POSTED IN For Growers ON 6/30/2017
Michigan State University Extension confirms that a new pesticide Special Local Need (SLN) Label includes saskatoons too!
Dr. Erwin “Duke” Elsner Ph.D. reports that Delegate WG can be used, in Michigan, if saskatoon growers are seeing signs of Spotted Wing Drosophila in their orchards.
All regular safety requirements are still in play.
POSTED IN For Growers ON 6/29/2017
Birds are wonderful to have around, except when they are picking your pocket.
Many who hope to produce a significant harvest of saskatoons and other fruit can be confounded, just a day or two before harvest, by a swarm of hungry birds.
Many who would like to reduce their losses have no ill-intent towards birds. They do not want to hurt the birds. Rather, they seek to redirect the birds away from their cash crop in which they have made a significant investment of effort and money.
While we, at the Institute, have not yet identified the fool-proof (or bird-proof) method, we continue to seek options with some level of proven effectiveness. It is in this light that we provide this article by Carols Martinez del Rio, Michael L. Avery and Kristin E. Brugger.
We are also aware that several have reported positive effects with Avian Control.
If you have had positive experiences over whole fields with other bird repellents, please let us know at: http://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/contact/
POSTED IN For Growers ON 6/10/2017
“In the next 20 years, 70 percent of the privately owned farmland in the United States will change hands. Our region has over 80,000 acres,” says Sam Plotkin, farm programs manager at the Leelanau Conservancy.
Meanwhile, 20- and 30-somethings view farming as an emerging career option, as “farm to table” dining and craft wine and beer generate more visibility. The challenge is how to connect those farmers who want to sell with those looking to buy.
Farmer to Farmer
That’s the rationale behind a new collaboration between the Leelanau Conservancy, the Grand Traverse Conservancy, Taste the Local Difference and MSU Horticulture Station. Farmer to Farmer is a web-based platform that organizers believe will help those looking to purchase or sell farms and farmland.
Plotkin says an aging agricultural industry will inevitably lead to what he calls “a significant generational property transfer.” That’s where Farmer to Farmer – F2Fmi.com – comes in. The website (expected to launch next week) will include a database of farmers looking to divest themselves of land holdings and persons looking for agricultural opportunities. Tricia Phelps, operations director at Taste the Local Difference, says it is a marriage of today’s tech world with the agricultural industry that helped shape the region. “It’s an opportunity offered by technology…going back to our agrarian roots,” she says.
Farmer to Farmer is intended to keep farmland in the hands of those who see the value of tilling the soil, rather than having property sold for development.
Opportunities in an Essential Industry
Agriculture is increasingly being looked upon favorably, says Phelps, because of both its economic impact and its scenic beauty. “Farms weren’t looked at as part of the business community, as being important to the economy,” she says.
No more. The wine, brewing and distilling industries have focused attention on growing everything from grapes to hops, rye and wheat, while restaurants clamor for fresh, local meats and vegetables.
Despite their far-reaching social networks, many younger people are stymied when looking to get into agriculture, often just communicating with their peers in the 25-to-35 age range – not the likely age of someone looking to get out of farming.
But they’re hardly the only ones looking. “In the past three months, I’ve had 15 people call me looking to buy or lease, or sell or lease. And I only serve one county,” says Plotkin. That’s where the regional approach will broaden the audience; the site will list properties for sale in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie and Antrim counties. Potential buyers will be able to search by price, acreage, or location, as well as whether they are looking to buy, lease, lease to buy, or enter into partnership with the owner.
The site will also list what machinery or equipment is available, any buildings, and what kinds of farm-related jobs are available. “That’s what we think is unique,” Plotkin says. Think of it as a combination of Craigslist and Zillow for farming.
Both Plotkin and Phelps add that the site is in no way meant as a replacement for the real estate industry, but rather to complement it. Whether a landowner or a realtor, there will be no cost to post on the new site, they say.
Identifying and Coping With Infestation in Saskatoon Berry Crops: presentations at the 2017 Northwestern Michigan Orchard & Vineyard Show
POSTED IN For Growers ON 4/17/2017
Extension office researchers presented their findings regarding infestation at the 2017 Northwest Michigan Orchard & Vineyard Show (click on topic name to see presentation). This information will be valuable to many growers to assist in protecting top quality fruit production and availability. One newcomer for many types of fruit is Spotted-Wing Drosophila. So far these insects have had little impact on saskatoon berries, possibly partly because the ripen earlier than many fruits. Vigilance can be essential in minimizing crop damage due to infesting insects.
Saskatoon fruit-infesting insects – ID, phenology and impacts (Duke Elsner, MSU Extension)
Results and Observations from the Pruning Demonstration Plot (Duke Elsner, MSU Extension)
Novel Berry GREEEN Grant (Duke Elsner, MSU Extension)
SWD in Strawberries, Blueberries and Raspberries Carlos Garcia-Salazar, MSU Extension
Detecting SWD larve in fruit samples Karen Powers, NW Michigan Horticultural Research Center, MSU
SWD Adult Detection With Traps Carlos Garcia-Salazar, MSU Extension
Other topics of this Concurrent Session included an introduction to The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America, Pesticide Recertification, and time to learn more about vendor products and services.
POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 3/14/2017
Pest Management is an annual challenge for those who love to eat saskatoon berries. While saskatoons are native to North America, there are several native, as well as invasive, pests that can challenge a healthy harvest.
Dr. Erwin ‘Duke’ Elsner just released this year’s list of produce-rescuing recommendations, based on Michigan agricultural standards. This includes several organic options. The point of this list is to help growers identify diseases and insects that can damage plants and fruit, and then select responses for each based on the growers preferences and unique conditions.
Part of the effort here is to be very careful to encourage pollinators and other helpful insects. You can find more about how to develop pollinator habitat in our blog posts from last winter.
May you all have more than enough saskatoon berries to enjoy this coming summer!
POSTED IN For Growers ON 7/22/2016
It’s Friday, and that means its the day each week when I will water the office plants. Why on Fridays? Why not? Of course, I am not building a commercial food empire with the window full of greenery here.
How about you? Do you have a plan for when to irrigate your saskatoons? What is your plan based on?
Michigan State University/Purdue Extension Irrigation Educator highlights resources available for fine tuning your irrigation schedule.
When should you start irrigation?
How much water should you add?
What resources are available to help decide when and how to water?
Check out this article to see how you might tune up your irrigation schedule and improve your harvest:
POSTED IN For Growers ON 7/14/2016
Struggling with bird management? Kathy Heidenreich of Cornell University published an article a
few years ago that many saskatoon growers may find helpful. This document lists and review common fruit eating birds as well as a variety of bird management tactics. The goal is to reduce loss in commercial fruit fields while avoiding any sort of injury to the birds.
Too see the full article go to Bye Bye Birdie – Cornell
POSTED IN For Growers ON 6/3/2016
Apple curculio are making their appearance as most sites are in petal fall. Insect activity has really picked up due to recent warm weather. Sweep net samples at the research center planting caught saskatoon sawflies (lower numbers than last week), apple curculio (first detection this year), tarnished plant bug, leaf-feeding weevils and several types of small moth caterpillars. There were also many beneficials in the sampling—spiders and parasitoid wasps. Unfortunately the threat of fruit losses from sawflies and curculios outweigh the current value of the beneficials, so it is advisable to protect the fruit with an insecticide at this time. Avaunt, Actara and Assail are likely to be the best choices where apple curculio is known to be a problem. It is also time to start protecting fruits from rust and entomosporium spot disease, especially with the threat of rain later this week. Tilt or Quilt Xcel, if not already used this year, would be good choices now. These have a 30 day PHI, so they do not fit well in your disease management program after we get into June.
Apple curculio adults are small and easily overlooked. They have tiny jaws at the end or a prolonged snout, which they use for cutting a uniquely shaped egg-laying slit into the surface of berries. The grub stages of the curculio feed inside the fruit.
Duke Elsner, Small Fruit Educator, Michigan State University Extension email@example.com
POSTED IN For Growers ON 5/19/2016
Well, we had quite a chiller go through this past weekend, and some have seen frost damage. While saskatoon bushes are pretty harder throughout the winter, they are a bit more suseptable when they are in blossom. In Northern Michigan they have seen some signs of damage, though not as threatening as with some other crops.
Dr. Erwin ‘Duke” Elsner, Small Fruit Educator with Michigan State University Extension recently helped us understand how to tell if your plant has frost damage, and what to do about it:
Frosted tender leaves will show darkened margins, almost black in color. The injured tissue doesn’t grow or stretch as the rest of the leaf continues to grow, so the leaves look more crooked or crumpled the season continues.
Lightly frosted flowers just show some browning of the petals.
Nothing needs to be done to these light frost injured plants. Under most circumstance they will continue to grow and produce this season.
Best wishes to all you growers and harvesters this season. If you find that you have unusual damage due to cold temperatures, please let us know.
POSTED IN For Growers ON 5/19/2016
First Documentation of Saskatoon Sawfly in Michigan – May 13, 2016
Late last week I observed saskatoon sawfly (Hoplocampa montanicola) for the first time in Michigan, at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Leelanau County. I had suspected that some fruit injury seen at this site in 2015 was due to this insect, and growers had previously reported injury of a similar nature, but this was the first time the insects have actually been found.
Adult saskatoon sawfly
Adults of the saskatoon sawfly were plentiful (more than ten on a bush at some times) and very actively flying amongst the flower clusters (plants were at approximately 50% bloom at the time). Although I observed the sawflies for some time, I was not able to actually see one attempt to lay eggs. Based on what I have gathered from Canadian references, the egg laying behavior might not start until the flower ovaries start to swell after fruit set. Good pictures of the egg laying scars, larva and fruit damage can be seen at http://www.prairie-elements.ca/saskatoon/11.2-insects1.pdf. The potential threat for fruit losses in Michigan has not been determined, but this pest is an important one in Alberta and Manitoba.
Saskatoon sawfly is not listed in the 2016 Saskatoon Berry Pesticide Recommendations that I released earlier this spring. Based on recommendations made for a related pest of apples in Ontario, sprays of Assail, Altacor or Exirel at petal fall would be the best choice. These are all toxic to bees, so it is important that all bee activity be completed before the application.
Larvae of Saskatoon Bud Moth Now Active
On the same date and location I also noted the first larvae of saskatoon bud moth (Epinotia bicordana) for the season. Small larvae, a little over 0.25 inches in length, were feeding inside nests of tender leaves they had webbed together with silk. They must have been active here much earlier, as their first feeding of the year occurs as they bore into the bases of swelling buds. They were not numerous, so the early feeding on buds would likely have been very hard to detect. According to Canadian literature, the development and feeding of the larvae is
completed by the time of petal fall; the early season feeding inside buds is the damaging time as it can kill entire buds or injure some of the flowers. The later feeding on leaves is of no consequence to production. The importance of saskatoon bud moth to production in Michigan is uncertain. It is too late this year for sprays to reduce bud injury or fruit loss.
Leaves tied together by saskatoon bud moth larvae (left), and close up of a larva (right).
Duke Elsner, Small Fruit Educator, Michigan State University Extension firstname.lastname@example.org