Wednesday, July 31, 2013

USDA-FSA Holds Sign Up for Farmland Damaged by Flood and Excessive Rain

Attention Growers
Please visit the attached news release for Buncombe County. Contact the USDA/FSA offices in your county for information regarding similar opportunities.

The following link will take you to the actual press release:

News Release from USDA

Cliff Ruth
Extension Area Agent.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tomato and Vegetable Field Day

NC State Researchers Help Farmers Improve Their Crops

Event:  Annual Tomato and Vegetable Field Day

Date and Time:  Thursday, August 8, 2013 starting at 12:30 pm

Location:  Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, 74 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759.

For More Information: Contact Jeanine Davis at or 828-684-3562
Western North Carolina is well known for producing high quality tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers, and other vegetables. Agricultural scientists with NC State University provide support to these growers by developing new varieties and researching the best practices to grow safe, nutritious vegetables that can yield a profit for the farmer while protecting our mountain soil and water. To help diversify agriculture in the region, they are also exploring potential new crops such as hops for the craft breweries and medicinal herbs for the natural products industry. The field day will open with a trade show, tomato taste test, and registration.  Participants will then tour the research station on event trailers (with comfortable seats and protection from the sun). The event will conclude with a pig pickin at 6:00 pm at Lake Julian (about 10 minutes away). The field day will take place regardless of the weather, so dress accordingly. This is a free event sponsored by NC State University, the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, the NC Tomato Growers Association, and the industry.

Directions to the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station: From I-40 in Asheville, take I-26 South (Exit 46). Travel approximately 9 miles to Hwy 280 (Exit 40). Follow Hwy 280 South approximately 2 miles to Ferncliff Park Drive on the right. Turn right onto Ferncliff Park Drive (used to be Old Fanning Bridge Rd.).  At the entrance to Ferncliff Park, turn left onto Old Fanning Bridge Road. Cross the river and turn right onto Research Drive. IF THERE IS A ROAD CLOSED SIGN AT FERNCLIFF PARK DR., FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS BELOW.
Revised temporary directions to the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station:  Construction of the Sierra Nevada Brewery near our facilities resulted in a temporary road closure. Old Fanning Bridge Road at Hwy NC-280 has been renamed to Ferncliff Park Drive. If that road is still closed on the Hwy NC-280 side at the time of the field day, people coming in from I-26 should follow these directions: continue south on Hwy NC-280 past Ferncliff Park Drive.  At the third light, turn right on Hwy NC-191 (Old Haywood Road).  Go several miles and turn right on Old Fanning Bridge Road.
Research Stops:
·       Incidence and Persistence of Salmonella & Escherichia coli in Environmental Samples from North Carolina Tomato Production Systems
·       Tomato Taste Test: Ensuring Good Flavor in New Varieties
·       Sweet Corn Yields from a Long Term Tillage & Production Management Experiment
·       Effects of Organic and Conventional Production Systems under Conservation and Conventional Tillage on Water Quality
·       Examining the Feasibility of Hops as a New Crop for Western North Carolina: A Variety Trial 
·       Seed Source Effects on the Growth, Yield and Biochemical Composition of the Medicinal Herbs Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia
·       Evaluating Fungicides for the Management of Early Blight, Late Blight, and Phytophthora Blight
·       Tomato Variety Replicated Trials 2013
·       Comparison of Foliar versus Drip Irrigation Application of Insecticides on Pepper and Cucumber
·       Tomato Insecticide and Miticide Trial
·       Cucurbit Downy Mildew: Prepare, Predict, Prevent

·       NC Comments on Proposed Produce Safety Rules

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Late July- Pest News for WNC Fruit and Vegetable Growers


From: Hannah Burrack, Extension Entomologist

End of Harvest Concerns in Blueberries
As blueberry harvest nears the end in some areas of North Carolina, a few important insect related issues require some attention.  

Spotted wing drosophila in processing fruit

Rainfall makes spotted wing drosophila (SWD) management more challenging (, as growers have discovered in the last two months.  As we move into the end of blueberry harvest, fruit being picked for processing is at higher risk for SWD infestation for several reasons: It is often softer than fruit picked for the fresh market and SWD prefer soft fruit ( Processing fruit may be harvested less frequently than fresh market fruit, increasing the time ripe berries are exposed to SWD. Finally, because processing fruit is often machine harvested, all the fruit in the field (good and bad) may be picked.

There are some strategies that growers can employ post harvest to decrease the likelihood that SWD infested fruit will be sent off for processing:

1. Hold fruit at cool temperatures. Work in our lab suggests that SWD eggs and larvae cease development at temperatures less than 41F. They will not necessarily die at cool temperatures, but they likely will not cause further damage to the fruit. The longer fruit are stored and the cooler the temperature of storage, the more likely that small SWD larvae will die. Holding fruit at cooler temperatures also give growers the added benefit of determining how significant the infestation, as large larvae will exit fruit as it cools.

2. Sort out soft fruit. Soft fruit is the most likely to be infested with SWD for two reasons – egg laying SWD are more attracted to soft fruit and blueberries become softer as SWD feed. If growers can remove soft fruit before sending fruit for processing, this will further decrease risk of infestation being present. I suspect our aggressive soft sorting standards for fresh market blueberries are one of the reasons that SWD has been a less significant issue in this crop than some other hosts.

3. Sample collection timing. When receiving fruit, processors can either collect samples before or after fruit are sorted/de-stemmed. Samples collected before fruit has been soft sorted are not necessarily representative of the status of the fruit that will be processed. Samples of fruit after chilling and sorting, prior to processing/freezing, are likely more representative.

Post harvest leafhopper treatments

Treatments to manage sharpnosed leafhopper ( vectors of blueberry stunt disease typically begin post harvest ( Blueberry stunt disease is caused by a phytoplasma, and symptoms include "bushy" growth due to short, stunted branches and yellowed leaving during the growing season which may prematurely turn red and fall off in late summer. Most importantly, plants infested with stunt-causing phytoplasma do not produce. 

Aerial applications of ULV (ultra low volume) malathion has been used in the past for leafhoppers due to effectiveness and ease of application. However, many growers have also used this material for SWD management during the season, and careful attention must be paid to label restrictions on the number of applications that can be made of materials when selecting tools to manage sharpnosed leafhopper. Application limits apply to the entire growing season, not just harvest season, so label limits on the number of applications also apply to leafhopper treatments. Application limits apply to the amount of active ingredient, not the trade names of those active ingredients. Sources for updated labels with current use restrictions include CDMS ( and Agrian (

Alternatives to malathion that are effective against sharpnosed leafhopper include Assail (acetamiprid) and Asana (esfenvalurate).  Imidaclorprid and thiamethoxam are also options for sharpnosed leafhopper. The North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual ( has recommendations for the use of these materials. It's important to note, however, that all these materials pose some risks to pollinators. While blueberries are not in bloom, some of our most efficient blueberry pollinators ( are ground nesting bees that may remain near fields after bloom. Therefore, any insecticide treatments should be timed to leafhopper flights, ideally determined through trapping, to provide maximum efficacy against target pests and limit unnecessary applications. See for information on trapping and the following for images,, to aid in sharpnosed leafhopper identification.

From: Lina Quesada-Ocampo, Extension Plant Pathologist

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Moves Towards Western North Carolina

Cucurbit downy mildew has been reported in Haywood, Polk, Ashe, Henderson and Chatham counties ( during this past week. Now that cucurbit downy mildew is present in several regions of North Carolina and surrounding states, it’s important that growers scout for the disease and keep up with preventive sprays to protect their crop and avoid yield loses.

If you are not familiar with cucurbit downy mildew symptoms on different cucurbits please see our previous alert ( to assist you in diagnosing this foliar disease. If you think you have cucurbit downy mildew in your cucurbits please contact your local Extension agent ( and send photos and/or physical samples to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic (

For more information about the disease and how to control it, see our factsheets in English and Spanish ( Control recommendations are also available in the cucurbit downy mildew IPM pipe website (, where you can also register to receive text, e-mail and/or phone alerts when new disease outbreaks are reported. We have also compiled previous cucurbit downy mildew alerts at

Follow us on Twitter ( and Facebook ( for more veggie disease alerts.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Opportunities

New Opportunities for Organic and Biodynamic Farming in Western NC

For organic growers looking for a new opportunities there will be an event/program at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center-  Read on!

Date:   August 1, 2013
Time:   2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Where:  Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, 455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759
To reserve a space: Call Erin at 267-372-0339  (she really does need a head count)
Description: There are new business opportunities for organic and biodynamic production in western North Carolina and this is the event to learn all about them!  Jim Fullmer from Demeter, the biodynamic certifying organization, will discuss what is involved in being a commercial, certified biodynamic farmer.  “Coach” Mark Smallwood the executive director of the Rodale Institute will discuss their plans for western North Carolina. And Jeanine Davis, Associate Professor of Horticulture at NC State University will lead a panel discussion to cover the rising demand for large-scale organic and biodynamic vegetables from the region.  This event is sponsored by Brad’s Raw Foods, Demeter, NC State University, and Rodale Institute.
Detour: Construction of the Sierra Nevada Brewery near our facilities has resulted in a temporary road closure for road widening.  Old Fanning Bridge Road is closed on the Hwy NC-280 side; that is the direction most people come in on from I-26.  So, to get to our facilities from I-26, continue south on Hwy NC-280 for several miles.  Turn right on Hwy NC-191 (Old Haywood Road).  Go several miles and turn right on Old Fanning Bridge Road. 
For more information, contact  or Erin at 267-372-0339.
After Dinner Party:  Join us for an after dinner raw chocolate, kombucha, and biodynamic wine garden party by: Ashevilleage Institute starting at 8:00 pm at 80 Buchanan St., Asheville, NC 28801 (come around to the back!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Forecast

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Forecast 

Vegetable growers producing cucurbit crops such as cucumbers and squash should consider following the Cucurbit Downy Mildew Forecast tool linked below:

Current conditions suggest that with the weather pattern we are now having that there is a moderate to high risk factor (depending on your location and terrain in  WNC) of developing this disease on your crops.  Please stay alert for further information and contact your local Cooperative Extension Center if you think you already have this disease present in your fields.  

For more information please visit the following website:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mountain Research Station Field Day

Hello Vegetable Producer
We have just learned of the Field Day at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, on Thursday and would like to give you this invitation to come out and see all of the exciting things that have been going on at this farm

The following link will direct you to the flier discussing the details of the field day:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Late Blight Alert

Late Blight now in WNC

Late blight was detected in a West Asheville tomato garden over the weekend. It is now in our general area. Our weather has been very conducive for it... so it was just a matter of time before it showed up. Details on how to manage it, can be found here:

If you have tomatoes that have not been flooded out and are able to get into your fields please be sure to get a fungicide treatment on them as soon as possible.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flooding and Crop Disaster Information

Hello Vegetable and Fruit Grower

Due to the flooding that occurred in many placed over night, throughout WNC last night and may continue to occur this weekend,  I am asking that growers, contact me or one of my colleagues to let us know the extent of damage that you may have.  I have already been out this morning looking at flooded fields and at least one severely damaged nursery.  We need to collect as mush information as we can to provide to the folk at FSA in case the area can get any crop disaster relief.

Please send me an e-mail at  or call  my office at 828-255-5522 and leave a message.
Feel free to share this information with fellow farmers that may not have internet access.

In addition please read the following materials from Diane Ducharme as it relates to the harvest and sale of crops in flooded fields:

Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption

This guidance sets for the best management practices given current research-based information. 

This document sets forth information on:
  • ·      Defines flooding vs. pooled water (after rainfalls)
  • ·      Safety of food crops when floodwaters contacted the edible portions of the crops (surface & underground crops, crops with a hard outer skin or shell, and grains, nuts, corns, etc.)
  • ·      Safety of food crops when flood waters did NOT contact the edible portions of the crops
  • ·      Assessment of Flood-affected Fields before Replanting, possible testing needed, and while crops are not in the fields
  • ·      Additional Controls to Avoid Cross-contamination after Flooding

This guidance represents the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. If you want to discuss an alternative approach, contact the FDA staff responsible for implementing this guidance. If you cannot identify the appropriate FDA staff, call the telephone number listed on the title page of this guidance.

Vegetable Disease Alert


From: Kelly Ivors, Lina Quesada-Ocampo and Barbara Shew, Extension Plant Pathologists

Late Blight Isn’t Late This Year . . . It’s Early Again

Late blight has been confirmed on tomatoes in Watauga, Guilford and Wake counties and on potatoes in Watauga County by the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at North Carolina State University ( in collaboration with Dr. Kelly Ivors and Dr. Lina Quesada-Ocampo at the Department of Plant Pathology.

Tomato fruit and foliage and potato foliage were severely affected and blighted in the samples, probably due to the heavy rainfall we have experienced in the past few days, which favors disease. In Western North Carolina, late blight on tomato typically occurs later in the season when the risks for fruit loss are minimal; however, it is only rarely found on tomato outside of the mountain counties. Given the recent rain and weather conditions and the fact that the disease is present in the state earlier than expected, the disease will be harder to control season-long and could quickly spread to other areas. Active scouting and immediate action to protect tomato and potato crops in North Carolina from late blight is recommended.

The Department of Plant Pathology has developed the Extension Plant Pathology portal (, which contains a pest news section (, to get the latest updated information on new pest alerts. We are constantly adding content as necessary when diseases of significance show up.

If you think you have late blight in your tomatoes and/or potatoes please contact your local Extension agent ( and send photos and/or physical samples to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic. If late blight is confirmed in your samples by an expert, please send a report at the USAblight website ( to alert other growers. The USAblight website also contains information about disease identification and control.

During the last two weeks the pathogen appeared in Dickson County, TN (June 7); Morgan County, TN (June 10) but in a greenhouse crop, which is an unusual circumstance; Montgomery County, MD (June 20); Wayne Co, KY (June 22); Mercer County, NJ (June 28); Kent County, DE (July 1) and of course as within the last couple of days - Guilford County and Wake County, NC. This monitoring system is complemented with available recommendations in the Southeastern U.S. Vegetable Crop Handbook, as well as an updated factsheet  ( that provides a proactive program to pre-empt late blight - especially during harvest.

For control recommendations and additional information, please refer to previous tomato late blight ( and potato late blight ( alerts.

From: Lina Quesada-Ocampo, Extension Plant Pathologist

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Found in Sampson, Hertford and Martin Counties

Cucurbit downy mildew was found in cucumber in Sampson, Hertford and Martin counties and in butternut squash in Sampson County in the past five days. Growers should scout their fields twice per week and protect their crops. The continuous wet weather we have been experiencing will favor the disease. The forecast for cucurbit downy mildew risk in North Carolina continues to be high (

If you think you have cucurbit downy mildew in your cucurbits please contact your local Extension agent and send photos and/or physical samples to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic. If cucurbit downy mildew is confirmed in your samples by an expert, please make sure a report is sent to the cucurbit downy mildew IPM pipe website (

For control recommendations and who to contact for assistance please refer to the first North Carolina report from Wayne County (, or check our factsheets in English and Spanish (

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more veggie disease alerts ( and

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Berry Good News

If you are a berry grower this is exciting news: 

This in from Diane Ducharme: 

Berries are in the news with Hepatitis A.  
I wanted to let you know of some great resources that have been created through NoroCORE (Read more about this project below) for the Berry Industry.   Please feel free to us these in your newsletters or blogs.  

Links to Infosheet on Hepatisis A - one for farm management and one for berry harvesters:
Direct Link:

Inline image 1

Contact Information for Fresh Produce:
Chip Simmons
Office 919-515-6756
Mobile 919-414-5632


North Carolina State University will use a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to strengthen food safety by studying human noroviruses across the food supply chain in an effort to design effective control measures and reduce the number of virus-caused food borne illnesses.
Human noroviruses are the most common cause of food borne disease, responsible for more than 5 million cases in the United States each year. Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Molluscan shellfish like oysters, clams and mussels; fresh produce; and foods that are extensively handled just prior to consumption are at greatest risk for contamination.
Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, a professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at NC State, is the lead investigator of this five-year project.  Her group, called the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative, consists of a team of more than 30 collaborators from academia, industry and government. The team will work to increase understanding of the viruses; educate producers, processors and food handlers on safe handling and preparation of food; and develop control and management strategies to reduce food contamination before and after harvesting. (Excerpt taken from
NoroCORE, the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative, is a food safety collaborative that focuses on outreach, research, and education in the field of food virology. NoroCORE’s ultimate goal is to reduce the burden of food borne disease associated with viruses, particularly noroviruses. NoroCORE is comprised of more than 30 lead scientists and their teams, from 18 institutions, with numerous stakeholders in the academic, industry, and government sectors. This multi-disciplinary team is working in an integrated manner to develop improved tools, skills, and capacity to understand and control food borne virus risks.

Through NoroCORE, we have put together a couple of infosheets with information about viruses in berries.  There are two infosheets: one directed at harvesters and one directed at farm management.  I hope these will be helpful for those individuals with questions about viral contamination of berries as the Hepatitis A outbreak in pomegranate seeds continues... (Excerpt taken from

Bunch Grape Disease Alert

Botrytis on Bunch Grape

For those of you growing bunch grapes we have the following alert from our bunch grape specialist; Sara Spayd:

Although NC conditions do not always support Botrytis (generally too hot), with the rainy, relatively cool weather we are having, Botrytis has reared its ugly head in bunch grapes.  

The high rainfall and relatively good fruit set conditions this spring are leading to very tight clusters. Berries are likely to be squeezed off clusters providing a supply of nutrients for Botrytis and other fruit rot organisms. Given the persistent rain conditions and that bunch closure has occurred, we have a very high potential for rapid spread as long as conditions remain warm and humid. Gorwers should check the chemistries that they have already used for Botrytis control and DO NOT USE additional fungicides of the same mode of action as those already used. CHECK THE LABELS.

Fruit ripening is still behind though berry size can be expected to expand rapidly once the fruit hits stage 3 of growth (engustment) when water starts to fill in the berries.. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pest News for Week of July 1

From: Lina Quesada-Ocampo, Extension Plant Pathologist
New Cucurbit Downy Mildew Report in Cucumber from
Franklin County and Several Cucurbits in Johnston County
Cucurbit downy mildew was reported on cucumbers in Franklin County on June 22 and on cantaloupe
and pumpkin, June 25, through the cucurbit downy mildew IPM pipe website
( Cucurbit downy
mildew has also been reported in watermelon and squash in Charleston County, South Carolina. Now
that several cucurbits are being affected in North Carolina and neighboring states it’s important that
growers scout their fields twice a week and protect their crops. The forecast for cucurbit downy mildew
mid=61 in North Carolina continues to be high due to the wet weather we have experienced.
For control recommendations and who to contact for assistance, please refer to the first North Carolina
report from Wayne County (, or check our
factsheets in English and Spanish (
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more veggie disease alerts
( and

Hops Variety Trial Tour

Tour the NC State University Hops Variety Trial in western NC
Friday, July 12, 2013, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, Mills River, NC
In direct response to the expressed needs of hops growers in North Carolina, three years ago we established a hops variety trial at the research station in western North Carolina. Ten varieties were planted on a 20 foot trellis.  The first year (2011), we had one of the prettiest hop yards in the Southeast.  The second year (2012), Downy Mildew, spider mites, and Japanese beetles took a terrible toll on the plants and the differences between varieties really became apparent. We lost one variety completely; Newport.  Downy Mildew actually killed the crowns. This spring we took the opportunity to informally test a few new varieties by planting them where the Newport crowns had been planted.  This year we have taken a much more aggressive approach to controlling diseases and insects.  We have also done some cultural practices, such as spring pruning in an effort to increase lateral formation and yields.
So, come on out late Friday afternoon.  Take a look at these varieties and let's share our experiences growing hops in western NC. As many of our longer-term growers will attest, research such as the variety trial here is so important to the success of this industry.  It can help you, the grower, prevent some costly mistakes.  When a variety, spray material, or practice doesn't work in our yard, it is "lesson learned for all of us". When it doesn't work in your yard, it is time and money lost.
Note, the construction of the Sierra Nevada Brewery next to the research station has resulted in a temporary road closure.  If you come in via I-26 please follow these directions to get to our facility:
Revised temporary directions to the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center and the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station:  Construction of the Sierra Nevada Brewery near our facilities has resulted in a temporary road closure for road widening.  Old Fanning Bridge Road is closed on the Hwy NC-280 side; that is the direction most people come in on from I-26.  So, to get to our facilities from I-26, continue south on Hwy NC-280 for several miles.  Turn right on Hwy NC-191 (Old Haywood Road).  Go several miles and turn right on Old Fanning Bridge Road.
No registration is required. This is an outside event, so dress accordingly. Suggested donation of $5 per person.  If you have questions, please email or call Kelly Gaskill,  or  828-684-3562.
Jeanine M. Davis, Ph.D.