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Environmental Causes of Tip Burn on Transplants

Ethan Grundberg, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

May 2, 2018

Tip Burn

As discussed in last week's article "Growers are Producing Great Transplants Despite Tough Weather Conditions" by Crystal Stewart, the cool, overcast, and wet spring has posed a number of challenges in propagation greenhouses. As Crystal noted, "high humidity and low light means almost no transpiration by the plants, so soil that is wet stays wet." These environmental conditions can result in a myriad of problems, including fungus gnat infestations, foliar diseases, and the fertility issues discussed by Crystal in the aforementioned article.

Calcium deficiencies in transplants can be another consequence of the short day lengths, overcast skies, cool temperatures, and high humidity that characterized most of the spring. Growers who have battled blossom end rot in tomatoes or tip burn in lettuce likely already understand that these disorders are, technically, caused by calcium deficiencies at the growing point of plants. However, the true culprit is typically not a calcium deficiency in the soil or growing media, but rather erratic watering that prevents the calcium in the soil or potting mix from becoming soluble and being taken up by plants. Getting the calcium into the roots is just the first part of the battle, however.

Calcium is not mobile within plants; instead, it is carried through the plant vascular system along with water that is being sucked through the plant by the process called transpiration. The small openings along leaves, stomata, open up to take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and release water in the process. This transpiration is what drives water movement up to the new growth points on plants and, in so doing, carries that calcium to the rapidly growing leaves to reinforce cell walls. What happens to transplants in a cool greenhouse at 95% relative humidity without supplemental light? They transpire exceptionally slowly and don't move calcium to the leaf margins. What happens when such conditions are followed by really warm weather and full sunlight? Plants grow and transpire quickly, but can't immediately supply the calcium demand at growth points which can result initially in small brown spots along the leaf edges that eventually turn papery and can be quickly colonized by secondary foliar pathogens.

Extensive research on tip burn has shown that supplying extra calcium through foliar feeding or fertigation will NOT help plants avoid calcium deficiencies if they are growing under low transpiration conditions. What can growers do to avoid calcium deficiency induced transplant tip burn?

  1. As Crystal mentioned, "if heading into a period of cold, wet days, minimize watering.  And don't be afraid to use gable end vents or ridge vents if it is too wet in the greenhouse!"
  2. Try to avoid dramatic temperature swings through supplemental heating, venting, and shade cloth; if plants have been grown in the mid-50s, a sudden surge into the 90s can lead to excessively quick growth that results in tip burn.
  3. Don't panic! Most plants will outgrow early calcium deficiency symptoms once they're in the field under more consistent growing conditions. However, tip burn on quick turn baby lettuces and other leafy greens both reduce the crop's shelf-life post-harvest and, even if minor, can make them unsellable.
  4. Don't throw water on a grease fire! It's easy to think providing extra calcium will help a plant experiencing a calcium deficiency. However, if the potting mix has sufficient calcium and the deficiency is environmentally-induced, adding extra calcium can actually interfere with the plant uptake of other essential nutrients like magnesium and potassium

 This article is from the May 3, 2018 edition of ENYCHP Vegetable News.  To read the full newsletter,CLICK HERE.



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Lettuce / Leafy Greens

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Upcoming Events

Berry Production Workshop: Using Insect Exclusion Netting to Manage SWD

September 15, 2021
October 5, 2021

Due to predictions of extreme weather tomorrow evening, Wednesday, September 15th, the Exclusion Netting Workshop at the Berry Patch, Stephentown, NY has been postponed until Tuesday, October 5th, 4-6pm.  If you already registered for the Berry Patch session, there is no need to re-register.

The western NY site at Albers Acres in Kennedy, NY will still hold the workshop tomorrow night, Sept 15.

If you have any questions about eastern NY meeting - please call Laura McDermott, 518-791-5038, or email lgm4@cornell.edu.

2021 season review of SWD management techniques

Join us at either The Berry Patch in Stephentown (Oct 5) or Abers Acres in Kennedy (Sept 15) for a two-hour review of Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) management techniques.  We'll cover the basics of SWD monitoring of adult and larvae populations and also discuss implementing a pesticide program.

The program will focus on what has been learned about designing an exclusion netting support system that provides long term control of SWD and maximum utility for berry farmers.

Exclusion netting is being used on field blueberries where it controls SWD while also excluding birds and moderating impacts of hail and heavy rain.  Raspberries and strawberries also benefit from exclusion netting on  the sides of high tunnels.   

1.5 DEC credits available in categories 1A, 10, and 22

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Remote Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course

October 20 - October 21, 2021

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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Announcements

2021 SWD Insecticide Quick Guide

Prepare your sprayer and make sure you have the insecticides of choice on hand. Click on the following link for the revised 2021 SWD Insecticide Quick Guide: https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.edu/uploads/doc_981.pdf

Current recommendations are to use the most effective material you can early in the spray program - even though the population seems small. The strategy is to keep the population small for as long as possible as it's very hard to gain control after the numbers have ballooned.  

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance for Producers

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance for Producers Facing Inclement Weather

Severe weather events create significant challenges and often result in catastrophic loss for agricultural producers. Despite every attempt to mitigate risk, your operation may suffer losses. USDA offers several programs to help with recovery.

Risk Management
For producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), we want to remind you to report crop damage to your crop insurance agent or the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

If you have crop insurance, contact your agency within 72 hours of discovering damage and be sure to follow up in writing within 15 days. If you have NAP coverage, file a Notice of Loss (also called Form CCC-576) within 15 days of loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours.

Disaster Assistance
USDA also offers disaster assistance programs, which is especially important to livestock, fruit and vegetable, specialty and perennial crop producers who have fewer risk management options.
First, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) reimburses producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry and other animals that died as a result of a qualifying natural disaster event or for loss of grazing acres, feed and forage. And, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides assistance to producers of grazed forage crop acres that have suffered crop loss due to a qualifying drought. Livestock producers suffering the impacts of drought can also request Emergency Haying and Grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.

For LIP and ELAP, you will need to file a Notice of Loss for livestock and grazing or feed losses within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days. For TAP, you will need to file a program application within 90 days.

Documentation
It's critical to keep accurate records to document all losses following this devastating cold weather event. Livestock producers are advised to document beginning livestock numbers by taking time and date-stamped video or pictures prior to after the loss.

Other common documentation options include:
- Purchase records
- Production records
- Vaccination records
- Bank or other loan documents
- Third-party certification

Additional Resources
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options.

While we never want to have to implement disaster programs, we are here to help. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact the Rensselaer County USDA Service Center @ 518 271 1889 ext. 2. The office is open for business, however due to pandemic restrictions all in-person visits require an appointment.


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

FSMA Updates with Gretchen Wall

August 10, 2021
In this episode, Elisabeth Hodgdon discusses news and updates related to FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule with food safety specialist Gretchen Wall. They discuss inspection schedules for the 2021 season, On Farm Readiness Reviews, water testing, new resources available for growers, and more.

Resources:
Records Required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, by K. Woods, D. Stoeckel, B. Fick, G. Wall, and E.A. Bihn. This fact sheet includes an explanation of required records as well as printable record templates:
https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/sites/producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/files/shared/documents/Records-Required-by-the-FSMA-PSR.pdf

Upcoming Remote, Online, and In-Person Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Courses:
https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/training/grower-training-courses/upcoming-grower-trainings/

Interactive Google map of water testing labs, created by the Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?amp%3Busp=sharing&mid=1C8KHM6jJszj9auYQttUbVtPKtb4eEBSJ&ll=41.22288057139939%2C-78.58548244999999&z=5\

Interested in joining the Produce Safety Alliance listserv? Sign up here to receive FSMA updates, notifications of educational opportunities and new resources, and more:
https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/

Contact Information:
To schedule an On Farm Readiness Review or discuss your farm’s FSMA PSR coverage status, contact Steve Schirmer (315-487–0852 or steve.schirmer@agriculture.ny.gov), or Aaron Finley (518-474-5235 or aaron.finley@agriculture.ny.gov).

Episode speakers:
Elisabeth Hodgdon, ENYCHP vegetable specialist: 518-650-5323 or eh528@cornell.edu
Gretchen Wall, Produce Safety Alliance coordinator and Northeast Regional Extension Associate: 607-882-3087 or glw53@cornell.edu

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