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2018 Apple Storage Observations and Recommendations

Mike Basedow, Tree Fruit Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

September 12, 2018

As we jump into another harvest season, let's review some storage suggestions from Dr. Chris Watkins, and results from our own observations and research in Eastern New York, for some of our major cultivars.

Honeycrisp

Honeycrisp in the Hudson Valley tend to be very prone to bitter pit, while fruit in the Champlain Valley generally do not have as much of a problem with it. In the Champlain Valley there has historically been more concerns with soft scald and soggy breakdown.  This historic trend may not always be reliable year to year though, as we saw more bitter pit and very little soft scald in our Champlain Valley survey sites in 2016 and 2017. Visiting our survey sites last week, bitter pit symptoms are already beginning to show up in the Champlain Valley, while bitter pit symptoms have been visible in Hudson Valley Honeycrisp blocks for the last three weeks.

Conditioning fruit at 50°F for up to a week will reduce soft scald and soggy breakdown but will likely lead to more bitter pit development.  Knowing your block history can help you determine whether you want to condition or not.  If a block has historically been very prone to bitter pit, conditioning is not recommended, as this will exacerbate the problem. However, if a block rarely gets bitter pit, and soft scald and soggy breakdown are common, conditioning for seven days would be recommended. Pre-conditioning remains a standard grower practice in the soft-scald prone Champlain Valley.  On the other hand, this practice is falling out of favor with storage operators in the Hudson Valley where mitigation of bitter pit in storage is a higher priority.

So where are we in predicting bitter pit in fruit on the tree? Mineral and non-mineral predictors of bitter pit are still being investigated.  Our colleagues at Penn State suggest bitter pit can be predicted from the average shoot lengths of the trees, and the ratio of nitrogen to calcium in the fruit peel (Baugher et al., 2017). With the differences in growing conditions between Southern Pennsylvania and Eastern NY, it is difficult to determine if these variables are as good of predictors in our region.  Results from our 2016 and 2017 survey study have not suggested a relationship between shoot extension and bitter pit incidence in the Eastern New York Region.  We are developing a prediction model based on pre-harvest peel mineral analysis along with additional factors that we've identified from our database of 36 Honeycrisp orchard sites in 2016 and 2017.  Our work continues in 2018 to determine which orchard conditions may best predict bitter pit in Eastern NY. 

Non-mineral tests are also being developed, as mineral tests require peeling fruit and sending them to a mineral analysis lab before bitter pit can be predicted. In the current test, fruit are sampled three weeks prior to commercial harvest, and then left out at 68°F to see if bitter pit symptoms develop (Shoffe et al., 2018).  These trials are continuing in the Hudson Valley this season, and are being expanded to Champlain Valley orchards.  For 2018, both of our experimental prediction methods, mineral and non-mineral, are predicting a serious bitter pit problem for Honeycrisp held in storage this year, on par with the losses experienced in 2016.  Please keep in mind that these prediction methods are still in the developmental phase, and may not be completely reliable.

Honeycrisp is also at risk of CO2 injury if stored in CA storage. Conditioning and DPA can reduce CO2 injury. Storing in air for one month prior to CA storage will also reduce injury, but can lead to more bitter pit and fruit greasiness. To combat this problem in the Hudson Valley, consider conditioning for seven days at 50°F, then reduce to 38°F for a month in air, and then store in CA.

NY-1 and NY-2

NY-1 is susceptible to low temperature disorders, and should be stored at 38°F like Honeycrisp. NY-1 is susceptible to CO2 injury, greasiness, and stem end flesh browning when put into CA storage.  1-MCP can be used to preserve fruit quality if CA storage and cooling are delayed after picking, however, 1-MCP and DPA have a negligible impact on storage disorders if fruit are quickly cooled and placed into CA storage.   We have observed the development of rounded, sunken black lesions predominantly on the calyx end of a small number of fruits in the Hudson Valley.  These lesions have some characteristics of bitter pit, although they appear to be centered on lenticels.  When held in refrigerated storage until February, these spots are often associated with a yet-unidentified rot, which may be a secondary pathogen such as black rot taking advantage of the already decayed tissue.  Peel mineral analysis of spotted vs. clean NY-1 apples indicates that spotted fruit has substantially lower concentration of calcium in the peel overall, and relatively lower calcium levels in the calyx vs. the stem end of the apple.  These calcium distribution relationships are like those we have observed in Honeycrisp.  More study is planned for 2018, and thankfully the incidence of these spots in commercial NY-1 orchards appears to be low, much less of an issue than bitter pit in Honeycrisp.

Storage quality of NY-2 is highly variable, as there were many storage issues of NY-2 in 2015, but very few in 2016. The factors behind this variability remain unclear, but fruit with water core at harvest are more likely to have poor storage quality.

Gala

Stem end flesh browning (SEFB) continues to be a problem in Gala. After experiments conducted in 2015 and 2016, results suggest pre-harvest Harvista and DCA storage can delay, but not control, stem-end flesh browning. Conditioning for seven days at 50°F may also decrease its incidence.

Standard ReTain rates have little effect on SEFB, and 1-MCP also showed no consistent effects in the trial. The current recommendation for Gala remains short term, standard CA (2% oxygen/2% CO2) storage at 33°F.

McIntosh, Cortland, and Red Delicious: CA with 1-MCP or DCA?

Trials conducted in 2016 compared McIntosh, Cortland, and Red Delicious fruit stored in CA and DCA storage in the Hudson and Champlain valleys. Apples were kept at room temperature for 3 or 10 days prior to being stored for eight months in either CA or DCA storage. Half the fruit were also treated with 1-MCP prior to being put into storage. After eight months, fruit were assessed for CO2 injury and superficial scald.

Champlain Valley results found DCA was the most effective storage treatment for delaying scald of those tested, regardless of if the fruit was treated with 1-MCP. If fruit are going to be in CA storage, 1-MCP will also help reduce the incidence of scald. In addition to differences in the incidence of scald, McIntosh stored in DCA had less CO2 injury than those in CA.  While DCA helped reduce scald and CO2 injury, it did not preserve firmness on the shelf as well as fruit treated with 1-MCP.

In the Hudson Valley, all treatments showed complete control of scald compared to air storage.  Fruit quality was reduced in McIntosh and Cortland when storage was delayed, but the delay had little effect on Delicious. CO2 injury of McIntosh was also significantly reduced when stored in DCA without 1-MCP treatment. DCA improved flesh firmness of McIntosh, but flesh firmness was best preserved when DCA fruit were treated with 1-MCP.  

Citations

Baugher, T.A., R. Marini, J.R. Schupp, and C.B. Watkins. 2017. Prediction of bitter pit in ‘Honeycrisp' apples and best management implications. Hortscience. 52(10):1368-1374.

Shoffe, Y.A., J.F. Nock, and C.B. Watkins. 2018. Non-mineral prediction of bitter pit in ‘Honeycrisp' apples. NYFQ. 26(2):21-23. 




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Upcoming Events

Farm Financial Management Tuesdays - Planning for a Change or Exiting Your Farm Business

November 30, 2021 : Assessing the Financial Ramifications of and Options for Significant Change to Your Farm Business

The inflationary economy is upon us! The huge influx of money into the US economy following the COVID-19 pandemic has manufactured high prices and in turn increased operating costs for farm business thus forcing many businesses into net operating loss situations. Other farms are facing high labor costs or chronic labor shortages.  Some farms have taken on debt loads that make these increased costs unaffordable.  Depending on the stage in the business lifecycle, it may make sense to change enterprises or exit the farming business entirely. 

Join CCE ENYCH Ag Business Educator, Elizabeth Higgins, and CAAHP Ag Business Educator, Dayton Maxwell, for a one-hour program to learn about the financial aspects of changing or exiting a farm business. 

December 7, 2021 : The Family and Emotional Component; Shifting Business Direction and Life After Farming

As farm business enterprises are changed or disbanded, the emotional stress can be tremendous, especially when individuals and family members maintain diminished assurance relative to future security. 

Join Gabriel Gurley and Brenda O'Brien of New York FarmNet for a one-hour program focused on successfully navigating the emotional turmoil of a family farm business transition.

December 14, 2021 : New Venture Creation; Shifting Business Direction and Life After Farming

Change creates opportunity and new opportunities are certain when farm businesses change or end. 

Join Gabriel Gurley of New York FarmNet for a one-hour overview of identifying ways and means to capitalize on new opportunities resulting from farm business transitions.

 

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Remote Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course - Dec 2021

December 8 - December 9, 2021

A grower training course developed by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) that meets the regulatory requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for farms subject to the Produce Safety Rule. All farms are welcome to attend to learn about recommended food safety practices for growing, handling, and storing fresh produce. Course registration fee includes a course manual and certificate of course completion by the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO).

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Tax Management for Beginning and Small Farm Businesses

January 18, 2022

Tax Management for Beginning and Small Farm Businesses.

A one-night virtual meeting for beginning and part-time farmers that provides useful tax information enabling participants to be make better tax decisions for their business.   Federal and state income taxes will be covered. Tax regulations specific to NYS will be covered as well. 


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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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