low tunnel strawberries

Low tunnel strawberries ready for harvest. Photo courtesy J. Ochterski.

Cornell University’s School of Integrated Plant Science (SIPS) Horticulture Section is sponsoring a small fruit open house from 12:45 to 4:30 pm on Friday, October 3, 2014.

The two-part program, hosted by Dr. Marvin Pritts, professor and berry crop specialist, will include researchers, extension specialists and graduate students from SIPS Horticulture and Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Sections, Cornell Departments of Entomology and Natural Resources, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Team.

The program will begin at 1:00 PM. Participants should meet at Cornell Orchard, 709 Dryden Road (Route 366), Ithaca, NY 14850 between 12:30 PM to 12:45 PM for parking, check-in, and announcements.

Part one of the program will be held at Cornell Orchard, located on route 366 in Ithaca across from the Vet School parking lot. Topics for part one of the 2014 open house will include a chance to examine and discuss a new strawberry low tunnel production system being introduced to the Northeast region, a look at a new cranberry demonstration planting, techniques for minimizing bird damage in berry crops, an inside look at biopesticides as a newly emerging disease management tool, and an update on applied berry research efforts in eastern New York.

Part two of the program will be held at the East Ithaca Farm located just around the corner from Cornell Orchard on Maple Ave. Topics for this portion of the program will include techniques for monitoring and managing Spotted Wing Drosophila, a new invasive fruit fly, using wild flower plantings to enhance strawberry pollination, a berry variety question and answer session with Dr. Courtney Weber, Cornell small fruits breeder, introduction of a new research project on soil amendments and their effects on strawberry soil health and finally, a discussion of trellising systems for high tunnel blackberries.

A refreshment break will be provided between program sessions. The open house will be held rain or shine; umbrellas and/or lawn chairs may be desirable.

The open house is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required to ensure adequate transportation, handouts, and refreshments. Signs will be posted on the day of the event. Please register by phone or e-mail by contacting Cathy Heidenreich, mcm4@cornell.edu, 315-787-2367 no later than Friday, September 26, 2014.

More information…

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
3:00 – 5:00 pm

The Berry Patch of Stone Wall Hill Farm
15589 NY Route 22, Stephentown, NY 12168

Spotted Wing Drosophila research continues in our ongoing effort to better understand and control this new pest. This meeting will focus on a SARE Farmer grant funded project looking at different grades of exclusion netting and its efficacy on eliminating SWD from blueberries.

We will also look at a high tunnel raspberry planting that has a NYFVI funded grant project examining the efficacy and labor saving attributes of a fixed spray system in the tunnel.

Owner Dale Ila Riggs has been a leader in the campaign to secure research funding for SWD. The NYS Senate Agriculture Committee has contributed funding for these projects and other SWD research. The Berry Patch of Stone Wall Hill Farm produces all kinds of berries and vegetables for local retail markets.

More information…

The Mexican Consulate will be visiting Geneva on July 31, August 1 & 2 to provide consular services to the Mexican citizens residing in upstate New York who are in need of a Passport or Consular ID Card for identification matters, travel purposes, or to prove their Mexican nationality. They will also be assisting people in documenting dual citizenship.

The “Consulate on Wheels” will be hosted by the Cornell Farmworker Program and the Finger Lakes Coalition of Farmworker Agencies at the Geneva Community Center, 160 Carter Road, Geneva, NY. The consulate is providing this service in upstate New York to ease the burden of traveling to New York City to renew and obtain important documents.

Identification documents also ease the process of opening a bank account, getting a tax payer ID number, and establishing dual citizenship if needed.

Appointments will be available on Thursday (July 31) between 2- 7 PM and on Friday and Saturday (August 1-2) from 9AM to 2PM. Please schedule appointment (free) via Mexitel.

The Mexican Consulate will also be in the Upstate area on the following dates:

  • August 14-16, 2014- Episcopal Church, 58 E. Main Street, Sodus, NY (tentative)
  • September 17-20, 2014- Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, 3799 Union Street, Marion, NY
  • September 30-October 4, 2014- Syracuse, NY (location to be determined)

More information:


Contents for Vol. 13 No. 6, July 22, 2014

  • Front Page
    • Strawberry Renovation – A Reprise – Marvin Pritts and Cathy Heidenreich
  • Berry News Briefs
    • New School Positions Plant and Soil Science for the Future – Stacy Shackford
    • Wild Parsnip: A Plant Not to Ignore on Your Farm – Sharon Bachman
    • Blueberry Collapse May be Due to Winter Injury – Laura McDermott
  • Ag News
    • US Senator Gillibrand’s Office Releases Food Hub Funding Guide
    • Local Food Marketing Panels at 2014 Empire Farm Days include 14-Year-Old Farmer, Chefs, Seasoned Growers, Food Buyers
    • USDA Invites Suggestions for the 2017 Census of Agriculture
    • New Publication: Pest Management for Sustainable Season Extension
    • Cornell’s RAPP Program Demonstrates Agricultural Plastics Recycling, at Aug. 5-7 Empire Farm Days
    • USDA Unveils New Centralized Online Resource to Support Next Generation of Farmers
    • Disaster Assistance for 2012 Frost or Freeze Fruit Crop Losses Announced
  • Berry Organization News
    • NASGA Summer Tour Is Filling Fast
    • Preview: 2015 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference
  • Focus on Food Safety
    • Focus on Food Safety Series: Part 3 – Craig Kahlke & Betsy Bihn
  • On the Organic Side…
    • USDA Organic Cost-Share Programs Funded
    • OSU calculator Helps Organic Farmers use Fertilizer More Efficiently
    • Is eOrganic for You?
    • National Soil Project
  • Money Talk
    • New Pilot Program Offers Coverage for Fruits and Vegetables, Organic and Diversified Farms
  • Focus on Pest Management
    • Spotted Wing Drosophila Update – Juliet Carroll
    • Know the Imposters in Spotted Wing Drosophila Monitoring Traps – Faruque Zaman
    • Controlling Raspberry Cane Borers – Mark Longstroth
  • Articles
    •  Leaf Analysis – Now is the Time – Marvin Pritts and Cathy Heidenreich

(Re-posted from: US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, May 22, 2014)

WATER. REST. SHADE. The work can't get done without them.

“Water. Rest. Shade.” and acclimatization are critical in preventing heat illness and fatalities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced the launch of its annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers. For the fourth consecutive year, OSHA’s campaign aims to raise awareness and educate workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide resources and guidance to address these hazards. Workers at particular risk are those in outdoor industries, such as agriculture, construction, landscaping and transportation.

“Heat-related illnesses can be fatal, and employers are responsible for keeping workers safe,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Employers can take a few easy steps to save lives, including scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shade and allowing ample time to rest.”

Thousands of employees become sick each year and many die from working in the heat. In 2012, there were 31 heat-related worker deaths and 4,120 heat-related worker illnesses. Labor-intensive activities in hot weather can raise body temperatures beyond the level that normally can be cooled by sweating. Heat illness initially may manifest as heat rash or heat cramps, but can quickly escalate to heat exhaustion and then heat stroke if simple preventative measures are not followed. Heat illness disproportionately affects those who have not built up a tolerance to heat (acclimatization), and it is especially dangerous for new and temporary workers.

“Acclimatization is a physical change that the body undergoes to build tolerance to heat, and it is a critical part of preventing heat illnesses and fatalities,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Over the past three years, lack of acclimatization was the cause in 74 percent of heat-related citations issued. Employers have a responsibility to provide workplaces that are safe from recognized hazards, including outdoor heat.”

Last year, OSHA issued 11 heat-related citations. In some of these cases, the employer and staffing agency were cited because they involved temporary workers.

In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training, also available in both English and Spanish. Additionally, a Web page provides information and resources on heat illness – including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency – for workers and employers. The page is available at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.

OSHA also has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Since its 2011 launch, more than 130,000 users have downloaded the app. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in English and Spanish by visiting: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html.

In developing its inaugural national campaign in 2011, federal OSHA worked closely with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration and adapted materials from that state’s successful campaign. Additionally, OSHA is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the nation. NOAA also will include pertinent worker safety information on its heat watch Web page at http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php

(Re-posted from Cornell Soil Health blog, June 13, 2014)

We recently made the new 2014 Soil Health Assessment Package available.

Please visit our website where you can find:

Information on indicators measured as part of our new package, including two new biological indicators we have added this year:

2014 submission form

Sampling guidelines, and information on shipping samples

Two samples of the new soil health test report, which now includes:

  • Additional information on the Soil Health Assessment
  • A short narrative on what each indicator means
  • Suggestions for prioritizing management options, to address constraints and maintain soil health
  • Customized tables with general management suggestions by constraint (at the end)

Right now is a great time to submit samples.

Also – Save the dates if you have not already for our upcoming Train-the-Trainer Soil Health Workshop (8/12-8/15). We will be posting and announcing registration very soon.

Happy sampling, planting, scouting, advising, etc.! It’s a busy season!




Contents for Vol. 13 No. 5 June 25, 2014

  • From the SWD Blog - Juliet Carroll
  • SWD Trap Network 2013 – Juliet Carroll
  • 2014 – Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Monitoring Traps – Juliet Carroll
  • Lures for Monitoring Adult SWD                – Greg Loeb, Stephen Hesler, Johanna Elsensohn, and Ash Sial
  • Year-round SWD Monitoring and Fruit Damage Assessment – Faruque Zaman and Dan Gilrein
  • Strategies for Late Season SWD Management – Peter Jentsch
  • May 2014 – Labeled Insecticides for Control of Spotted Wing Drosophila in New York Berry Crops  - Greg Loeb, Cathy Heidenreich, Laura McDermott, Peter Jentsch, Debbie Breth, & Juliet Carroll
  • Enhancing Insecticide Efficacy with Phagostimulants – Greg Loeb, Johanna Elsensohn, Stephen Hesler, and Richard Cowles
  • Organic Options for SWD Management – Pam Fisher
  • Evaluation of Exclusion and Mass Trapping as Cultural Controls of SWD in Organic Blueberry Production – Laura McDermott and Lawrie Nickerson
  • A Fixed-Spray System for SWD Management In HT Raspberries – Arthur Agnello, Andrew Landers, and Greg Loeb
  • Season Long Evaluation of Wild Hosts for SWD – Johanna Elsensohn and Greg Loeb
  • Eastern NY Summer Berry Workshops
  • SWD Impacts 2013

View newsletter.

  • Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 – Lawrence’s Farms Orchards, 39 Colandrea Road, Newburgh, NY 12550, 3:00 –5:00 PM
  • Monday, July 21st, 2014 -  Rulf’s Orchard, 531 Bear Swamp Road, Peru, NY 12972, 4:00-6:00 PM
  • Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 – Bohringer’s Orchard, 3992 NY 30, Middleburgh, NY 12122, 3:00-5:00 PM

Monitoring for SWD, designing an effective pesticide rotation program, understanding when and how to collect leaves for a nutrient analysis and general troubleshooting will all be part of this workshop.

2 DEC Pesticide Re-certification credits will be available.

No charge for this meeting, but please pre-register with Marcie Vohnoutka at 518-272-4210 or mmp74@cornell.edu.


Agricultural plastics recycling is taking off, big time! 

Recyclers working with Cornell University’s Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program (RAPP) are now able to process virtually all types of used farm plastics.

Much of this old plastic is turned into new products by manufacturers right here in New York State. Waste plastics previously used on NYS farms—primarily bale wrap, bunker covers, mulch and greenhouse film—are being transformed into sheets of plastic ‘plywood’, plastic sidewalk pavers, household and industrial-size garbage bags, and diesel fuel, as well as into new plastic containers, films and twine that will once again be used on farms.

RAPP will showcase an array of these products, as well as supplies and equipment for storing and compacting used plastic, at Empire Farm Days, August 5-7, 2014. Find RAPP at Booth #500, just outside the main entrance to the Cornell Building. Empire Farm Days—the largest outdoor agricultural trade show in the Northeast—will once again be held at the Rodman Lott & Son Farms on NY-414, just south of the village of Seneca Falls, NY.

Baler Operator Training Course: 10-11am each day of Empire Farm Days.
Register by July 22.

At 10am each day of the show RAPP will offer a free one-hour Training Course in operating the BigFoot BF300 plastic baler. This will be an hour well spent because trainees will be a giant step closer to receiving the required certification to operate a BigFoot independently on their own farms. Participants will be given a free instructional DVD to reinforce what was taught. Pre-registration by July 22 is requested, but drop-ins will be welcome if space permits. To sign up, call RAPP at 607-255-1187 or email agplasticsrecycling@cornell.edu.

For those who simply want to see the BigFoot work its magic, stop by at 2pm any day of the show for a demonstration. It’s quite something to watch this baler transform a mountain of plastic into a dense, 1000-lb, four-foot cube in just about half an hour.

The trick to keeping plastic in shape for recycling is to keep it free of grit and gravel, and as clean and dry as is possible under farm conditions. Demonstrations of these ‘best management practices’ (BMPs) will be ongoing throughout Empire Farm Days, with specific tips on how to handle each type of farm plastic.   BMPs and other recycling resources can also be found online at RAPP’s website: recycleagplastics.cornell.edu or Facebook page: facebook.com/Recycling.Agricultural.Plastics.


From John Wise and Rufus Isaacs, MSU Extension News: “Performance characteristics of registered control materials for fruitworms can help guide management decisions in blueberry integrated pest management. Read more…

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