390 articles

Financial tools can help farmers improve farm’s performance and assure profitability. Enterprise budgets, financial statements, and sensitivity analyses are examples of financial tools that assist farmers on their decision-making. Enterprise budgets are a reliable tool that help keep track of revenues and expenditures associated with a specific crop. Farmers using these budgets can estimate the net profits per area of production, and assess if this profit is enough money to achieve their profitability goals. Budget information can also help farmers determine the minimum quantity of produce they need to sell (breakeven yield analysis) and the minimum price (breakeven price analysis) they should charge to cover all costs. Overall, enterprise budgets can help farmers to provide a realistic projection of the income, expenses and profits of a new crop or enterprise. Building the HortBusiness Calculator for Cantaloupes Our team, at the Horticulture Business Extension program at Purdue University, is developing the[Read More…]


Figure 1. Breakdown of young leaf tissues in the heart of a celery plant

Blackheart of celery is a physiological disorder that causes significant crop loss in major celery production areas. It is characterized by the breakdown of young leaf tissues in the heart of the plants (Figure 1). The affected young tissues turn black, which give it the name “blackheart”.  The cause of blackheart of celery is related to calcium deficiency in the fast expanding tissues, similar to the cause of blossom-end rot of tomato and tip-burn of lettuce. The symptom is more severe as plants approach maturity. Fluctuation in soil moistures; excessive soil fertility, especially nitrogen and potassium; and high soil salinity favor the development of blackheart. Varieties may show different tolerance to the physiological disorder. In addition, the problem can be prevented by avoiding wide fluctuation of soil moisture and over-fertilization. Drench application and foliar spray of soluble calcium direct to the heart of the plant may help to prevent the[Read More…]


Figure 2. Demonstration soil solarization in a high tunnel.

Soil solarization can be used as a tool for soil disinfestation. It is accomplished by covering moist soil with transparent polyethylene film for 4 to 6 weeks in the summer. During this period, soils are heated to temperatures that are lethal to many soil pathogens, nematodes and weed seeds. This summer we conducted a demonstration trial in one of the high tunnels at Southwest Purdue Ag Center. The high tunnel was divided into three parts that were covered with 6-mil plastic, 1.5-mil plastic, and no plastic. The 6-mil plastic is the old covering of the high tunnel, and the 1.5-mil plastic was purchased from a paint store. Air temperature and soil temperature at the depth of 12 inches were recorded. We saw little difference between temperatures of the soils covered with 6-mil plastic and 1.5-mil plastic, which indicated that the old coverings of high tunnels are as good as thin[Read More…]


Beginning Farmer East Regional Workshop Date: Oct. 28, 2017, 8:30 am – 4 pm Location: Randolph County Fairgrounds, 1885 U.S. Route 27, Winchester Attendees for this workshop can learn about: Business planning Pasture management Fruit and vegetable pest management Pastured poultry Greenhouse and high tunnel management Marketing products Purdue Extension experts will be available to discuss and answer questions. Cost is $10 and lunch will be provided. To register or find more information about the next four regional workshops, go to www.conf.purdue.edu/BegFarmerTours. Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Growers’ Technical Meeting Date: November 21, 2017 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (EST) Location: Southwest Purdue Ag Center (SWPAC), 4369 N. Purdue Road, Vincennes, IN The meeting will start at 5:00 pm for board members to discuss topics for the March meeting, which will be held in French Lick, IN. Any member who wants to participate in the discussion is welcome. At 6:00 pm, dinner will be served.[Read More…]


The Indiana Vegetable Growers Association board is seeking board members for 3-year terms beginning at the annual meeting in February 2018. Members interested in serving, or with suggestions for potential members, should contact President John Young at jmyoungco@yahoo.com or 5028 E. Landersdale Rd. Mooresville, IN 46158. For more information about the IVGA visit ivga.org.


Earlier in August, downy mildew was reported on all cucurbit species in LaPorte County in northwest Indiana and on pumpkins in Starke County (just south of La Porte County). More recently, downy mildew was reported on cucumbers and butternut squash in Knox County in southwestern Indiana. In addition, downy mildew is strongly suspected on cucumbers in Jefferson County. Growers in nearby areas should take care to manage downy mildew if they have valuable cucurbit crops. However, this late in the season, it is unlikely that there will be widespread losses. Management of downy mildew of cucurbits is discussed in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2017 mwveguide.org and in the extension bulletin Downy Mildew of Pumpkin https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-140-W.pdf.  Note that downy mildew of cucurbits and downy mildew of soybeans are not caused by the same organism.  Please call Dan Egel if you have questions or concerns.


Figure 3: The pumpkin plants in the foreground of this photos have yellow leaves.

This time of year, I receive many complaints of pumpkin plants with yellow leaves. There can be many reasons why pumpkin plants have yellow leaves. The most common reason for yellow pumpkin leaves doesn’t have anything to do with a disease that can spread from plant to plant. Usually, the reason for the yellow pumpkin leaves has to do with lack of water, weather that has been too hot, nutrient deficiency or other stresses. The photos and discussion below will, I hope, illustrate my point. Let’s say you have a pumpkin field where you have pumpkin leaves that are yellow and you are wondering about the cause. You may want to ask yourself, which leaves are yellow and where are they yellow. In Figure 1, yellow pumpkin leaves may be observed.  When one looks a bit closer to find out where the yellow leaves are, one can see that the[Read More…]


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Hydroponics Workshop II Date: Sep 8, 2017, 7:30 am – noon. Location: WSLR 116, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture 170 S. University St. Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907 Registration: http://tinyurl.com/yb4dnwrh For further questions contact Lori Jolly-Brown, ljollybr@purdue.edu, (765) 494-1296 In this workshop, you will learn about: LED lighting for winter produce in greenhouses Things to know about successful production in ‘vertical or indoor farms’ Biological control of insects Fertilizer recipes and injectors Ongoing research in our greenhouses Beginning Farmer East Regional Workshop Date: Oct. 28, 2017, 8:30 am – 4 pm. Location: Randolph County Fairgrounds, 1885 U.S. Route 27, Winchester. Attendees for this workshop can learn about: Business planning Pasture management Fruit and vegetable pest management Pastured poultry Greenhouse and high tunnel management Marketing products Purdue Extension experts will be available to discuss and answer questions. Cost is $10 and lunch will be provided. To register or find more information about the next[Read More…]


Figure 1. Odd pricing used by farmers selling at the Lafayette (Indiana) Farmers Market.

This publication is the second part of a series of publications that aim to help farmers selling at farmers markets and other local markets. Below we offer information on price determination and pricing strategies for farmers markets. The importance of understanding pricing information Pricing is probably the single most important driver of farm profitability and long-term sustainability; yet it tends be one of the least controlled factors by farmers. The price that you tend to set for their produce represents the monetary value of a product. In economic terms, price reflects how much the consumer values your produce, which depends on internal (produce quality, the farm’s image, production yield, credit terms) and external (competitors, consumers’ preferences, seasonality) factors. A study by Darby et al. (2008) found that consumers prefer locally grown over regional or U.S. grown, and are willing to pay almost twice as much for local products. For example,[Read More…]


The Indiana Vegetable Growers Association board is seeking board members for 3-year terms beginning at the annual meeting in February 2018. Members interested in serving, or with suggestions for potential members, should contact President John Young at jmyoungco@yahoo.com or 5028 E. Landersdale Rd. Mooresville, IN 46158. For more information about the IVGA visit ivga.org.


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