Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Enrollment

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Blossom Blast and Bumblebees

Amy Ivy, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

April 25, 2018

There are a variety of reasons why blossoms might blast on tomatoes. Blast is a dramatic term for when the blossoms die and fall off before fruit can set. Temperatures over 95, manganese and zinc deficiencies, and pepMV virus are all possible causes. Some plants even do some self-thinning and shed blossoms when their fruit load is too great. But this week was the first time I had heard of the concept of over-pollination, and it seems several growers are having trouble with this in their early, heated high tunnel tomatoes.

Bumblebees are ‘buzz pollinators,' meaning they shake the pollen out of the anthers by buzzing. They bite onto the anthers and then vibrate their bodies to shake loose the pollen. For an amazing video clip of how this works visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZrTndD1H10 . Growers with heated tunnels can start their tomatoes extra early but they need to buy in bumble bees to pollinate since the native ones are not yet active.

Usually this process works fine but sometimes there are more bees than flowers and the hungry bees come back to the same flower multiple times, trying to shake more pollen loose. Too much of this aggressive feeding can kill the flowers (see photos).

One grower estimates he has lost half of all of his first flower clusters, a loss of about $2400, so this damage can be serious. The bee supplier has renamed its product line this year and most of our growers are ordering the ‘start-up' hive.  But this hive was developed for high volume hydroponic producers in mind and has more bees than usual. I visited three growers with this problem this week and we would be very interested to know how many others are having this problem. Please call, text or email me (adi2@cornell.edu or 518-570-5991).

Photo: Notice the darkened anthers (blue arrows) and the dropped blossoms (red circles). A little bit of darkening is tolerable but the flowers will drop if this much damage occurs.

This article is from the April 26, 2018 edition of ENYCHP Vegetable News.  To read the full newsletter, CLICK HERE.

 

Tomato Blossom




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Upcoming Events

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course

Event Offers DEC Credits

February 25, 2020
Albany, NY

A grower training course developed by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) that meets the regulatory requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.  At least one person per farm producing more than $25,000 worth of fruits and vegetables must attend this course once.  Participants will receive a certificate of course completion by the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

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2020 ENYCHP Fruit & Vegetable Conference

February 25 - February 26, 2020
Albany, NY

Join us for two days filled with informative sessions on Tree Fruit, Vegetables, Small Fruit, Grapes, Hemp, and more!

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Hands-on Pruning Demonstration with Dr. Terence Robinson - Capital Region

February 27, 2020
Altamont, NY

Join us for a morning of hands-on pruning discussion and demonstration with Dr. Terence Robinson.  Terence will walk us through the key steps of pruning the tall spindle orchard, and will also review pruning techniques for other orchard systems commonly grown across the Capital Region. Please note this meeting will be held the morning following our annual winter conference in Albany.  

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Announcements

2020 ENY Fruit & Vegetable Conference


Join us for two full days of informative sessions on Tree Fruit, Berries, Vegetables, Grapes, Hemp, and more...many of which will offer DEC credits.

When registering, please be sure to choose the correct cost option depending on your enrollment status with Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture and whether you will be attending one day or two.

Lodging: Individual guests may call The Desmond directly at 518-869-8100 (or 800-448-3500) to book rooms at the discounted rate of $115.00 per night. Reservations must be received no later than February 9, 2020 to get the discounted rate. When requesting a room, guests may refer to the "Eastern NY Fruit & Vegetable Conference Room Block" or by referencing Block Code: FVG.

2020 Fruit & Veg Conference credits are as follows:
  • Tree Fruit - Day 1 morning - 2.0 credits in categories 1a, 10, 22
  • Tree Fruit - Day 1 afternoon - 2.25 credits in categories 1a, 10, 22
  • FSMA - Day 1 all day - 2.0 credits for 10, 1a, 23
  • Grapes - 2.25 credits in categories 1a, 10, 22
  • Berries - 2.75 credits in categories 1a, 10, 22
  • Veg - Day 2 morning - 1.50 credits in categories 1a, 10, 23
  • Veg - Day 2 afternoon - 2.00 credits in categories 1a, 10, 23
  • Hemp - 1.75 credits in categories 10 and 1a; 1.25 credits in categories 21, 24


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

Tomato Disease Resistance

February 17, 2020
Teresa Rusinek discusses new tomato varieties being developed by Dr. Martha Mutchler-Chu at Cornell University with improved resistance to early blight, late blight, septoria leaf spot, and other foliar diseases. Rusinek also covers the basic biology and current management options for the primary tomato foliar diseases, including bacterial spot and speck, found in Eastern New York.

Dr. Meg McGrath: What’s New in Managing Tomato Diseases in 2019 (fungicide efficacy trials for several tomato foliar diseases, including OMRI options)
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/Tomato%20Diseases-McGrath-NJ%20ACTS-2019-NY.pdf

Tomato Disease Resistance Breeding http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/Cornell%20Disease%20Resistant%20Tomatoes-2019.pdf

Hot Water Treatment
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/HotWaterSeedTreatment.html

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