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The tomato seedlings above exhibit downward curled leaves (red arrows) which maybe a symptom of ethylene damage and yellow seed leaves with lesions (red circles)

​This is the time of year when growers often call to complain about tomato transplants that do not look right.  One possibility is that the seedlings suffer from heater problems.  In particular, tomato plants are very susceptible to damage from the gas ethylene.  In Figure 1, some of the seedlings have leaves that are curled down and stems that are twisted (epinasty in botanical terms). Epinasty is a common symptom of ethylene damage. Ethylene is a common by-product of incomplete combustion of several different types of fuel.  Incomplete combustion is often the result of heaters that are not working efficiently. Tomatoes are very sensitive to ethylene damage. A second clue is to take a closer look at the yellow seed leaves (Figure 1). Ethylene damage does not include yellowing. Furthermore, there is a spotting on the lower leaves that is not typical ethylene damage. I believe that the symptoms on seed leaves were as a result of a different compound,[Read More…]

​Cover crops should be killed at least a couple of weeks before planting vegetables. That will give the cover time to partially decompose, and time for any cutworm larvae that may be in the crop to die or pupate. If wet weather delays killing or incorporation of cover crops, the time between incorporation and planting may be shorter than normal, or the cover crop may be larger than normal. There are implications for pest, nutrient, and cover crop management. Black cutworm moths prefer to lay eggs in vegetated areas, including fields with cover crops or weeds. They typically show up in early May. To track black cutworm moth catches in pheromone traps throughout the state, refer to the Purdue Pest & Crop Newsletter at http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2015/index.html. If larvae are present in the cover crop and they survive until the cash crop is planted or emerges, they may cause serious stand loss.[Read More…]

2015 Hop yards in Indiana. Established yards are represented with gold stars and planned hop yards in green.

Background. Rapid growth in the craft beer industry is stimulating Indiana’s economy and creating an opportunity for Indiana farmers to start growing hops. In 2012, the Indiana craft brewing industry contributed over 600 million dollars to the state’s economy. The industry continues to grow, increasing from 63 breweries in 20131 to nearly 100 in 2015, and housing over 6,000+ full-time employees2. Hop production has increased over 10% since 2013, with the hops industry in Indiana being no exception3. Hop production currently occurs predominantly in the Pacific Northwest, with Washington state leading production at (74%) of the total acreage, followed by Oregon (14%), Idaho (10%), and the rest of the country (2%). However, many hop yards have now taken root in Indiana, with many additional yards currently under construction (Figure 1). Hops (Humulus lupulus). Hops are a perennial crop essential for beer production – imparting bitterness and aroma. The plants produce[Read More…]

​Purdue Extension is starting the Indiana Food Hub Network this year. So what’s a food hub? The USDA working definition is “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.”   Extension educator Roy Ballard, who is workkng with Local Food Coordinator Jodee Ellett to develop Indiana’s network, says, “Food hubs come in all shapes and sizes, and are finding great success nationwide. They can enable small- to mid-sized growers to enter a larger, wholesale-style local food marketplace with other growers by co-marketing products and services such as communication and distribution. But hubs are scale-neutral; they are providing a means for all sizes of farms and food entrepreneurs to expand their local food markets.”  If you want to learn more, or might be interested in forming a food hub, consider joining the new email list Indiana Food Hubs[Read More…]

​(Information provided by Office of the Indiana State Chemist, 765-494-1492, www.isco.purdue.edu) The Indiana Pesticide Clean Sweep Project designed to collect and dispose of suspended, canceled, banned, unusable, opened, unopened or just unwanted pesticides (weed killers, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, miticides, etc.) is being sponsored by the Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC). This disposal service is free of charge up to 250 pounds per participant. Over 250 pounds there will be a $2.00 per pound charge. This is a great opportunity for you to legally dispose of unwanted products at little or no cost. All public and private schools, golf courses, nurseries, farmers, ag dealers, cities, towns, municipalities and county units of government or others receiving this notice are eligible to participate. Pesticides will be accepted from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Local Time at the following dates and locations in August, 2015: August 18: Miami County Fairgrounds, Peru, IN August[Read More…]

While the hard copy of the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2015 (ID-56) has been available since early January, the on-line version is updated as needed. Below I outline the latest changes. Page 40, Table 16. Several insecticide products were added to the “Insecticide Labeling for Greenhouse Use” table. Page 100, Cucurbit chapter. Luna Privilege® was removed from the lists of suggested products for Alternaria leaf blight control and gummy stem blight/black rot control. While Luna Privilege® is labeled for these uses, it is not available yet. Page 100, Cucurbit chapter. The rates for Presidio® for downy mildew and Phytophthora blight control were modified by the manufacturer. Page 109, Product/Disease Rating for All Cucurbits. Several products were deleted, added, or modified in the Product/Disease Ratings for All Cucurbits table. These include Luna Experience®, Actigard®, Revus® and Presidio®. Page 125, Fruiting Vegetable Chapter. Ridomil Gold SL® was added to[Read More…]

In December 2014, I described the ‘Yearbook of Agriculture, 1928”. In that blog, I wrote about processing tomato production in 1925 and 2013 (the ‘Yearbook of Agriculture, 1928’ lists data back to 1925). Today, I would like to discuss cantaloupe and watermelon production. Unfortunately, yields posted in the “Yearbook” are in different units than in use today. However, I can compare acreage in 1925 and 2015. Cantaloupe production in Indiana in 2013 was at 2,100 acres. This compares to 4,820 acres in 1925. Part of the reason for the drop in acres might be that cantaloupe requires a lot of postharvest handling. Buyers want cantaloupe, also known as muskmelon, to be washed and cooled. Food safety concerns require growers to invest in specialized equipment and wade through reams of regulations. In 1925, Indiana was number 6 in the US in cantaloupe acreage, behind California and Arizona (of course) as well[Read More…]

​Two USDA grant programs may be of interest to vegetable growers or grower organizations. The Rural Energy for America Program helps growers and small rural business improve energy efficiency, or purchase or install renewable energy systems. The program includes guaranteed loan financing and grant funding. For more information see the USDA website at www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency or contact Indiana’s rural energy coordinator Jerry Hay at 812-346-3411 Ext.126. The Specialty Crop Block Grant provides funding to promote specialty crop competitiveness in Indiana. Grants are made to non-profit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities and other organizations related to Indiana’s specialty crops industry. Past funding from this program has supported projects by grower groups, Purdue, and others in the areas of marketing, food safety education (e.g. GAPs A to Z programs), production education (e.g. Indiana Horticultural Congress), research on production practices, and more. Proposals are due to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA)[Read More…]

​Good Agricultural Practices A to Z Workshops. Funded by Purdue, as part of AgSEED Crossroads funding to support Indiana’s Agriculture and Rural Development, or by USDA/ISDA Specialty Crops Block Grant to Purdue. Programs focused on cantaloupe are also relevant to other fresh fruits and vegetables; all growers are welcome to attend. Register online at tinyurl.com/RegisterGAPsAtoZ. Tuesday, March 24, 2015. 12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Focus on Cantaloupe. Ag Hall, Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, 17746 County Road 34, Goshen, IN. contact: Jeff Burbrink, 574-533-0554, Ext 106, jburbrink@purdue.edu. Friday, March 27, 2015. 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Parke County Fairgrounds, 1472 U.S. 41, Rockville, IN. Contact: Jim Luzar, 812-462-3371, luzar@purdue.edu. Monday, March 30, 2015. 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.Purdue Extension Hancock County Office, 802 North Apple Street Greenfield, IN. Contact: Roy Ballard, 317-462-1113, rballard@purdue.edu. Wednesday, April 8, 2015. 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Washington County Extension Office, Washington County Government Building, Suite[Read More…]

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