Fruit Grower News featured an article about research being done in Michigan and New York on a new method to prevent bird damage to fruit. Researchers from Cornell University and Michigan State University are working with growers to test the use of “inflatable dancers”, more commonly seen attracting the attention of passersby to shiny new cars, to deter birds from fruit crops. You can read the whole article here: Inflatable Dancers Scare Off Birds.
In 2014, three initial training opportunities will be offered for produce growers on food safety and good agricultural practices and good handling practices (GAP’s and GHP’s) by the Delaware Cooperative Extension. Training covers microbial food contaminants, outbreaks associated with produce, how produce becomes contaminated, Good Agricultural Practices in the field (water sources; animals, manures, and compost; field sanitation; and worker hygiene) and Good Handling Practices from harvest to sales (packing area sanitation, worker hygiene, storage, handling, and shipping).
For growers who have attended previous trainings, we are having two update sessions which will provide the latest information on produce food safety science, industry actions, audit requirements, and the status of the FDA rule. A portion of the session will be spent on recommendations for produce wash water disinfection and produce contact surface disinfection. Recertification credits will be given.
All Sessions will be held at University of Delaware County Extension Offices
New Castle: 461 Wyoming Road, Newark, DE — Kent: 69 Transportation Circle Dover, DE— Sussex: 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, DE
DATES & LOCATIONS
Initial sessions for those who have not attended training in the past:
NEW CASTLE COUNTY – April 3, 6-9 p.m. basic session. Phone (302) 831-2667 to register.
KENT COUNTY – March 31, 9 a.m.-noon for the basic session with an additional 3 hours for those selling to wholesalers from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Phone (302) 730-4000 to register
SUSSEX COUNTY – March 27, 6-9 p.m. for the basic session with an additional 3 hour session for those selling to wholesalers on April 1 from 6-9 p.m. Phone (302) 856-7303 to register.
Update sessions for those that have already attended trainings:
KENT COUNTY – March 25, 9 a.m.-noon Phone (302) 730-4000 to register.
SUSSEX COUNTY – March 19, 6-9 p.m. Phone (302) 856-7303 to register.
These varieties have been tested in our watermelon trials and are recommended for production on Delmarva.
The varieties are listed by maturity group. Those designated “High Quality” had average brix of 11.5% or more in the majority of years they were trialed. Disease resistance is that reported by the seed company; Co(1) is Anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum orbiculare race 1, Fon is Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Niveum with the race designated when known. Click on the photo for a larger version of the image.
The updated Delaware Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations are available. As usual, this year’s guide includes updated insect, disease and weed control information as well as new variety recommendations. There are also new variety tables, including disease resistance information, days to maturity and quality characteristics for some crops, such as snap beans, cole crops, cucumbers and sweet corn. Plant tissue testing critical values are now included for some crops as well.
Check out the new Delaware Vegetable Production Recommendations online at: http://extension.udel.edu/ag/vegetable-fruit-resources/commercial-vegetable-production-recommendations/. Print copies are available for purchase from the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware, which sells the book at cost ($10) to FVGAD members and for $20 to non-members through the three county Extension offices.
On Saturday, June 8 the rain held of long enough for us to have a nice blueberry educational meeting and tour the three year old planting at Bennett Orchards in Frankford, Delaware.
If you missed the meeting you can check out these links to some of the handouts and resources discussed:
Field Map of Blueberry Planting at Bennett Orchards
Bennett Orchards Major Steps to Blueberry Plant Establishment
Bennett Orchards Blueberry Establishment Costs
Overview of Blueberry Research at UD Farm in Georgetown and at Bennett Orchards in Frankford
Do’s and Don’ts for Establishing Blueberries – WCU Article by Gordon Johnson
Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide
Penn State’s Spotted Wing Drosophila Factsheets
Over the past several years a number of people have generously given me seed of pole lima bean varieties that they have grown and maintained. In some cases these varieties have been grown by the family for more than 100 years. As part of the Lima Bean Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant we will be using DNA sequencing techniques to learn more about a diverse collection of lima bean varieties. Some of the pole lima bean varieties that are pictured below will be included in that analysis.
I compiled the historic Delaware yield data for processing peas, green baby limas and sweet corn and developed the two charts below, which show the annual yields and a 5-year running average. There has been a yield gain of about 4 tons/A for processing sweet corn over the last 45 years and an approximately 0.5 ton/A yield gain for processing peas in the same time period. For green baby limas, on the other hand, there has been almost no increase in yield. Improved varieties are undoubtedly a major contributing factor to the yield gains realized for peas and sweet corn. Meanwhile, as few resources have been devoted to developing improved green baby lima varieties, yields have stagnated. Hopefully, work at the University of Delaware to develop improved lima bean varieties will help to get that red line moving in an upward direction.
Dr. John Clark at the University of Arkansas has recently released four new table grape cultivars: ‘Faith’, ‘Gratitude’, ‘Joy’ and ‘Hope’. When at the Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science meeting in February I attended presentations by Dr. Clark and several other researchers who have tested some or all of these new varieties in Arkansas and Alabama. The Arkansas grape breeding program was responsible for developing many of the table grape varieties currently available for production in our region. So while these four new varieties have not been tested in Delaware, they have potential to be useful here.
More information about the varieties is available here. A list of nurseries selling these varieties is available here. As of this writing, the four new varieties are available only through Double A Vineyards, Inc.
Every other year the Extension Vegetable and Small Fruits Program conducts pea variety trials. During the most recent trial in 2012 we filmed the harvest process and produced a video about the trials. The video is now online here: UD Pea Variety Trial Video. Enjoy!