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Responding to Hailstorms

Crystal Stewart-Courtens, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

June 26, 2013

Responding to Hailstorms
Preparing for hail: There are some normal maintenance activities that will also benefit your plants in the event of a hailstorm. The use of rowcovers may help to diffuse the impact of hailstones and reduce injury to plants, especially when using rowcover and hoops. When deciding how long to leave those covers on, or whether to put them on your later plantings, this is a factor to consider. However, we have also seen rowcovers completely removed by the high winds that can precede hail, so this is certainly not a fail-safe.
The second precaution which will help in the event of hail is the application of a preventative fungicide such as copper or chlorothalonil. Although these products are not rain-fast, we have found that they still help reduce incidence of fungal and bacterial infections from hailstorms.

After hail: The damage left by hail varies tremendously based on the size and shape of the hailstone, the wind velocity of the storm, and the duration of the hail event. Deciding how to respond is really case-by-case. Two farms right next to each other can experience very different levels of damage. However, there are some rules of thumb that generally hold true.

1) Cucurbits are going to look really bad but are likely to recover. Those huge leaves tend to tatter very dramatically during hail, and can look absolutely awful. However, the leaves can also help to protect the growing points, which largely determine whether a plant will recover or not. Generally cucurbits that are old enough to have an established root system and have intact growing points will be able to generate new leaves very quickly and will begin producing fruit within a couple of weeks. To facilitate this process, give some extra nitrogen through the drip system.  Pick and remove summer squash fruit that were damaged by hail if you can.

2) All plants will benefit from a protective fungicide application. After hail, plants have hundreds of small (or large) wounds which leave them extremely vulnerable to diseases. As soon as you can get on the field, apply a protectant such as copper or chlorothalonil (copper will protect from bacterial and fungal diseases so is the better option), even if you applied one before the storm. This will help prevent infection while the plant heals up those wounds.

3) Incidence of bacterial rot in onions is going to increase. We tend to see many more issues with onion storage following hail. Copper may help somewhat, but results have been mixed to poor. 

Deciding what to do with tomatoes can be tricky. According to Dr. Reiners, determinate varieties suffering from moderate to severe damage (think of snapped branches and stripped leaves-Image 1) are most likely to be lost causes because by the time they recover they will practically be at the end of their lives. It is best to pull plants at this threshold out. Indeterminate tomatoes have a better chance of recovering from hail. All fruit which was hit will be relegated to seconds at the very best. Damage can vary greatly by variety because of the differences in canopy cover, so assess each separately. Last year we saw Primo Reds that were a complete loss next to Amish Paste tomatoes which were about 80% ok.

On plants with heavy foliage such as corn and sweet potatoes, a foliar feeding including nitrogen and some micronutrients may be beneficial. Remember that you have to have intact foliage to spray for this to be effective.

Once you have done everything you can to clean up and protect your plants, it is often best from a mental health standpoint to walk away for a few days up to a week. There is a small period of time where this is nothing more to do but let the plants recover. Nice time for a mini vacation. Really.

As always, if you would like help deciding what to do after hail or any other weather event, please give us a call.

 



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Upcoming Events

Agricultural Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program

June 17, 2022
June 23, 2022
June 30, 2022
July 7, 2022
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July 28, 2022

Supervisors are critical to the success of farm businesses. They have a major impact both on employees' daily work experiences and on the production performance of the business. The  agricultural Supervisory Leadership certificate helps farm supervisors and managers learn and apply human resource management practices and leadership skills that foster rewarding workplaces and drive business results. Confident managers who thoughtfully apply leadership and management skills improve employee performance, develop teams, reduce employee turnover, and increase employee engagement. The courses within the certificate program will offer extensive practice and engagement activities to build confidence and skill sets.

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Peru Weed Management and Soil Health Field Day

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 20, 2022
Peru, NY

Join us in Peru on July 20th as we discuss orchard weed and soil management! Speakers will be joining us from across Cornell's research and extension teams.  Topics will include the results of our herbicide timing trials, new vision-guided technologies for orchard weed spraying, organic weed management options, soil health demonstrations, and a discussion on our statewide orchard soil health survey. DEC credits are pending for this event.  

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July Next Gen Meetup at Bowman Orchards

July 21, 2022
Rexford, NY

The July Next-Gen meet-up is focused on marketing. We will provide everyone who registers with a resource guide to farm stand marketing. The Bowman's have a farm store, U-Pick berries, sunflowers, apples and pumpkins as well as a commercial apple orchard. We encourage you to check out their website (Bowman Orchards).

Young farmers are welcome to attend, the focus of the program is farmers who are in the process of taking over a farm from the prior generation (whether family or not). Please pre-register by July 18  so that we know you are coming and can have enough food for dinner and resource materials.

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2022 Spotted Wing Drosophila Monitoring/Management

All berry farmers are watching for monitoring reports that indicate Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) adults are in their region. Mid-season berry crops should be sprayed as soon as berries begin to ripen unless you've elected to use insect exclusion netting.

- For general information about SWD, and to enroll for free monitoring reports, visit the Cornell SWD blog https://blogs.cornell.edu/swd1/.
- Click here for the 2022 Quick Guide for Pesticide Management.
- For some great instructional videos and fact sheets on insect exclusion netting, visit the University of Vermont's Ag Engineering blog.


Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

Winter Greens Research Review

March 23, 2022
Winter Greens Research Review
March 17, 2022

Episode description:
In this episode, vegetable specialists Ethan Grundberg, Elisabeth Hodgdon, Jud Reid, and grower Leon Vehaba discuss winter greens production in Eastern New York. They highlight research results from the past five years that aimed to develop nitrogen fertility and heating recommendations for winter high tunnel greens production. Leon discusses his lessons learned from his experience at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project and how he made changes to his greens production as a result.

Funding and support for the research trials discussed were provided by:
Organic nitrogen fertility management in winter spinach (Willsboro Farm and Pleasant Valley Farm trials): New York Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Northern NY Agricultural Development Program, Toward Sustainability Foundation, Paul and Sandy Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm, Mike Davis of the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm, and Amy Ivy and Andy Galimberti of the CCE ENYCHP.

Nitrogen dynamics and yield response to minimal supplemental heating in high tunnel winter production: Northeast SARE Partnership grant and the Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

Resources:
Ethan and Leon’s report from their trials at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project:
‘Nitrogen dynamics and yield response to minimal supplemental heating in high tunnel winter production’ SARE grant final report: https://projects.sare.org/project-reports/one17-298/

Elisabeth and Jud’s results from their trials at the Willsboro Research Farm and Pleasant Valley Farm:
Willsboro Research Farm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m94bE5DV5SI&t=10s
Pleasant Valley Farm (research results and overview of winter greens production on the farm): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLK6jnc0YzA&t=12s

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