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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

Ag Manager Webinar Series: Ag Tax Topics - Sales Tax and Property Tax Issues for Ag in NYS

August 27, 2019
12:30 - 12:50pm

Join Liz Higgins from the CCE ENYCHP every other Tuesday at 12:30pm throughout the summer as she discusses pertinent business topics for busy farm managers.
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Willsboro Farm High Tunnel Twilight Meeting

August 27, 2019
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Willsboro, NY

Join vegetable specialists Elisabeth Hodgdon, Jud Reid, and farm manager Mike Davis for a high tunnel and field tour at Cornell's Willsboro Research Farm, where they will share research results for the following projects: 
  • Striped cucumber beetle management suing netting and row cover
  • Varietal differences in cucumber susceptibility to striped cucumber beetle
  • Ground cherry and goldenberry production in field and high tunnel environments
  • Overwintered high tunnel spinach nitrogen fertility 

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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

Biweekly Vegetable News Podcast - Episode 9 - 08/21/19

August 21, 2019
The August 21st, 2019 edition of the Eastern New York Vegetable News covers the following topics:

Changes to Worker Housing Regulations in the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act (1:25)
Managing Alternaria Leaf Spot and Head Rot on Broccoli (4:25)
Gauging Winter Squash Maturity for Harvest (10:05)
Insects in Hemp, especially European Corn Borers (18:33)
Guidance on the Dropped Covered Produce Provision of the Food Safety Modernization Act (22:53)
Cucurbit Downy Mildew Management Update (27:02)
Report from the BioControl Field Day and Weed Management Recommendations (31:07)
Day Neutral Strawberries (40:33)

Here are links to additional resources mentioned in the episode:

Current Housing Regulations for Seasonal and Migrant Farmworkers
(On January 1, 2020, these will now apply to farms housing any number of seasonal and migrant farmworkers)

Public Health Law, section 225, NYCRR Title 10 Health, Part 15, Migrant Housing: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/nycrr/title_10/part_15/

Managing Alternaria Leaf Spot and Head Rot in Broccoli

Sue Scheufele “Can Alternaria Leaf Spot Be Managed Organically?” http://www.hort.cornell.edu/expo/proceedings/2013/Cole%20Crops/Cole%20Crops%20Scheufele%20Alternaria.pdf

Christy Hoepting “Control of Alternaria head rot in broccoli featuring exciting results from 2018 on‐farm fungicide trial” http://www.hort.cornell.edu/expo/pdf/20190115-all-day-hoepting.pdf

Dropped Covered Produce:
FDA Factsheet on Dropped Covered Produce: https://www.fda.gov/media/129568/download

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