at https://southern.sare.org/news/north-carolina-researchers-find-new-ways-to-control-pest-mites-in-tomatoes/
Striped cucumber beetle can start arriving between May 14 – 23 rd , based on a three-year average (early watermelon plantings may have begun flowering). We can expect first generation to emerge around July 4 and peak by the 3 rd week of July.
Seedcorn Maggot may begin damaging crop in March or April. Monitor for this pest if the field has freshly tilled organic matter and planting begins less than three weeks after incorporating organic matter, or if cold wet weather follows right after planting. Check out UD Extension seed corn maggot control video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDhj8QTz8hw&t=2s
Stink bugs in tomatoes is the number one pest from June to August. Last year, the heaviest damage was reported mid-July. In 2022 it was estimated 40% of May plantings experienced damage from sink bugs, and only 4% of July plantings were damaged. Additionally, growers should anticipate increased mite activity after stink bug spray treatments.
Slugs no-till operations have increased slug pressure. However, the benefits of no-till out way the disadvantages. Scouting is the post important part of a crop protection plan.
Dr. Kalpalatha Melmaiee, associate professor with Department of Agriculture and Delaware State University talked about mitigating heat stress in berry fruit through spay silica applications which have been effective in university lab trails
Dr. Gordon Johnson discussed, turning chicken houses into indoor grow operation. If this is something you’re thinking about doing be sure that you understand the limiting factors and type of operation including the upfront cost and limitations on what can be grown. He also discussed agrivoltaics, which is the simultaneous use of areas of land for both solar panels and agriculture. Examples of these systems include pepper production under solar panels where the shade from solar panels helps to prevent issue such as sun scaled and have overall higher yield and quality. University of Delaware Carvel Research Center in Georgetown has a grant to develop an agrivoltaics field in spring 2023
Syngenta anticipates the release of a product with a new mode of action for controlling cabbage loopers with a 10–14-day residual.
New Crop Potential
Shem Elias, a University of Delaware Masters student, discussed baby ginger as a high value alternative crop which has medicinal value and market value $6-12 per pound. Dr. Gordon Johnson talked about potential new processing crops such as broccoli, broccolini (image 1), Caulini (image 2), and sprouting broccoli (image 3). Eboni Traverso, a master’s student, talked about the potential new processing lima beans genetics that are resistant to root knot nematode.