MSU Fall Flower and Garden Fest 2014 — Presentation on Fruit Crops

Last week, I gave a presentation on Fruit Crops for your Yard at the MSU Fall Flower and Garden Fest that was held in Crystal Springs.  This is a big event, with over 5,000 attendees each year.  You can find more info on this event at this link: Fall Flower and Garden Fest

As for my participation, I presented on some of the common fruit crops that are grown in Mississippi.  Unfortunately, the time is short (45 minutes) and I can’t go into all the details I wish I could.  But I tried to give the basics on several different popular fruit crops.  To access the PDF version of the presentation, click below:

Fruit Crops for your Yard

Mississippi Chill Hour Accumulation

I have previously wrote on the topic of chill hours, but I also get a lot of requests for what the accumulated hours are for the season.  This year I will be posting them on this site on the page entitled Chill Hours (on the right hand side of your screen).  By visiting this page, you will be able to keep up to date on the accumulated chill hours as reported by locations in five counties in Mississippi — Copiah, George, Jones, Lee, and Wayne.  The recordings are reported by volunteers, so they may or may not be available for each week.  In the future I hope to put together data from previous years (at least those I have) and also make them available on the site.

As of today, the first posting is up.  Each recording season runs from October 1 to April 1 of the following year.

Fruit Crops for Mississippi Farmers’ Markets

Yesterday I gave a presentation on “Best Fruit Crops for Mississippi Farmers’ Markets”.  It was part of the “Microfarming – Growing for Farmers’ Markets” workshop put on by Dr. Rick Snyder and others.  You can see more info on the workshop as well as links to other information related to Farmers’ Markets here: http://farmersmarkets.msstate.edu/conference/.

My presentation from the Farmers' Market Workshop

My presentation from the Farmers’ Market Workshop

The full presentation can be accessed here as a PDF file: Fruit Crops for MS Farmers Markets

 

Rust on Pear Trees

This year has been active for pear rust development.  This disease (Gymnosporangium spp.)  requires two host to complete its life cycle — a pear and a juniper.  There are several related species of this disease that also cause Cedar Apple Rust, Pear Trellis Rust, Cedar Quince Rust, and others.  As you can see in the photo below, orange growth occurs on the leaves and fruit.  Later in the summer spores are released and blown by wind to the nearest juniper host.  On junipers the disease appears as a gelatinous mass on the branches that eventually hardens to a brownish colored gall.

Photo courtesy of Allan Whitehead, MSU-ES

What to do about this disease?  Sanitation is very important.  Clean up all infected leaves, fruit, and other plant parts and dispose of them away from the orchard area.  Prune out infected tissue on both pears and junipers.  Some pears and junipers are resistant to this disease, so choose those varieties if considering a new planting.  The only sure way to eliminate the disease is to get rid of one of the hosts — either the pear or the juniper.  Approved fungicides may help, but it will be a constant battle and timing of application will be critically important.

Some good links on rust diseases that show more photos and suggestions on control:

http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/factsheets/documents/pear_rust.html

http://pep.wsu.edu/hortsense/scripts/query/displayProblem.asp?tableName=plant&problemID=802

http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/peartrellis.htm

http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheets/cedar-apple-and-related-rusts

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/cedar-apple-rust-and-gymnosporangium-rusts/

Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Field Day

On March 21, I will be at this field day to talk about fruit varieties and site selection for fruit crops.  To get more info, read below and download the pdf at the link.  Once the field day is over I will post my presentation on this blog.

The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production is hosting a field day on Friday, March 21, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at their demonstration farm near Goodman, MS in Holmes County.  This field day will feature topics on plastic mulching laying and irrigation and construction and production in high tunnels.

Please see the attached flyer for more information and a list of remaining field days for 2014. These monthly “field days” are designed to provide hands-on/on-farm learning opportunities.  The basic idea is to cover issues and topics that you should be dealing with at that particular time. The cost for this event is free, but everyone is asked to pre-register; to RSVP for the March 21st workshop please contact Keith Benson at 601-988-4999 or keithmdp@yahoo.com.

Alliance for Sustainable Ag Field Day

Fruit Crops for North Mississippi

Last week I was in Verona and gave a talk on Fruit Crops for North Mississippi at the Northern Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association annual conference.  The weather was cold, but the crowd inside was good.  Lots of interest and excitement about all kinds of fruit and vegetable related topics.  Below is a photo of Dr. Blake Layton, MSU Extension Entomologist, addressing the crowd.

Dr. Layton at the NMSFVGA meeting in Verona

Dr. Layton at the NMSFVGA meeting in Verona

Although I didn’t get a photo with me speaking (should I have done a selfie?) my presentation is available for download at the link below as a PDF.

Fruit Crops for Northern MS 2014

UPDATE:  After posting this I was chastised by Dr. John Clark at the University of Arkansas for not listing the UA peach and nectarine varieties.  My reply was that they were untested in N. MS so I didn’t know for sure how they would perform.  He thought they would do well in that area.  So, this link: http://www.aragriculture.org/horticulture/fruits_nuts/nectarine_peach/default.htm will describe them and offer nurseries where to obtain them.

Center for Crop Diversification

This past weekend I was at the Southern Region – American Society for Horticultural Science meeting in Dallas.  At the meeting there were lots of great presentations.  One poster I saw was about the Center for Crop Diversification at the University of Kentucky.  They describe themselves as:

“The Center for Crop Diversification (formerly Crop Diversification & Biofuel Research & Education Center) offers printed and electronic resources on a variety of crops and marketing channels. Funding from The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund will allow for expansion of the Center’s Web-based marketing and production resources. Funds will be used to develop online podcasts, webinars, video training, expanded price reports and new publications to meet the high demand for crop diversification information.

The Crop Diversification & Biofuel Research & Education Center (CDBREC) coordinated multi-disciplinary teams of faculty, staff and students to research and set guidelines for producing and marketing selected crops at a profit. The Center was funded by a Special Research Grant from the USDA from July 1, 2000, to June 30, 2013.”

There is a ton of information on this site (http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CCD/welcome.html) about all kinds of crops.  They also have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CenterforCropDiversification).

I especially like the Crop Resources section (http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CCD/othercrops.html) and the Crop Profiles section (http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CCD/intro.html).

Take a look and see if you can find a new crop to grow.  One of the beauties of agriculture is diversity and this site helps find a (perhaps unusual) crop that speaks directly to you.

Fruit Problems Reported in Mississippi 2013

Each year the MSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic compiles a list of diseases/insects/disorders they see during the year.  Below are those that were seen in 2013.  You can access the entire list here:

http://msucares.com/lab/2013list.pdf

The general format of the list shows the common name for the disease, followed by the scientific name of the pathogen, followed by a number in parentheses that indicates the number of times this problem was diagnosed in the lab.

Apple (Malus x domestica)
• Abiotic (1)
• Abiotic (Captan Injury Suspected) (1)

Blackberry (Rubus sp.)
• Canker (Coniothyrium sp.) (1) on ‘Arapaho’
• Yellow Vein Virus Disease Complex (1)

Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.)
• Abiotic (Pot Bound) (1)
• Abiotic (Iron Deficiency) (1) • Abiotic (Potassium Deficiency Suspected) (1)
• Anthracnose (Gloeosporium sp.) (1)
• Leaf Rust (Naohidemyces vaccinii formerly Pucciniastrum vaccinii) (1)
• Powdery Mildew (1)
• Insects (2)
• Sooty Mold (1)

Citrus (Citrus sp.)
• Insect Injury Suspected (1)
• Magnesium Deficiency Suspected (1)

Fig, Common (Ficus carica)
• Aerial Blight (Rhizoctonia solani) (2)
• Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) (2)
• Fig Mosaic Virus (1)
• Pink Limb Rot (Corticum salmonicolor) (1)
• Root-knot Nematode (Meloidogyne sp.) (1)

Hickory (Carya sp.)
• Gnomonia Leaf Spot (Gnomonia caryae) (1)
• Sooty Mold (1)

Jujube (Ziziphus jujube)
• Leaf Spot (Cercospora sp.) (3)

Lemon (Citrus limon)
• Inadequate Sample (1)
• Insects (Scale) (1)

Mayhaw (Crataegus aestivalis)
• Quince Rust (Gymnosporangium clavipes) (1)

Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia)
• Abiotic (Magnesium Deficiency Suspected) (1)
• Jelly Fungus Suspected (Tremallales sp. ) (1)

Nectarine (Prunus persica)
• Abiotic (Excessive Water) (1)

Peach (Prunus persica)
• Abiotic (Excessive Soil Moisture) (1)
• Bacterial Shot Hole (Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni) (4)
• Brown Rot (Monilinia fructicola) (1)
• Canker (Botryosphaeria sp.) (1)
• Root Rot (Armillaria sp.) (1)

Pear (Pyrus sp.)
• Leaf Spot (Cercospora sp.) (1)
• Fabrae Leaf Spot (Entomosporium sp.) (1)
• Quince Rust (Gymnosporangium clavipes) (1)

Pear (Pyrus communis)
• Abiotic (Magnesium deficiency suspected) (1)

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
• Abiotic (Kernel Fuzz) (1)
• Conk (Fomes fomentarius) (1)
• Insect (Pecan phylloxera) (1)
• Pecan Scab (Fusicladium effusum) (2)

Persimmon (Diospyros kaki)
• Abiotic (unknown) (1)

Satsuma (Citrus reticulata)
• Abiotic (Fruit Puffing)
• Abiotic (Magnesium deficiency suspected) (1)
• Insect Injury Suspected (possibly leaf footed bug) (1)
• Melanose suspected (Diaporthe citri) (1)

Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa)
• Abiotic (Glyphosate Injury) (1)
• Angular Leaf Spot (Xanthomonas fragariae) (1)
• Crown Rot (Phytophthora sp.) (1)

 

MS Farm to School Trainings 2014

Just a reminder about the upcoming Farm to School Trainings; the first one will be this Friday, January 10 in Jackson, MS.  Growers and School Nutrition Directors are invited to attend!

 

Mississippi Market Ready

Mississippi Market Ready Training is back with a Farm-to-School training. These new trainings will be half-day trainings for producers and nutritionists. This half-day training teaches producers how to sell to schools and teaches schools how to buy from producers. Mississippi Market Ready: Farm-to-School includes an explanation of school programs, GAP and insurance requirements, supply of fresh products, and delivery specifications. Training will conclude with a step-by-step How to Buy Guide and a question and answer panel.

Workshops will begin at 9, but doors will open one hour early for registration and refreshments. Lunch and training materials will be provided. Please register one week in advance to ensure lunch and training materials.Download the flyer.

Training Dates

  • January 10: Jackson, MS Ag & Forestry Museum, Ethnic Building
  • January 24: Hattiesburg, Extension Conference Center
  • February 7: Verona, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center
  • February 21: Cleveland, Bolivar County Extension Conference Center

Presenters

  • Ken Hood, Mississippi State University: Extension Service
  • Paige Manning, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce
  • Priscilla Ammerman, Mississippi Department of Education: Office of Healthy Schools
  • Kevin Riggin, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce

Agenda:

Time

Activity

Speaker

8:30 am   Doors Open for Registration and Refreshments
9:00-9:15 am   Introduction Ken Hood
9:15-9:45 am   School Programs (DoD & Local) Paige Manning & Priscilla Ammerman
9:45-10:15 am   GAP/Quality/Insurance Kevin Riggin
10:15-10:30 am   Break
10:30-11:00 am   Supply/Production/Delivery Ken Hood
11:00-11:30 am   Step-by-Step How to Buy Guide Priscilla Ammerman
11:30-12:00 pm   Lunch
12:00-12:15 pm   Follow-up Ken Hood
12:15-12:45 pm   Question and Answer Panel All Presenters
12:45 pm   Adjourn

 

 

Politics and Agriculture

What do politics and agriculture have to do with each other?  A lot.  And unfortunately not all farmers/growers/producers realize this.  Agriculture is a complex web of connected parts — there are growers, suppliers, researchers, educators, consumers, consultants, etc. that all depend on agriculture.  I’ve met many a grower who just wants to put his/her head down and work hard on their own farm.  I understand that.  Most growers are hard workers who spend a lot of time in their fields, on their tractors, and other tasks that consume a lot of time.  They are probably from farm families that have done the same thing for decades.

But…

The world is different now than it was decades ago.  Agricultural lobbying is very powerful, but not all crops are equally represented.  Plus, powerful commodities in one state may be underrepresented in another.  Thus, the onus really falls on individual growers and state-based grower organizations to make their voice heard in politics.  They must know who the political power players are and get to know them.  They must be vocal about their needs and concerns.  So, how can this help?

I speak from the university side of things, but I have seen the effects of becoming politically active.  Once upon a time (when I worked in Oklahoma) the grape growers organization was a fledgling group without any political influence.  But, in six years time, they went from being an afterthought to gaining legislature to fund research, they met with and made wine for the Governor, and they have raised the reputation of their product (along with many other good works).  Their political savvy helped the OSU program through obtaining more grant funding.  No longer did funders say, “The industry is small and we don’t know how much interest there is in this work”, but rather, “Grapes are an important part of our funding expenditures”.

I see similar things here in Mississippi.  When I first arrived I applied for 2 specialty crop block grants through the MDAC, one for blueberries and one for grapes.  Both were declined.  One comments from the review committee on the blueberry grant said, “…there were concerns that adequate information is currently available for Mississippi blueberry growers”.  Really?  A comment on the grape proposal review said, “…the committee did not know how many growers were interested in grape production.”  Now, of course, there are limited funds to go around, but I believe these proposals would have faired much better if blueberry and grape growers made their needs known to political entities that direct these funds.

The power of a collective voice is substantial.  So, I encourage everyone who is concerned with their business and their industry to become more politically savvy.  Certainly the research, extension, and education done on many crops depends on it.