Monday, July 28, 2014

Vegetable and IPM Festival

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension will be hosting a Vegetable and Integrated Pest Management Festival on Thursday, August 14, 2014 from 4-7 pm at the Lincoln University George Washington Carver Farm, 3804 Bald Hill Road, Jefferson City, MO, 65101

This free event will showcase various aspects of crop production including vegetables, cover crops, and pest management tools that are effective and help conserve beneficial arthropods. 
Small- and mid-scale farmers and gardeners will receive research-based information / demonstrations on various aspects of sustainable agriculture.

Demonstrations and Presentations
~ Cover Crops for Vegetables
~ Sweet / Chili Pepper Production
~ Integrated Disease Management of Watermelon
~ Research Update on Trap Cropping
~ Weed and Insect Pest Management in Jack-o'-Lantern Pumpkin Production
~ Native Plants as Specialty Crops
~ Native Plants for Native Pollinators
~ Aquaculture: friends and pests
~ Missouri aquaculture eats
~ Cover Crop Grazing by Goats /Sheep
~ Edamame / Soybean variety trial
~ Living Mulch with Sweet Corn / Green Beans
~ Monitoring and Management of Invasive Insects including Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) – free bait and traps.

Watermelon and Tomato Tasting!
This is a FREE event, registration is not required but encouraged. To register, contact Vonna Kesel at (573) 681-5312. Please let us know if you require special accommodations.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Squash Bugs

Squash bug infestations typically begin in late June and July in Illinois.  The squash bug, Anasa tristis (De Geer) (Hemiptera: Coreidae), is a perennial and severe pest of pumpkins and squash; it rarely injures cucumbers and melons in the Midwestern United States.

Identification.  The squash bug is a "true bug" in the order Hemiptera.  Like all adult Hemiptera, adult squash bugs have two pairs of wings, with the front wings hardened at the base and membranous at the tips.  Its mouthparts form a needle-like beak that arises from the tip of the head.  Adults are brownish black, with yellowish to red-orange markings; they appear oval shaped when viewed from above, and somewhat flattened when viewed from the side.  Females lay yellowish-white eggs in small clusters or masses on the upper and lower surfaces of leaves; the eggs quickly darken to a reddish brown color.  Eggs hatch to produce grayish-white, wingless nymphs with black legs.  The nymphs darken in color as they grow older, and wing pads (the beginnings of adult wings) begin to develop. 

Life Cycle.  The squash bug overwinters as an adult, and survival is greatest in plant debris, mulch, and field borders or woods.  Adults become active in the spring, mate, and females begin feeding and laying eggs in June and July.  Nymphs grow to the adult stage in 5 to 6 weeks, and new females mate and begin laying eggs immediately.  Populations are greatest during hot, dry summers.  Females that reach the adult stage after late July or early August do not mate or lay eggs but instead enter an inactive stage and seek overwintering sites.  Squash bugs may be present as nymphs or adults in pumpkins and squash from June through October.

Plant Injury.  Squash bugs use piercing mouthparts to penetrate stems, leaves, and fruit and suck sap from plants.  This direct damage may cause wilting or even kill plants if populations are great enough.  Recent research has found that squash bugs transmit squash yellow vine disease; controlling squash bugs limits the spread of this disease within fields.

Management.  Early in the season when adults move into fields and feed on young plants, watch for wilting of seedlings and apply an insecticide if wilting is observed.  Scout for eggs of the squash bug on upper and lower surfaces of leaves.  If densities exceed one egg mass per plant, use insecticides for control as nymphs begin to hatch.  Insecticides labeled for use against squash bug are most effective against young nymphs, and for commercial growers who possess a Pesticide Applicator's License, the pyrethroid insecticides (particularly Brigade, Mustang Max, and Warrior) are most effective against squash bug.  Organic growers may choose to use floating row covers to exclude squash bugs from young plants, but when row covers have to come off to allow pollination, none of the insecticides approved for use in Certified Organic production systems are truly effective against squash bugs.  See the 2014 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers for listings of registered insecticides.
(from Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News, Vol 20 No 7)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Squash Vine Borer

The squash vine borer tunnels in the vines of pumpkins and summer and winter squash; it rarely is found in cucumbers or melons and cannot complete its development except in squash or pumpkins.

Identification.  The squash vine borer adult is a black and reddish moth called a clearwing moth because large portions of its hind wings lack scales.  These moths are ¾- to 1-inch long, with a 1- to 1 ½-inch wing span.  They are active during the daytime and superficially resemble wasps as they fly about.  Larvae are yellowish-white with a brown head, 3 pairs of thoracic legs, and 5 pairs of fleshy abdominal prolegs that bear tiny hooks called crochets.  Fully-grown larvae are about 1 inch long.  Brownish pupae are slightly less than 1 inch long, and they are found in the soil inside a dark, silken cocoon.

Life Cycle.   Squash vine borers overwinter as mature larvae or pupae within cocoons 1 ½ to 3 inches below the soil surface.  Moths emerge and begin to mate and lay eggs in June and July in much of the Midwest (earlier, beginning in May, in southern Illinois and similar latitudes).  Moths lay eggs singly at the base of plants or on stems and petioles, beginning when plants start to bloom or "run".  Larvae feed within stems or petioles for 2 to 4 weeks, leaving brown, sawdust-like frass (droppings) at holes where they entered the stem. In southern Illinois these pupate and produce a second flight of moths in late summer; in the north, larvae or pupae of the first (and only) generation remain in the soil through the winter.

Plant Injury. Tunneling within vines destroys water- and food-conducting tissues, reducing plant vigor and yield and sometimes killing vines.

Management.  Disking or plowing to destroy vines soon after harvest and bury or destroy overwintering cocoons reduces moth populations within a field in the spring.  Staggering plantings over several dates also allows some plantings to escape heaviest periods of egg-laying.  Early detection of moths and initial damage is essential for timing insecticide applications.  For insecticides to be effective, they must be applied before larvae enter stems or petioles.  Scout for moths (pheromone lures and traps are available for monitoring flight periods but are not consistently effective for detecting moth flight) and look for entrance holes and frass as soon as plants begin to bloom or vine.  Apply insecticides beginning 5 to7 days after moths are first detected and at weekly intervals for 3 to 5 weeks, or begin when injury is first noted and make a second application a week later.  See the 2014 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers for listings of registered insecticides.
(from Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News, Vol 20 No 7)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Organic Certification Cost-Share Now Available

The Missouri Department of Agriculture signed a cooperative agreement with USDA-National Organic Program (NOP) on June 13, 2014 to implement the certification cost-share program. Under the cooperative agreement, the state Department of Agriculture has agreed to review applications from certified Missouri organic producers (crop, wild crop or livestock), processor and handlers of agricultural products who obtained certification under the National Organic Program (NOP). MDA then disperses the available funds to qualified applicants. Applications for cost share funds are reimbursed in the order they are received, until funds are exhausted or the eligibility period ends, whichever comes first.

All of the organic cost share information is now online. MDA has about twice the funds available than in the past.   The window for 2013-14 funds is short.

Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions and answers should be helpful in your application process.
1.      To qualify, does my farm or company have to be located in Missouri? Yes.
2.      What kind of costs will the program reimburse? Application, inspection and certification costs - but not late fees.
3.      How does MDA determine my eligibility? You must have a copy of your current organic certificate.
4.      How much am I eligible for? Payments to eligible producers, processors and handlers will be limited to 75% of each certification, class of certification and renewal cost up to a maximum of $750.
5.      How do I apply? You must submit four items:
6.      Does certification from any certifying agency count? You must have received organic certification from a USDA-NOP accredited certifying agency. If you have questions about the accreditation status of your certifier, call your certifier or check the NOP website for more information.
7.      What if I am certified as a producer and a handler? If you have different kinds of certification (producer - crop, wild crop and livestock, processor or handler), you qualify for more than one cost-share payment. You must submit separate and complete applications for individual certifications. However, some agencies will list them as classifications on the same certification. These do not have to be broken out as individual applications.
8.      When is the application due? Since funds are limited, we will process applications in the order they are received and payments will be issued on a first come, first served basis. The program will continue until all funds are exhausted or the eligibility period ends.
9.      What about privacy? Under state law, if requested, we must provide demographic information including your name and address. We do not release social security numbers or payment amounts.
10.  Where do I send the application? Mail to: MDA Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, PO Box 630, Jefferson City, Mo. 65102-0630 or fax to (573) 751-2868.
11.  Will this program continue in the future? Missouri expects to exhaust the federal and state cost-share funds each year. Whether the program continues or not will depend on the actions of the U.S. Congress and the state legislators.
12.  What if I have questions? Contact a Missouri organics marketing specialist at (573) 522-4170 or

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Soils Workshop Set for Columbia, Aug. 13-14

“Rebuilding Soils for a Changing Climate” is the theme of the Aug. 13-14 Soil Health Exposition at the University of Missouri Bradford Research Center.

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are sponsors for free the event. The expo runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days.

“Climatic changes are bringing about increased drought events and harder rains, both of which can have long-lasting effects on soil productivity,” says MU research specialist Kerry Clark. “If we are going to save our soil resource and increase our agricultural productivity, changes in farming practices are going to be necessary.” Many of those practices will be discussed at this expo.

The keynote speaker on Aug. 13 is Terry Taylor, a longtime no-till farmer in Illinois. Taylor has used cover crops on claypan soils. Other speakers will discuss soil biology, planting cover crops and economics of soil health practices.

Farmer Keith Berns of Bladen, Nebraska, speaks on cover crops on Aug. 14. Berns developed the SmartMix Calculator, an online spreadsheet for planning cover crop mixes. Linus Rothermich and Luke Linnenbringer discuss efforts to improve soil health on their mid-Missouri farms on Aug. 14 as well.

Representatives of MU, NRCS and the USDA Agricultural Research Service will be available to discuss soil health practices.

“Farmers can attend one day or both,” says Clark. “Each day will have unique presentations and will be packed with information for producers.”

Vendors include equipment and seed dealers. Lunch is available for purchase at the center. For more information, contact Clark at  573-884-7945, or click here.

Bradford Research Center, part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is east of Columbia. Part of Highway WW, so directions have changed:

From I-70, turn south at Exit 133, Highway Z. Go to the first stop sign, jog left to the next stop sign and turn right on Rangeline Road. The farm is 4 miles ahead.

From Columbia, go east from Highway 63 South at the AC exit onto New Haven Road. Go about 5.5 miles to Rangeline Road and turn right 1 mile.

Bridge construction will keep Highway WW closed for about 45 days, affecting field days at the MU research center.
(by Linda Geist, Writer, MU Extension)

Monday, July 21, 2014

IPM Survey for Missouri Producer Needs

If you produce commercially produced fruits and/or vegetables in the field / high tunnel / greenhouse, the Lincoln University IPM program needs your help. We are trying to address important needs for extension in Missouri through an online survey funded by an Extension IPM grant. You can access the survey at

Please help us understand your fruit and vegetable production by answering the following questions. Your responses are confidential. Survey responses will not be reported or identified individually but will be combined with all responses and reported in aggregate. The survey will be available for only 2 weeks, so your input is greatly appreciated.

The purposes of the survey are to: 

(1) learn about the diverse farming practices used in the state to produce fruits and vegetables
(2) determine what are the biggest challenges faced by farmers in their production systems
(3) identify the most significant pests that can cause economic damage in the various production systems
(4) learn about farmer’s use of IPM, IPM needs, and ways in which farmers prefer to receive IPM information from extension and research personnel.

If you have questions about the survey, please direct them to Jaime Pinero at 573-681-5522.

Friday, July 18, 2014

2nd Organic Field Day at MU Bradford Farm

The University of Missouri will be hosting it’s 2nd Annual Organic Field Day on Friday, August 1st from 11 am to 5 pm.  Topics and tours will include organic fruit production, organic pest and weed management, vermicomposting, mycorrhizal fungi, beekeeping, no-till challenges, benefits of organic certification, soil nutrients, permaculture and cover crops.  There will also be an opportunity for you to test your own soil for active carbon.  Bring a plastic ziplock bag with DRY soil from your field for testing and learn why active carbon is important.

There is no charge for attendance however pre-registration is needed so enough snacks made with local organic ingredients can be provided.  Lunch will be available for purchase.

RSVP to Kerry Clark at 573-884-7945.

Organic Field Day Agenda (20 mins per speaker) each tour starts on the hour listed

Tour 1- Wagon - start at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3pm
Organic no-till - Dara Boardman
Organic Grains - Margot McMillan
Permaculture - TBA

Tour 2- Wagon or walk - start at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3pm
Trap cropping - Terry Woods
Pest Management - Wayne Bailey
Mycorrhizae - Carrie Hargrove

Tour 3- Conference Bldg - start at 11 am, 12 am, 1 pm
Why get certified - Beth Rota
Soil Nutrients - Manjula Nathan
Being an organic Grower - Liz Graznak

Tour 4- Wagon - start at 11 am, 12 pm, 2 pm
Composting - Dr. Johnson
Biochar - Tim Reinbott
Fruit Production - Jim Quinn

Tour 5- Walk - start at 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm
Cover crops - Leslie Touzeau
Weeds - Reid Smeda
Beekeeping - Bob Brammer

Tour 6- Walk - start at 2 pm, 3pm, 4 pm
Soil Pit - Kerry Clark
Rain infiltration - Kerry
Crimper - Kerry

11 am - tours 3, 4, 5, 2
12 pm - tours 3, 5, 4
1 pm - tours 1, 2, 3, 5
2 pm - tours 1, 2, 4, 6
3 pm - tours 1, 2, 6

4 pm - tours 6, people could also see organic no-till, Biochar, cover crops