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Start managing for bacterial diseases in field tomatoes at transplanting

Crystal Stewart, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

May 9, 2018

Bacterial speck, spot, and canker continue to be perennial problems in Eastern NY. We are learning that effective management is a season-long effort, starting with proper greenhouse sanitation and continuing with regular plant protection. The good news is that there are more tools available for disease management than once thought; the bad news is management is more intensive than we'd like.

Image 1

Source: Dr. Christine Smart

Image 2

Source: Dr. Christine Smart

 

Start with clean stakes

 

This is a best practice because of other tomato diseases too, so hopefully you are already cleaning your tomato stakes. Every year wooden and metal stakes should be power-washed to remove excess soil, then sterilized using either bleach, Green-Shield,  Xero-Tol, or an equivalent product. It is important for the stakes to sit in a sterilizing solution long enough to penetrate the nooks and crannies of the wood and kill any lurking bacteria or fungal structures. Remember that bleach will damage metal stakes if not rinsed off.

 

Protect plants starting early

Bacterial diseases are most effectively controlled by preventing their infection. It's not always clear where inoculum comes from, but we know that growers who have struggled with bacterial diseases in the past are having some success with starting a protective spray program shortly after transplanting. The traditional spray for both organic and conventional growers has been copper; however, there is concern about applying the amount of copper per season that would be needed to provide continuous control. Dr. Christine Smart has been doing trialing of alternatives to copper for bacterial canker and bacterial speck, and has found that there are products equally effective to copper available on the market.

                   2017 Bacterial Speck Trial Results: Dr. Smart

    *Products with the same letter are not significantly different

Treatment and Rate/A

Active Ingredient

   Mean AUDPC

(disease over time)

Unsprayed control

234.8 a

Regalia EC 4 qt

Reynoutria sachalinensis extract

174.5  b

Double Nickel LC 32 fl oz

Bacillus amyloliquefaciens

166.3 b

Actinovate AG 12 oz

Streptomyces lydicus

 161.3 b

LifeGard WG 4.5oz/100 gal

Bacillus mycoides

153.8 b

Actinovate AG+Regalia EC

150.0 b

Champ 30 WG  2.0 lb

Copper hydroxide

145.0 b

 

              2017 Bacterial Canker Trial: Dr. Smart

                           # of fruit without lesions

*Products with different letters are significantly different

It's important to protect leaves because fruit quality will decrease as the plant weakens and is defoliated. However, fruit quality is downgraded by just one lesion. According to Dr. Smart, bacterial infection of fruit occurs before it reaches ping-pong size. Keeping fruit protected prior to this point will effectively result in lesion-free fruit. This knowledge may adjust timing of sprays.

Because copper and other products such as Actigard have, on average across bacterial diseases, equal efficacy, alternating between them could help with resistance management and will reduce copper loading the in soil. All of these products wash off in rains, so protecting weekly or between rain events is recommended for best results with field tomatoes.

One quick note—you will notice that none of the products listed are antibiotics. There are no antibiotics listed for vegetable production—products listed are either broad spectrum biocides, such as copper, stimulate plant immunity, such as Regalia and LifeGard, or competitively colonize the leaf and suppress other bacteria, such as the Bacillus products.



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Upcoming Events

October Last Monday Grant Webinar for Fruit and Vegetable Growers

October 28, 2019
4:00 pm

Are you curious about what grants are available to help your farm business?

To help disseminate information on grants on a consistent basis, ENYCH is offering a "current grants" webinar on the last Monday of every month at 4:00pm

Each month's webinar focuses on 1 grant.  The October webinar topic is TBD but might feature Ag Labor Housing Grants.
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Produce Safety Alliance FSMA Grower Training Course

October 30, 2019
8am - 5pm
Canajoharie, 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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Tarping for Reduced Tillage Workshop

November 2 - November 19, 2019

Are you a vegetable farmer already using tarps? Or are you wondering if and how tarps could work best on your farm?

The Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce a series of workshops on tarping for reduced tillage in small-scale vegetable systems, to be held in Maine and New York this fall. The Reduced Tillage (RT) project of the Cornell Small Farms Program supports farmers in adopting scale-appropriate RT practices that can lead to healthy, productive soils and greater profitability. Through the evaluation of novel tools and methods using systems-based field research and on-farm trials, the project helps farmers learn about the approaches that can work for their farm. This work is accomplished in collaboration with the University of Maine, and with support from Northeast SARE.

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Announcements

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

Climate Change Adaptations

September 30, 2019
In this episode regional vegetable specialist Elisabeth Hodgdon interviews University of Vermont PHD student Alissa White about a series of interviews with growers in the north east concerning climate change adaptations.

Listeners can access Alissa White’s climate change adaptation survey report and additional information on the project by clicking on the following link:

https://adaptationsurvey.wordpress.com/results/
Alissa’s project was sponsored by a Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grant (GNE17-163).

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