Farewell Phillip

Emmalea Ernest, Associate Scientist – Vegetable Crops and Co-Ag Program Leader; emmalea@udel.edu

As a county Ag Agent Phillip Sylvester has been a valued Extension adviser to farmers in Kent County since 2011. In addition to being a trusted and accessible consultant to many growers, Phillip has conducted and collaborated on numerous on-farm research projects and made that new knowledge available to growers. He has also been a key organizer of Delaware Ag Week and the Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School. We in Extension will miss working with Phillip as a college and wish him well in his new work as an independent crop consultant.

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has begun the process of filling this important position and we expect to have the job opening posted by the end of February. In the interim, Kent County growers should call the Kent County Extension Office (302-730-4000) for assistance.

Guess the Pest! End of Season Raffle Winner Announced!

Bill Cissel, Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management; bcissel@udel.edu

Thanks to all that followed along each week and submitted answers. Click on the Guess the Pest Logo to see who won the “end of season” raffle for the $100 gift card. Everyone that submitted a correct answer was automatically entered into the raffle for each correct answer that was submitted. If you were a weekly winner, your name was entered not once but five times into the end of season raffle for that week.

Also, if you were a weekly winner, I have your copy of A Farmer’s Guide to Corn Diseases and will be contacting you soon to distribute them.

Reflect on Insect Challenges in 2018

David Owens, Extension Entomologist, owensd@udel.edu and Bill Cissel, Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management; bcissel@udel.edu

Now that harvest season is starting (for corn), in sight (for soybeans) or we look like we might have some time to catch our breath after another hopefully fruitful season, it is a good time to reflect back on insect challenges or issues that came up in 2018. Were they worse or better than 2017? Did you have to deal with anything unusual? Were you pleased with the control strategy you used when you had to make an application? Did an insecticide go out that, looking back, might not have been necessary? Are there problems for which we don’t have good tools available? Reflection like this can help craft next year’s strategy. I would love to hear from you as you look back on the season and reflect. It may help you craft next year’s strategy, and it helps us understand what you dealt with and how we can target our 2019 insect game plan accordingly to help answer questions. Thank you and good luck bringing the rest of the crop in!

2018 Seasonal Rainfall and Temperature

Jarrod O. Miller, Extension Agronomist, jarrod@udel.edu

We have enough days in September to get a good average to finish out the season. The graphs below have rainfall (precipitation) as bar graphs, with the typical average in blue and this year’s rainfall in green. Average temperatures are yellow lines and this year’s temperatures are in red.

Newark had a drier June than normal, but most other months have 1-2 inches more rain than normal. Average temperatures in 2018 were warmer in May and throughout September, but were otherwise normal.

Dover had similar summer temperatures to Newark, but received higher than average rainfall every month between May-September. If you went to DEOS (http://www.deos.udel.edu/) after most storms this summer, it was apparent that many storms seemed to move across the center of the state.

Georgetown was saturated in May, with 10.23 inches of rain compared to the normal of 4 inches. Through the summer, rainfall steadily fell until going far below normal in August with only 2 inches. Temperatures were not so kind in the southern half of the state, with both May and late summer having higher averages. Hopefully farmers in Sussex County kept the irrigation going in August. The rains have returned in September, delaying some of the corn harvest.

University of Maryland Extension Releases Farm Stress Management Online Resources

The University of Maryland Extension (UME) announces the release of a new web page devoted to assisting farm families in dealing with stress management through difficult economic times. “Farm Stress Management,” released in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention week Sept. 9-15, is a set interdisciplinary resources to help farmers navigate the numerous publications online and provide timely, science-based education and information to support prosperous farms and healthy farm families. Farm families are feeling the stress of an inconsistent and unreliable economy; declining incomes, several years of low commodity prices, and increasing costs have all led to worsening debt issues. Farmers have been forced to parcel off their land, file for bankruptcy, and take secondary jobs off the farm to provide supplemental income.

Access to affordable and effective health insurance and care is one of the top concerns among farmers who are often self-employed. Providing health insurance, disability coverage, and planning for retirement and long-term future care have also proven problematic. In fact, in a USDA-funded study, 45 percent of farmers were concerned that they would have to sell some or all of their farm to address health-related costs.

The new web pages offer resources to manage farm stress through a variety of subject areas including financial management, legal aid, mediation, stress and health management, and crisis resources for families dealing with depression substance abuse, mental health concerns. Farms have a special role in American society and are critical to our national and local economies. With world populations expected to increase to a predicted 9 billion by 2050, farmers become even more crucial for feeding our communities. Healthy farms and healthy farm families promote rural community growth, environmental stewardship and cultural legacies.

The new UME online resources can be found at https://extension.umd.edu/FarmStressManagement. For more information, please contact Laura Wormuth, UME Communications Coordinator, at 301-405-6869 or lwormuth@umd.edu.

Extension Disaster Education Network

Nancy Gregory, Plant Diagnostician; ngregory@udel.edu

The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) is a resource for all farmers, Extension personnel, landscapers, landowners, families, and citizens for information regarding disaster preparedness and recovery. The national website provides tips and resources for families in preparation of natural disasters. Delaware has a web page under UD Cooperative Extension with links to resources, reports, opportunities and more: http://extension.udel.edu/ag/agribusiness/eden/

USDA Prepared to Respond to Hurricane Florence

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds rural communities, farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses potentially impacted by Hurricane Florence of programs to provide assistance in the wake of disasters. USDA staff in the regional, State and county offices stand ready and eager to help. Additionally, USDA’s Operations Center will function around the clock.

“Our farmers and ranchers take financial risks every year to help feed and clothe the U.S. and the world, and a hurricane makes their situations even more perilous,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “At USDA, it’s our job to be there for them when they need help. All of our relevant agencies are ready to assist when natural disasters strike.”

USDA has important roles in both response to hurricanes and recovery efforts. USDA also is staffing the Regional Response Coordination Center in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region IV, which covers eight states including North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. USDA is providing 24-hour staffing to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center, and has personnel supporting the North Carolina and South Carolina State Emergency Operations Centers. USDA also is supporting FEMA Region II Regional Response Coordination Center in New Jersey to assist response efforts for Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Florence. Additionally, personnel from the U.S. Forest Service and USDA Office of the Inspector General are pre-staging in Charlotte, North Carolina to assist with public safety and security efforts.

USDA recently launched a disaster assistance discovery tool through its new website Farmers.gov that walks producers through five questions to help them identify personalized results of which USDA disaster assistance programs can help them recover after a natural disaster.

In a continuing effort to serve the public, USDA also partnered with FEMA and other disaster-focused organizations and created the Disaster Resource Center website, located at www.usda.gov/topics/disaster. This central source of information utilizes a searchable knowledgebase of disaster-related resources powered by agents with subject matter expertise. The Disaster Resource Center website and web tool now provide an easy access point to find USDA disaster information and assistance.

USDA also encourages residents and small businesses in impact zones to contact USDA offices which meet their individual needs.

Food Safety and Food Assistance
Severe weather forecasts often present the possibility of power outages that could compromise the safety of stored food. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends consumers take necessary steps before, during, and after a power outage to reduce food waste and minimize the risk of foodborne illness. FSIS offers tips for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe and A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes brochure that can be downloaded and printed for reference at home. Owners of meat and poultry producing businesses who have questions or concerns may contact the FSIS Small Plant Help Desk by phone at 1-877-FSIS-HELP (1-877-374-7435), by email at infosource@fsis.usda.gov, or 24/7 online at: www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/svsp/sphelpdesk.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) coordinates with state, local and voluntary organizations to provide food for shelters and other mass feeding sites. Under certain circumstances, states also may request to operate a disaster household distribution program to distribute USDA Foods directly to households in need. As disaster response moves into the recovery phase, FNS may approve a state’s request to implement a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) when the President declares a major disaster for individual assistance under the Stafford Act in areas affected by a disaster. State agencies also may request a number of disaster-related waivers to help provide temporary assistance to impacted households already receiving SNAP benefits at the time of the disaster, and to provide flexibilities in administering school meals, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and other programs. Resources for disaster feeding partners as well as available FNS disaster nutrition assistance can be found on the FNS Disaster Assistance website.

Crop and Livestock Loss
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers many safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, Emergency Forest Restoration Program (PDF, 257 KB) and the Tree Assistance Program. The FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that receive a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation also is available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting. USDA encourages farmers and ranchers to contact their local FSA office to learn what documents can help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses.

Producers with coverage through the federal crop insurance program administered by the Risk Management Agency should contact their crop insurance agent. Those who purchased crop insurance will be paid for covered losses. Producers should report crop damage within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.

Community Recovery Resources
For declared natural disasters that lead to imminent threats to life and property, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can assist local government sponsors with the cost of implementing recovery efforts like debris removal and streambank stabilization to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. NRCS had made available nearly $2 million in advance funding under the Emergency Watershed Protection program to help local communities immediately begin relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods and is coordinating with state partners to complete damage assessments in preparation for sponsor assistance requests. NRCS also can help producers with damaged agricultural lands caused by natural disasters, such as floods.

The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial assistance to repair and prevent excessive soil erosion that can result from high rainfall events and flooding. Conservation practices supported through EQIP protect the land and aid in recovery, can build the natural resource base, and might help mitigate loss in future events.

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides support for disaster education through the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). EDEN is a collaborative multi-state effort with land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension Services across the country, using research-based education and resources to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. EDEN’s goal is to improve the nation’s ability to mitigate, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters. EDEN equips county-based Extension educators to share research-based resources in local disaster management and recovery efforts. The EDEN website offers a searchable database of Extension professionals, resources, member universities and disaster agency websites, education materials to help people deal with a wide range of hazards, and food and agricultural defense educational resources.

Many of USDA Rural Development programs can help provide financial relief to rural communities hit by natural disasters by offering low-interest loans to rural community facilities, rural businesses and cooperatives and to rural utilities. More information can be found on the Rural Development website, located at www.rd.usda.gov.

For complete details and eligibility requirements regarding USDA’s disaster assistance programs, contact a local USDA Service Center. More information about USDA disaster assistance, as well as other disaster resources, is available on the USDA Disaster Resource Center website, located at www.usda.gov/topics/disaster.

Vydate Registration Review; EPA Accepting Comments

David Owens, Extension Entomologist, owensd@udel.edu

EPA is accepting comments to oxamyl (Vydate) registration review, docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0028. You can find it by following this link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0028 or by searching regulations.gov with the docket number above. In short, they are proposing reducing applications to 4 per season, removing aerial and airblast applications, and lengthening REIs to 3 days for all cucurbits, 4 days for potato, and 5 days for onion. Maximum application rates would be 1 lb a.i./acre. Application equipment cannot be greater than 2 feet above canopy. EPA is proposing to remove vydate from celery, eggplant, peanut, tobacco, tomato, and orchard uses. If these proposed changes impact your farming operation, please let me know and use the link to comment and provide EPA feedback. The comment period closes October 9.

Guess the Pest! Week #25

Bill Cissel, Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management; bcissel@udel.edu

Test your pest management knowledge by clicking on the GUESS THE PEST logo and submitting your best guess. For the 2018 season, we will have an “end of season” raffle for a $100.00 gift card. Each week, one lucky winner will also be selected for a prize and have their name entered not once but five times into the end of season raffle.

This week, one lucky participant will also win A Farmer’s Guide To Corn Diseases ($29.95 value).

You can’t win if you don’t play!

Guess the Pest Week 25:

What is this disease?

Guess the Pest! Week #24 Answer: European Corn Borer

Bill Cissel, Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management; bcissel@udel.edu

Congratulations to Grier Stayton for correctly identifying the insect as a European corn borer and for being selected to be entered into the end of season raffle for $100 not once but five times. Everyone else who guessed correctly will also have their name entered into the raffle. Click on the Guess the Pest logo to participate in this week’s Guess the Pest challenge!

Guess the Pest Week #24 Answer: European Corn Borer

It’s hard to believe that a pest that once caused an estimated annual economic loss of $1 billion dollars in the United States is now a rare occurrence. The European corn borer (ECB), as the name implies, is actually native to Europe and was introduced into North American in the early 1900s. In addition to being a pest of corn (field corn and sweet corn), it is also considered a pest of many vegetable and field crops. Since the adoption of transgenic corn hybrids in the mid-1990s, losses due to ECB have been virtually eliminated in Bt crops and significantly reduced in other vegetable and non-Bt field crops. This is one of the pests that the UD Insect Trapping Program monitors with black light traps. The reason we continue to monitor ECB populations throughout the state is because even though generally speaking, populations have been low, there are still local pockets where ECB is causing damage. The photo above of the ECB larva was taken on the Eastern Shore of VA by Helene Doughty from a non-BT sweet corn plot that was 100% infested with ECB.

For information on the benefits of Bt adoption, read this article: Regional pest suppression associated with widespread Bt maize adoption benefits vegetable growers http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/06/1720692115