Issue: During the growing season, it became apparent that members of the agricultural community needed real time information regarding crop and pest management recommendations; identification of current crop production and pest damage issues; as well as information on potential pest issues coming our way. This information was needed to allow them to make cost effective and environmentally responsible management decisions. To address this need, a comprehensive newsletter called the “Weekly Vegetable and Fruit Update” was first published in 1990 as a mailed subscription. As agronomic articles and grain marketing information was added, it became the “Weekly Crop Update” in 1993 and was first made available online in 1997. The current issue and archived issues of the internet version are available on the Weekly Crop Update website.
- The Weekly Crop Update (WCU) Extension Newsletter, currently edited by Emmalea Ernest, is issued weekly from March through September and features articles and updates from Delaware and regional extension agents and specialists on vegetable, fruit and agronomic crop management topics.
- Weekly articles address production topics, disease and insect outbreaks, the latest weed, insect and disease control options, pasture and forage management, and upcoming meetings and events.
- It is currently distributed to over 400 subscribers mostly through the free web-based version although print and fax subscriptions are still available for a fee of $40/year.
- Subscribers include growers, ag consultants, extension professionals, agribusiness representatives, vegetable processing companies, and government agency personnel from within the state of Delaware, the Mid-Atlantic Region, and beyond.
- Ninety six percent of the respondents to a September 2012 survey indicated that the WCU alerted them to problems and pest outbreaks in time for them to take action.
- Eighty five percent of the respondents indicated that the WCU provided economic impact to their business or farming operation; 57% of respondents indicated that the WCU helped them to prevent yield loss and 33% indicated that it helped them to reduce production costs.
- Over 60% of respondents reported scouting their fields for pests or diseases mentioned in the WCU that they would not otherwise have been looking for.
- Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated that the WCU helped them to improve their skills in crop nutrient management, plant nutrition and cultural practices.
Submitted by Joanne Whalen and Emmalea Ernest