NEWA tools – positive reports from the Northeast

Great news on NEWA from fruit workers in the Northeast! At the 76th annual meeting of the New England, New York and Canadian Fruit Pest Management Workshop, several people provided reports on how much NEWA’s tools are benefiting the fruit industries in their regions.

NEWA locations are centerpieces for providing Extension team-based integrated pest management (IPM) recommendations on diversified fruit & vegetable farms in Massachusetts. MA-NEWA includes 21 on-farm weather stations, plus 23 National Weather Service airport locations providing fruit & vegetable growers with IPM forecast tools to aid in decision-making for their management of insects & diseases. Their USDA NIFA-funded Extension Implementation Program is providing training in monitoring and management of key pests to 10 mentor growers and 15 partner growers. Mentors worked on 2-3 key IPM issues over 5 months of farm visits and participated in twilight meetings and project guidance. Each partner grower was involved with a research or extension project. Contributed by Jon Clements, Dan Cooley, Arthur Tuttle, Sonia Schloemann, & Elizabeth Garofalo, UMass Extension

Two New Jersey apple growers report the best thinning results ever in 2015 – using NEWA’s apple carbohydrate thinning model. Top of the list of useful tools for NJ growers this year was also the fire blight model—the several growers who failed to take intensive steps to protect their trees from fire blight had extreme tree loss. NJ-NEWA is a combined network that includes mostly weather stations managed by the State Climatologist at Rutgers University. Contributed by Win Cowgill, David Schmitt, & Dean Polk, Rutgers University

New Hampshire to join NEWA statewide with 10 Rainwise weather stations – one in each County! NH-NEWA is building on the success of the NEWA-connected apple grower in NH –  Trevor Hardy, Brookdale Fruit Farm, Inc., Hollis, NH. We are very excited about NH joining NEWA! We always benefit from more people using NEWA and providing ideas for better utilizing forecast tools for agriculture in the Northeast. Contributed by George Hamilton, Alan Eaton, & Cheryl Smith, University of New Hampshire

NEWA fire blight forecasts were dire, showing extreme risk for blossom infection across many station locations in the Northeast – but apple and pear orchards were protected because growers were alerted by the fire blight tool! The extreme risk of fire blight infection did not translate into severe damage from the disease. Fruit workers were split in their reasoning for why little to no fire blight infection occurred. Was it (1) lack of sufficient moisture (rain, dew, wetting) to wash the pathogen into the blossoms or (2) farmer awareness and action to protect their trees with appropriate treatments? The farmer awareness reason is a favorite of those of us who are using NEWA. We will be analyzing the fire blight tool with the plant pathologists to determine if the moisture component needs tweaking.

Do you have a NEWA success story? Contact me and I’ll post it,

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