Entomologists at Cornell are putting together a project for the 2014 field season to test if we can reduce infestations from Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) through what we call attract and kill stations.  We know of several very attractive baits.  The question is whether a reasonable number of traps with attractive baits and some sort of kill device (drowning solution or insecticide) can significantly reduce local populations of SWD and therefore reduce or eliminate the need to treat vulnerable crops with insecticides.

We are looking for field sites to test this approach.  In particular, we are focusing on  blueberry plantings, but would consider fall raspberry plantings as well, that are at least 0.5 acres in size where we can put out attract and kill stations and compare SWD infestations with other plots where no kill stations are deployed.  We could use a larger plot and place a treatment at each end of the planting.  It would be helpful if no insecticides are used in the planting during the trial and therefore, in some ways, a recently abandoned planting might be best or a situation where the potential of some infestation would not cause economic hardship.  Also, we need plantings within an hour or so from Geneva, NY to expedite frequent data collection.

If you are interested in helping or learning more about the project please contact Dr. Greg Loeb at gme1@cornell.edu or 315-787-2345.

From Cornell Horticulture [2014-03-29]

soil health test compositex400

The Cornell Soil Health Testing Lab is open for business for 2014. The lab’s Soil Health Assessment Package includes two new tests this year: Soil respiration and soil protein.

The package is recommended for conventional grain and forage crops, vegetable production, organic crop production, home gardens, and urban gardens. Non-agricultural applications include problem diagnosis in landscaped areas, site remediation, and other urban applications.

The full slate of tests costs $85 and includes:

  • Particle size distribution and texture
  • Wet aggregate stability
  • Available water capacity
  • Surface hardness
  • Subsurface hardness
  • Organic matter
  • Active carbon
  • Soil respiration
  • Soil protein
  • Root pathogen pressure
  • Standard fertility test (pH, Buffer pH (lime requirement), organic matter and Modified Morgan extractable phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, iron, zinc, and manganese.)

Additional tests offered include potentially mineralizable nitrogen, soluble salts, heavy metals, and boron. Tests can also be ordered ‘à la carte’.

For more information, visit the Cornell Soil Health website. 

strawberry plant after straw removal.

New growth appearing; now is the time for straw removal. (Photo courtesy Marvin Pritts)

It’s that time of year again to think about  removing your straw mulch. If you haven’t already done so, the predicted clear stretch of weather  from now (apart from this evening’s predicted showers) through mid-week next week may be the time.

The forecast for the remainder of this week into next week is for temperatures in the 60′s and even a possibility of 70′s in most areas across the state.

If you’ re looking for information on things to consider when making your decision here’s an informative article posted on April 8, 2014 to the news section of the Michigan State University Extension fruit and nuts page on the subject by my MSU friend and colleague Bob Tritten :   “When to remove straw mulch in strawberries“.

Thanks Bob, for sharing your insights!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Juneberry bush with ripening fruit

Juneberry bush with ripening fruit

9:30 AM – 12 Noon
Sollecito Landscaping Nursery
4094 Howlett Hill Road
Syracuse, NY 13215

This workshop is a complete, in-depth introduction to juneberry cultivation in Upstate New York, covering site selection, natural history, planting, pest control, and harvesting.

Juneberries are primed to become a common high-value crop in the coming years. Landowners can plant and cultivate juneberries as part of their home landscape and they have excellent marketability as a U-pick, wholesale, or direct retail crop. In this class, we will also review other minor edible berries that can be a good fit for a small farm or home landscape.

Fee: $10.00 per person includes the complete workshop and samples of juneberry products.

To register: contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County at 315-424-9485 x 224 or register online at Registration for Juneberry Workshop
Hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension and Sollecito Landscaping Nursery.

For more information about juneberries, go to Juneberries or contact Jim at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, 585-394-3977 x 402.

Contact Sollecito Landscaping Nursery for information about buying juneberry plants at 315-468-1142 or Sollecito Landscaping Nursery

March 2014 issue of New York Berry News

The Vol. 13 No. 3, March 17, 2014 issue includes:

  • Test Drive a Possible New Variety!
  • That’s a Berry Good Question! Spring Bramble and Blueberry Fertilization
  • Post-Harvest Water Sanitation Food Safety Workshops with Dr. Trevor Suslow – Albany and Geneva areas
  • Berry Growers Business Management for Direct Marketers
  • Capturing Money Using Quickbooks: Basic Course in the Use of Quickbooks for Farmers
  • EPA Proposes New Safety Measures to Protect Farm Workers from Pesticide Exposure
  • Ecologist and Future Director of Northeastern IPM Center Ready for Long Run against Pests
  • Is It Time To Finally Take The Plunge Into Drip Irrigation?
  • General Principles of Day-Neutral Production
  • Day-Neutral Strawberry Variety Performance and Planting Date Affects in Plasticulture
  • Day-Neutrals: Strawberry Weed Management
  • Goji Berry Culture
  • And more

On behalf of Dale Ila M. Riggs, President, NYS Berry Growers Association and Dr. Courtney Weber, NYSAES Small Fruit Breeder

Two years ago, the NYS Berry Growers Association and Dr. Courtney Weber from Cornell’s Small Fruit Breeding Program entered into an agreement where members of the Association will be able to “test drive” advanced selections from Courtney’s breeding program.  This is a phenomenal opportunity for all members of the Association and will make it possible for members to try potential raspberry and strawberry varieties before any other member of the grower community has the opportunity.  This is a huge competitive advantage!

Strawberries in quart basket

New strawberry selection NY01-16 now available for testing

The NYSBGA and Courtney are now seeking growers that want to evaluate and provide feedback regarding the second advanced selection from Courtney’s strawberry breeding program under this agreement.  The selection, NY01-16,is very large for the early mid-season. The largest fruit were 51 g (almost 2 ounces) without irrigation. Subsequent fruit hold their size well. The fruit have very aromatic flavor, are slightly dark red, firm, with an attractive conic shape.  In 2013 it started fruiting on June 4 (one week prior to Jewel) and fruited until about July 1.

If you would like to trial this selection, you must be signed up as a member of the NYSBGA by April 1.  If you are not a member, contact Paul Baker, Executive Secretary for the NYSBGA (716-807-6827) to get signed up.  You can also download a membership form from http://www.hort.cornell.edu/grower/nybga/MembershipBlank.pdf.  After your membership has been confirmed, Paul will need your address, your shipping address, and your requested date for shipment.  As part of the evaluation process, a one page site report form and a one page fruit/plant evaluation form will be submitted to the Berry Growers Association and the data will be forwarded to the Small Fruit Breeding program.

This is a wonderful opportunity brought to you by the NYSBGA and Cornell.  Cornell is excited about being able to get data to see how advanced selections perform in commercial situations.  Members can get a minimum of 1000 plants to a maximum of 2000 plants to test on their farm.   Don’t miss out.  Contact Paul Baker today!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014    10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Cornell University’s Hudson Valley Laboratory
3357 Rt. 9W, Highland, NY 12528

This program has been generated from work done through the NY Farm Viability funded project “Building a Better Bottom Line for NYS Berry Growers”.

The information presented will inform all direct marketers, with examples of farm business summaries coming from  berry operations. The same program was planned for the afternoon Berry Session Thursday, February 13th as part of the Hudson Valley Fruit School. This portion of the program was cancelled due to weather. If you had preregistered and paid for that program, you will not be charged for this rescheduled program, but we still need you to register.

Program includes:

  • Farm Business Summary History
  • Introduction to Financial Statements
  • Using the Berry Farm Business Summary Results to Improve Your Bottom Line
  • Recordkeeping in 2014
  • Using Social Media to Improve your Outreach


  • Sandra Buxton, CCE CAAHP
  • Megan Burley, CCE Erie County
  • Dan Welch, NY FarmNet/NY FarmLink, Cornell University

Cost is $10/person includes lunch, refreshments and handouts Please pre-register by March 21st by clicking here to fill out the registration form. Please make checks payable to “CCE ENYCHP”. You can also register and pay online by clicking here.

For more information contact Marcie Vohnoutka, CCE Rensselaer County, 61 State St., Troy, NY 12180, or call 518-272-4210 or email mmp74@cornell.edu.

Sponsored by: CCE Capital Area Agriculture & Horticulture Program & the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program with Support from NY Farm Viability Institute

FSA Borrower Training Credits are available for this class.

The National GAPS Program  and Produce Safety Alliance are excited to announce that Dr. Trevor Suslow, Extension Research Specialist at the University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Sciences, will join us for 2 one-of-a-kind lecture and hands-on post-harvest water sanitation food safety workshops, in the Geneva and Albany areas.

Dr. Suslow is an industry leader and world renowned expert in preharvest and postharvest research and outreach education on diverse fresh and fresh-cut horticultural foods.  His emphasis is microbial safety and disinfection within the pre-harvest and postharvest environment and postharvest pathology. Other interests include biological control and other biologically mediated controls of postharvest diseases and pathogens of human food safety concern.

Joining Dr. Suslow will be our own Dr. Elizabeth Bihn of the National GAP’s Program and Produce Safety Alliance.  The full day workshops are a diverse mix of hands on training and lecture style presentations.

It doesn’t matter if you are a vegetable or fruit grower; fresh marketer or wholesaler — this is a great opportunity to learn from one of the best about postharvest sanitation and food safety!

Post-Harvest Water Sanitation Food Safety Workshop with Dr. Trevor Suslow

April 1, 2014 (No fooling!)

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cornell NYSAES
Jordan Hall Auditorium
630 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456

To register for Geneva meeting

Post-Harvest Water Sanitation Food Safety Workshop with Dr. Trevor Suslow

 April 2, 2014

9:30 am to 3:30 pm

Albany County Cornell Cooperative Extension Office, 24 Martin Road, Voorheesville, NY 12186

To register for Albany meeting

Cost $20.00 per person; includes technical program and lunch. Preregistration is required by March 28, 2014! Geneva meeting open and refreshments 8:30 AM, program begins at 9:00 AM.

Made possible by a grant from the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority.

Program topics include:

  • Overview of postharvest water sanitation
  • Selecting the right sanitizer for your farm and monitoring it properly
  • Hands-on with sanitizers and monitoring tools
  • Challenges in water sanitation for small farms
  • Importance of sanitation in the packinghouse
  • Developing an effective sanitation program for packing house equipment

Date: March 20, 2014 – March 21, 2014
Location: Springfield Golf and Country Club, 2054 Gordon Street, Guelph, Ontario
Contact: Ontario Berry Growers Association, 613-258-4587 or info@ontarioberries.com

A two-day workshop is being offered to provide current and potential berry growers in-depth knowledge on the production of day-neutral strawberries and culture of raspberries using protective structures. The intent is to provide cutting edge information from growers and researchers.

The workshop will be held March 20-21, 2014, at the Springfield Golf and Country Club, 2054 Gordon Street, Guelph, Ontario. Attendees will benefit most if they already grow or plan to grow day-neutral strawberries or raspberries in greenhouses or tunnels, but all are welcome to attend. It’s not a basic learn-to-grow type of program. The goal is to learn from each other, share research results and what you have learned in the field through trial and error. Speakers are coming from Michigan, Ontario and Quebec.

Pre-registration is required at $150 for two days or $100 for one day. To register, call or email the Ontario Berry Growers Association at 613-258-4587 or info@ontarioberries.com. Space is limited to 50 participants, so register soon. View a brochure for the full agenda and more information.

Are you confident your commercial berry business is maximizing your return on investment? Is it thriving, or merely surviving? Are berries an asset on your ledger or really a liability? If you’d like help answering these questions, plan to attend the last of five 2014 regional berry crop economics workshops using the information and resources generated from Stage 1 of the project, “Building a Better Bottom Line for NYS Berry Growers,” funded by New York Farm Viability Institute’s Ag Innovation Center.

Date:             March 19, 2014
Time:           8:45  AM – 12 noon
Location:     Monroe County Cooperative Extension Office
                         249 Highland Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620.

Contact:      Alison De Marree, amd15@cornell.edu.

Register:     Kim Hazel (585) 798-4265 – ext. 26.

Workshop Agenda
8:45 AM     Registration, coffee & donuts
9:00 AM     Introduction to Financial Statements
9:30 AM     Record Keeping in 2014
10:00 AM     Farm Business Summary History
10:30 AM     Analysis and Application  – the Data for the First Year of the BFBS
11:15 AM     Finding and Managing Berry Labor
11:45 AM    Q & A
12:00 PM    Adjourn

Why a berry farm business summary?
BFBS project team members are building on the Cornell-developed Fruit Farm Business Summary (FFBS), which has helped tree fruit growers improve their return on investment (ROI) for more than a decade. According to a study by Dyson School professor emeritus Gerald White, the FFBS “identifies the business and financial information they (growers) need and provides a framework for use in identifying and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the farm business.”

Experience with tree fruit growers using FFBS shows they quickly identify practices that are more costly than state benchmarks and address why their individual costs are higher. Early in the process, growers often make changes that immediately improve their bottom line. Participating growers also learn which components of their operation should be expanded or contracted to improve return on investment (ROI).  Participating berry growers should reap the same rewards as their tree-fruit colleagues.

About the Project
During Stage 1, the project team enlisted 10 commercial berry growers statewide to participate in berry farm business summaries. Participating farm operations needed to have been in business the past three years, and had sales in 2012, preferably producing at least two berry crops. Extension educators worked with 10 growers to collect economic information for the berry farm business summaries. Dyson School team members compiled, analyzed and summarized the data collected. Extension Educators are now in the process of discussing project results with individual participants.  Compiled information from the project will be shared during the regional workshops. We are also in the process of collecting crop production data to develop crop budgets for each of the 3 major NYS berry crops including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Statewide benchmark enterprise budgets will also be available after the analyses are completed.

How Can I Participate?
We are seeking new grower participants for the 2013 fiscal year to increase the total number of participating farms to 24.  Please note: All information collected is kept strictly confidential. Budgets generated will not be attributed to specific farms. Instead, they will provide benchmarks (statewide averages calculated from collected data) that will help participants evaluate their business performance. In return for their participation, growers will receive a one-on-one review of their berry farm business summary with their educator as well as crop budgets and other resources related to the project. Contact the closest CCE team member to your farm from the contact list above or speak with one of them at your regional workshop to find out more.

New York Farm Viability Institute


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