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Farmer Rancher Program These grants are for farmers/ranchers to explore innovative sustainable agriculture solutions to production, marketing, labor, and other problems. There are three types of competitive grants: individual grants ($9,000 maximum), Team of Two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($18,000 maximum), and Group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate and distinct operations who are working together ($27,000 maximum). Projects may last up to 24 months. Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at https://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Our-Grant-Programs/Farmer-Rancher-Grant-Program. Proposals are due on December 6, 2018. Partnership Program The Partnership Grant program funded by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture.  Partnership Grants[Read More…]


Purdue Extension will be hosting a three-day PrimusGFS v3.0 Training at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center on December 5, 6, and 7. This training will provide basic information for those who anticipate using the PrimusGFS v3.0 system or will be transitioning from previous versions. Each day will cover a specific portion of the new version 3.0 system. Day 1 will cover Food Safety Management Systems. Day 2 will cover GAPs. Day 3 will cover GMPs and HACCP.  To register, go to www.SafeProduceIN.com and click on the “Training” option. For additional information, contact Scott Monroe at (812) 886-0198 or (765) 427-9910.


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With the start of pumpkin harvest, it is a good time to review important considerations for harvest and postharvest storage of pumpkins and winter squash (butternut, acorn and hubbard squash etc.). Pumpkin and winter squash should be harvested fully mature to reach their optimal quality and fulfill their potential for long shelf lives. Characters indicating fruit maturity include loss of rind surface gloss, ground spot yellowing, and hardening of the skin to the level that it is resistant to puncture with a thumbnail. Except for some striped varieties, mature fruit should have solid external color. If fruit have to be harvested pre-mature because of plant decline, these fruit won’t store as well as mature fruit. The best practice is to harvest the fruit as soon as they are fully mature and then store under proper conditions. If mature fruit are left attached to the vines, it increases the chance of[Read More…]


Several pumpkin growers have asked me when to stop managing for pumpkin diseases. That is, when should a pumpkin grower stop applying fungicides? I cannot provide a definitive answer for this question; every grower will have to make his or her own decision. Below, however, are some factors to consider. Estimate the crop yield-walk through the field and evaluate the yield of pumpkins that are ready to harvest. Be sure to only consider fruit of marketable quality. If the yield is at or above what is expected, it may be time to put the sprayer away. Estimate when harvest will take place-Pumpkins that are scheduled for harvest in the next week or two are less likely to need any fungicide treatment. A longer period to final harvest may indicate that there is time for immature fruit to ripen. For example, pumpkins that are to be picked by the consumer up to Halloween may have time to mature.[Read More…]


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Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Date: September 28, 2018, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (EST) Location: Southwest Purdue Agriculture Center, 4369 N. Purdue Rd., Vincennes, IN Purdue Extension will be hosting a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training on September 28th. The training will be held in the basement of the SWPAP building at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center, 4369 N. Purdue Rd., Vincennes, IN 47591. This program meets the training requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. Cost is $100 and covers course manual, completion certificate, and lunch. Register by going to www.SafeProduceIN.com and clicking on the “Get Trained” option. Participants must pre-register. Registration will be closed on 9/26/18. For more information, contact Scott Monroe at (812) 886-0198. Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Growers’ Technical Meeting Date: November 15, 2018 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (EST) Location: Southwest Purdue Ag Center (SWPAC), 4369 N. Purdue Road, Vincennes,[Read More…]


Many of us may forget about the pesky squash vine borer until it’s too late. This pest of cucurbit crops tends to be sporadic in our region; you are either battling it every year or it hardly makes an appearance. The squash vine borer is a member of the clear-winged moths, a unique group of moths that are active during the daytime. They are very beautiful with their bright colored orange tufts on their legs (Figure 1), but can be devastating. The insect overwinters as a late instar larvae or pupa in the soil. When the weather warms, they mature and adults emerge. You can scout for the first generation of adults in the spring and should target pesticide applications at the base of the plant when adults are first spotted and for two weeks thereafter. If you wait, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will bore into the[Read More…]


Indiana State Department of Agriculture/Indiana Grown was recently awarded a grant in partnership with the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Dept of Education and Purdue Extension to create an all-inclusive local food sourcing guide for schools, called Indiana Grown for Schools: School Food Service Resource Guide. This two-year project will start with gathering information from Indiana farmers, producers and distributors then compiling it into a county by county guide that will be dispersed to all schools in the state of Indiana. If you want to have your information included in this guide, please fill out this survey https://goo.gl/forms/GFyrZrlUjxA0xZhx2 The deadline to fill out the survey is October 31, 2018. The survey also has some helpful links about Indiana food safety requirements – which may help those who are still unsure as to whether or not they qualify to sell to schools in Indiana. If you have any questions, please contact Heather Tallman at HTallman@isda.in.gov


Purdue Extension will be hosting a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training on September 28th. The training will be held in the basement of the SWPAP building at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center, 4369 N. Purdue Rd., Vincennes, IN 47591. This program meets the training requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. Cost is $100 and covers course manual, completion certificate, and lunch. Register by going to www.SafeProduceIN.com and clicking on the “Get Trained” option. Participants must pre-register. Registration will be closed on 9/26/18. For more information, contact Scott Monroe at (812) 886-0198.


I visited a few high tunnels around the state recently and used a hand-held soil electrical conductivity (EC) meter to test soil salinity levels inside of the structures. Although the hand-held EC meter may not give ratings as accurate as a soil test lab could provide, I had comparative ratings from several farms. Interestingly, by talking to growers, I found tomatoes grown in the high tunnels that have relatively high EC ratings seem to suffer more problems in the past season. In most cases, the unhealthy plants have been taken out of the tunnels by the time I visited (in early August). In one situation, the farmer reported flower abortion and a lot of blossom end rot. In another situation, the farmer described a widespread leaf spot symptom that was not a disease. He followed the recommendation based on plant tissue analysis, but the problem was not solved. In the third situation, tomato[Read More…]


Plectosporium lesions on pumpkin fruit are less common.

Before writing this article, I went back to an old article from 2015. In 2015, I had written, Plectosporium blight was more severe than normal. In 2018, I have also observed more Plectosporium blight than usual. It is not clear to me why this disease seems to be more widespread compared to recent seasons. However, it makes sense to review Plectosporium blight here. I would rank Plectosporium blight behind powdery mildew, bacterial leaf spot and Phytophthora blight in economic damage caused. The occurrence of this disease is usually sporadic. However, when it occurs, it can cause yield loss if left uncontrolled. Plectosporium blight can be recognized from the light tan spindle shaped lesions on stems and leaf petioles (Figure 1 and 2) Lesions on leaves may be dimple like. Lesions may also occur on the fruit (Figure 3), although these symptoms are less common. Yield loss is most often caused[Read More…]


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