Western n Edition
Section One of One
February 2012 Volume e6 Number r3
Serving All Aspects of Commercial Horticulture
Greenhouse • Nursery • Garden Center • Fruit & Vegetable • Farm Markets • Landscapers • Christmas
Breaking ground with new biological control methods ~ Page 8
Classifieds 19 Melissa Piper Nelson
Today’s Marketing . . . . . 5
F&B Farm ~ lean, sustainable plant production ~ Page 2
John Deere Gator 825: 4x4
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February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER MIDWEST - Page 29
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True spirit of Christmas embodied in balsam and ribbon Arlington Cemetery. In the true meaning of Christmas, people from all walks of life joined together to honor nearly 100,000 of America’s fallen heroes. The effort, known as Wreaths Across America, was started by Farm
by Tracy Taylor Grondine They say that charity starts at home. And for nearly 15,000 people in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond, that sentiment was wholeheartedly felt in early December as they laid wreaths on graves in
Bureau member Morrill Worcester in 1992. Worcester, who owns a wreath company in Harrington, ME, had extra wreaths at the close of that holiday season and wanted to put them to good use. His idea was to honor
America’s soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery. And, as good deeds are contagious, once word got around about Worcester’s goal, others from the community joined in to make it a reality. A local trucking com-
pany stepped in to transport the wreaths, volunteers gathered to decorate them with red ribbons and even more people joined forces to place them on older graves that were becoming less and less visited.
The newest publication in the Lee Publications, Inc. family of agricultural papers
Wine & Grape
The NEWSPAPER for the wine and grape industry January 2012
Volume 1 Number 1
~ Page 2 Breaux Vineyards Ltd. prunes now for shape, quality and production ~ Page 10
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If your business provides products or services for the grape growers and wine makers, please contact us for information on marketing opportunities to this important segment of agriculture. You can reach us at P.O. Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 or call 800-218-5586 • Fax 518-673-2381 • Email: email@example.com
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 23
Newport Vineyards: Record harvest, grand expansion plans
Wine and Grape Grower will offer features, news and information on growing grapes, and making and selling wines. As readers of Country Folks and Country Folks Grower you know the value of our publications as you run and improve your business. If your current business or future plans include grapes or wine you can now have a publication with those same benefits for that branch of your business. Subscribe today and don’t miss a single issue. If you have friends or family who would be interested please feel free to share with them also.
That was nearly 20 years ago. Today, through the nonprofit 501c3 Worcester formed in 2007 to expand the program, national and state cemeteries also receive Worcester wreaths — nearly 600 locations in the U.S. and beyond. Further, during the annual pilgrimage from Harrington to Arlington, the Wreaths Across America organization makes pit stops at schools, veterans’ organizations and cemeteries to teach, honor and remember. Seeing the police-escorted caravan of tractor trailers transporting the wreaths down the highway is a sight to behold. In 2011, Americans from far and wide came by the busloads, in carpools, by Metro and on foot to Arlington Cemetery. There were so many volunteers wanting to help out that wreaths became scarce. And that’s a good thing. What was even more special was the amount of time people spent at individual gravesites reading the headstones and talking with their children about the sacrifices of those soldiers. Because of the generous donation of wreaths and volunteer manpower, many gravesites are decorated, from those in the older section of the cemetery to those that are but a few months old. And Wreaths Across America is hoping to more than double its number of wreaths in 2012 to ensure more fallen soldiers are remembered during the holiday season. It’s people like Morrill Worcester, who gave something that was so much more than just surplus wreaths, who represent the true spirit of Christmas — that of giving, remembering and honoring. It just happens that sometimes the holiday spirit is made even more special when it’s wrapped in balsam and tied with a red ribbon.
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Wine & Grape Grower offers features, news and information on growing grapes, and making and selling wines. Learn tips on how to start or improve your business.
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RMA announces multi-peril crop insurance expansions, spring sales closing dates SPOKANE, WA — USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announces the crop expansion availability of the Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) for Soybeans, Green Peas and Processing Beans for Pacific Northwest producers. The 2012 crop program expansions and MPCI changes include: • Podded Peas under the Green Pea policy are now insurable in
Bannock, Bonneville and Jerome counties, Idaho; • Green Garbanzo type is now insurable under the Processing Bean policy in Walla Walla County; and • Soybean MPCI availability has been expanded to Umatilla County, OR. and Walla Walla County, WA. “These expansions were made as a result of working closely with regional commodity groups and growers to
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Most spring crops acreage reporting dates were changed to July 15 to match Farm Service Agency Dates; and • 80 and 85 percent coverage levels are now available for corn (and the new soybean counties). RMA reminds producers of the important link between Federal crop insurance and Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster programs. For non-insurable crops, a producer may buy coverage under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program by the closing date. For further information about timetables, please contact the local FSA County Office. RMA encourages growers to contact their crop insurance agent by the sales closing dates to learn how MPCI protection might enhance their current year’s risk management decisions. Insurance coverage for soybeans and other crops outside the approved counties is potentially available if a request for a “written agreement” is submitted through a producer’s crop insurance agent by the sales closing date and certain qualification requirements are met. Federal crop insurance program policies are sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance companies and agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers throughout the United States or on the RMA Web site at www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents.
Veterans wanted down on the farm by Karen Ross, California Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the U.S. secretary of agriculture, said recently our country will need 100,000 new farmers over the next several years to maintain agriculture at its current level. Factor in the average age of existing farmers — they’re pushing 60 — and a rapidly growing world population that must be fed, and it’s clear there will be many, many opportunities for young and new farmers in the years ahead. Elsewhere, there is a deep labor pool returning
to the U.S. from abroad. American military veterans, who have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we all enjoy, come home ready to resume civilian life and make a difference in their local communities. As we prepare to observe Veterans Day and show our appreciation for these heroes, let’s also work to show them opportunities in agriculture. The Farmers-Veterans Coalition, based in Davis, is finding that veterans, after years spent in the rigors of military service, possess a unique
Aluminum ladders for agriculture...
STOKES LADDERS 6061-T6 structure aluminum Straight and Tripod - All sizes
Contact (800) 218-5586 email@example.com
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skill set for the farm. The coalition believes that food production offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits. I couldn’t agree more. There are already success stories out there. Veterans like Kevin Archipley of Escondido are now farmers. Archipley’s operation, Archi’s Acres, not only produces basil, lettuce and other vegetables for customers like Whole Foods Market, but also has created the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program as a transition opportunity for veterans. The Farmers-Veterans Coalition has a goal to assist 10,000 veterans through training, mentorship, and direct assistance — working with partners like Archi’s Acres. We wish them all the success in the world. We need their success. Source: Planting Seeds, Food & Farming News from the CDFA
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 21
To Reach The Buyers You Need Regional or Coast to Coast
ensure our programs best fit the needs of our producers” said Dave Paul, Regional Director of RMA’s Spokane Regional Office. Current Pacific Northwest policyholders and uninsured growers must make all of their decisions on crop insurance coverage by the upcoming regional sales closing dates: • Jan. 31: Final date to obtain or change AGR insurance in select counties in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Final date to submit required documents to continue or change 2012 AGR-Lite insurance for existing policy holders in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington; • Feb. 1: Final date to obtain or change crop insurance coverage for 2012 Spring Planted Onions in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and Cabbage in Oregon and Washington.; and • March 15: Final date to obtain or change all other spring seeded MPCI (excluding wheat in counties with fall and spring planted types). Final date to obtain 2012 AGR-Lite insurance for new application/enrollment policies in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. A few additional notes of importance: • Changes to the billing dates for federal crop insurance policies, effective for 2012 crop year. Most billing dates were moved up to Aug. 15; • Changes to the Acreage Reporting dates for Federal crop insurance policies, effective for 2012 crop year.
Country Folks Grower Classifieds
( 800 ) 836-2888 PO Box 121, 6113 State Hwy. 5 ( ) Fax: 518 673-2381 Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Sprayers
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Fruit and Vegetable Sprayers • Mosquito (West Nile), fly & tick control! • Fruit & vegetable applications: sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, melons & small orchards
Page 20 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
High Performance PTO & Engine Driven Mist Sprayers, Blowers, Foggers, Parts & Accessories
IN - For you MasterCard,Visa, 2. FAX IT American Express or Discover customers... Fill out the form attached completely and fax to Peggy at (518) 673-2381
Spray Under Trees...Roadside Ditches... Forestry Weed & Pest Control...
3 Pt Terminator
ATV Narrow Row Crop Self-Contained Sprayer
A1 Mist Sprayers Resources 877-924-2474 Email email@example.com • More Info Also At: www.mistsprayers.com
PRECISION PLANTER for planting seeds through plastic. The Poly Planter Does It All, www.ferrisfarm.net
Calendar of Events E-mail announcements of your regional event(s) to: firstname.lastname@example.org We must receive your information, plus a contact phone number, prior to the deadline that’s noted under the Announcements heading on the 1st page of these Grower Classifieds. *** FEB 10-16 2012 NAFDMA Williamsburg Convention Williamsburg Marriott, Williamsburg, VA. This School on Wheels is a popular feature of the NAFDMA convention. The tour will begin on Feb. 10 in Williamsburg, VA and will then spend the next three days traveling to farm direct marketing and agri-tourism locations throughout Virginia. Call 416-207-1561. On Internet at www.nafdma.com/VA2012 FEB 14-16 45th Annual World Ag Expo International Agri-Center, 4450 South Laspina St., Tulare, CA. The Expo is the largest annual agricultural show of its kind with 1,600 exhibitors displaying cutting edge agricultural technology and equipment on 2.6 million square feet of show grounds. On Internet at www.WorldAgExpo.com
FEB 15 WGGA Annual Conference & Trade Show Ramkota Best Western, Casper, Wyoming. Call 307234-7583. MAR 4-6 California Small Farm Conference Hyatt Regency Valencia, Santa Clarita Convention Center. The state’s premier gathering of small farmers, agricultural students, farmers’ market managers and others involved in the small farm industry. The three day educational conference includes day long short courses and on farm tours; (one of the short courses is an agritourism tour.) focused workshops; engaging keynote addresses and numerous networking opportunities. On Internet at www.californiafarmconference.com
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Country Folks Grower Classifieds
( 800 ) 836-2888 PO Box 121, 6113 State Hwy. 5 ( ) Fax: 518 673-2381 Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Announcements
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or email email@example.com Announcements # # # # #
Number / Classification 35 Announcements 50 Applicators 80 Auctions 110 Bedding Plants 120 Bees-Beekeeping 130 Bird Control 155 Building Materials/ Supplies 165 Business Opportunities 210 Christmas Trees 235 Computers 330 Custom Services 415 Employment Wanted 440 Farm Machinery For Sale 445 F a r m M a c h i n e r y Wanted 470 Financial Services 500 For Sale 505 Forklifts 510 Fresh Produce, Nursery 515 Fruit Processing Eq. 530 Garden Supplies 535 Generators 570 G r e e n h o u s e Plugs/Cuttings 575 Greenhouse Supplies 580 Groundcover 605 Heating 610 Help Wanted 680 Irrigation 700 Lawn & Garden 805 Miscellaneous 820 Nurseries 840 Nursery Supplies 855 Orchard Supplies 910 Plants 950 Real Estate For Sale 955 Real Estate Wanted 1035 Seeds & Nursery 1040 Services Offered 1130 Tractors 1135 Tra c t o r s, Pa r t s & Repair 1140 Trailers 1155 Tree Moving Services 1165 Trees 1170 Truck Parts & Equipment 1180 Trucks 1190 Vegetable 1205 Wanted
V E G E TA B L E C R O P MACHINERY CATALOG from tillage to harvest. The most complete mail order machinery catalog for vegetable growers. New/Used. Shipped Direct. Market Farm Implement, Inc., 257 Fawn Hollow Road, Friedens, PA 15541. 814-4431931 www.marketfarm.com
Fruits & Berries
Greenhouse Equipment GREENHOUSE: 84,000SqFt. IBG Arch II structure for sale, gutter connected, disassembled & ready for shipping, 303-915-8589 (Colorado). For photo’s firstname.lastname@example.org
AMERICAN WHOLESALE CO.
NEW/USED WALK-IN-COOLER ~ FREEZER BOXES ~ REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS ~ EQUIPMENT Large Inventory ~ All Sizes • Buy • Sell ~ Nationwide • Wholesale Prices
Phone: (216) 426-8882 • www.awrco.com
Fruits & Berries
Announcements CHECK YOUR AD - ADVERTISERS should check their ads. Lee Publications, Inc. shall not be liable for typographical, or errors in publication except to the extent of the cost of the first months insertion of the ad, and shall also not be liable for damages due to failure to publish an ad. Adjustment for errors is limited to the cost of that portion of the ad wherein the error occurred. Report any errors to Peg Patrei at 518-6733237 ext. 111 or 800-8362888.
A R B O RV I TA E E m e r a l d Green, approx. $1.00 per foot, healthy plants, balled, 4’-8’. Salem,OR 503-932-2396
V I S S E E D C O M PA N Y: Specializing in flower seeds from around the world. Seeds, plugs, cuttings. Offering the best annual, perennial, vegetable & herb seeds. Celebrating 25 years! Contact us for a current catalog. PO Box 661953, Arcadia, CA 91066. (P) 626-4451233, (F) 626-445-3779, email@example.com, www.visseed.com
WHOLESALE NURSERY STOCK: 6-7’ Deodora Cedar $24, 4-5’ Colorado Blue Spruce $20, 18-24” Mugo Pine $10, 5-6’ Austrian Pine $25, 24-30” Otto Luyken $12, All nice B&B, Visa/ Mastercharge, 503-380-1531
NEED BUSINESS CARDS? Full color glossy, heavy stock. 250 ($45.00); 500 ($65.00); 1,000 ($75.00). Call your representative or Lee Publications 518-673-0101 Beth firstname.lastname@example.org
Rainbow Valley Seeds Hybrid Ornamental Corn Seed
Douglas & Charlene Woodruff email@example.com Quality Seed for Quality Customers
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Christmas Trees PLAN AHEAD: 10K Grand Fir 5-9 ft., $2.00 each. Salem,OR 503-932-2396
To place a Classified Ad
Fruits & Berries
Fruits & Berries
WHOLESALE NURSERY, INC. 9555 North Gast Road, P.O. Box 116 - Bridgman, Michigan 49106 Phone: 269-465-5522 Fax: 269-465-4822
WHOLESALE GROWERS OF QUALITY SMALL FRUIT PLANTS BLUEBERRIES ARE OUR SPECIALTY
Grapevines Blueberries Jostaberries Gooseberries
Red Raspberries Purple Raspberries Yellow Raspberries Black Raspberries
Black Currants Red Currants White Currants Asparagus
www.kriegersnursery.com ALL STOCK GRADED TO AAN STANDARDS
Knowledge of the industry a must. Articles could include educational topics as well as feature articles. Please send resume to Joan Kark-Wren firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-673-0141
www. equipmentexplorer. com Search All of our Auction and Used Equipment Ads at One Time! Auction & Used Equipment Ads From:
• Country Folks • Country Folks Grower • Hard Hat News • North American Quarry News • Waste Handling Equipment News are combined into our searchable database
www. equipmentexplorer. com
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 19
Get the best response from your advertisements by including the condition, age, price and best calling hours. Also we always recommend insertion for at least 2 times for maximum benefits. Call Peg at 1-800-836-2888
Farm Machinery For Sale
A1 Mist Sprayers introduces new model for narrow crop applications PONCA, NE — A1 Mist Sprayers Resources Inc., a worldwide provider of Mist Sprayers to the Agricultural Marketplace, has announced the addition of the Self Contained ATV-All Terrain Trailer Mounted- Mist/Air Blast Sprayer Product Line for use in narrow spraying applications in orchards, vineyards, container stock, green houses, Christmas trees and other row crop applications. “We recognized that many producers have very tight growing operations where they are just not able to use large tractors or vehicles to spray foliar fertilizer, fungicide, insecticides or organic products,” said A1 Mist Sprayers President Steve Nelson. “That’s why we developed the Model ATV-ATT-H-40 ATV-All Terrain Trailer Mounted Mist
Sprayer. It is compact for maneuverability and versatility and can be used in all working conditions along with an ATV, small tractor, lawn tractor or utility vehicle. We are very confident that it will live up to the expectations of our future customers.” The Model ATV-ATT-H-40 ATV-All Terrain Trailer Mounted Mist Sprayer features: • A heavy duty iron coat paint main frame skid package with pre-punched frame- fork lift compatible (patent pending), and lift handles; • A 9 1/2 HP electric start Honda engine with four quart gas tank (battery not included); • Control box with 10-foot cable for electric start/on/off, variable engine speed, fan rollover and liquid flow
control; • Huck riveted fan with safety rings and electric 210 degree fan roll-over; • Four-nozzle round Cannon Volute® - spray out to 100 feet; • Nine-nozzle vertical vineyard - Orchard Volute - spray out to 45 feet; • 40 gallon poly tank (60 gallon optional) with tank drain; • Four roller pump, hydro-jet agitation, liquid pressure gauge for better accuracy, complete plumbing accessories and pistol grip hand gun kit with 25-foot hose; • Includes an all terrain trailer With 4,000 lb. axles, 10 Inch rims and 205/85-10 flotation tires (Highway Ready); and • 10 year main frame warranty and three year warranty on all moving
parts (mist sprayer only). “Mist sprayers are more eco-friendly than other spraying methods because they produce a more uniform droplet pattern and the operator can control the spray direction and distance, while using less active product and water and get outstanding coverage and results,” Nelson added. A1 Mist Sprayers Resources Inc. produces a full line of engine driven and tractor mounted PTO driven mist sprayers. A1 Mist Sprayers Resources Inc. Mist Sprayers Resources Inc. has 35 years experience in mist sprayer manufacturing and sales. For more information, go to the A1 Mist Sprayers Resources Inc. website, www.mistsprayers.com or call toll free, 877-9242474.
Page 18 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
OFA and ANLA forming joint veture to serve members OFA — The Association of Horticulture Professionals (OFA) and the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) are responding to industry challenges head-on together. The two national organizations are expanding on previous collaborations and forming a joint venture that involves sharing resources, including appropriate staff, to expand the capacity of the organizations to better support their members and advocate the horticultural industry’s interests before government and the general public. The joint venture was announced Jan. 5 by OFA President Michael McCabe in an open letter to OFA members and supporters. McCabe is also the owner of McCabe’ s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, IN. “The multi-faceted horticulture industry is undergoing dramatic changes. Economic strains, generational differences and the changing interest in and need for gardening and landscape products are altering the way our products and services are valued by consumers,” McCabe wrote. “Governmental activity and inactivity, financial uncertainty and environmental changes are altering the way plants are being produced, bought and sold.”
The letter continues: “Our volunteer leaders have been considering how to best address these issues. In light of future opportunities and threats in this quickly changing environment, one solution is for trade associations to work together to build the capacity and governance structures to properly serve their members and the industry. We Are Listening to You Recent research conducted by OFA indicates that both OFA and ANLA members want their industry association to be all encompassing — one that touches and links all pieces of the horticulture industry together in a comprehensive manner to assist in the growth of the industry. The research also indicates that members feel very strongly that the associations should be attracting the next generation of the horticulture profession; actively pursuing market development and promotion; pursuing advocacy and legislative issues; becoming more involved in regulatory issues; more involvement in business management and technical/product education; and conducting trade shows. It is very clear that the joint venture is the right thing to do. An Expanded Partnership The joint venture between our
organizations will: • Further increase participation in advocacy efforts; • Further expand and offer more robust educational programs; • Widen the outreach to consumers; • Nurture commerce opportunities in order to connect more industry buyers and sellers; • Enhance support for research and higher education; and • Unite our thousands of member companies to create a stronger voice and vision for the industry. This is not a merger, but in several years, if both organizations see the joint venture as a value to our members and further collaboration will better serve you and the industry, the intention is to form a new, single premier horticulture organization serving North America. Working together, we will repre-
sent the whole of the ornamental plant industry, including greenhouse growers, nurseries, breeders, distributors, retailers, interior, and exterior landscape professionals, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers and all those who work in the plant supply chain. The combined 215 years of leadership, service, knowledge and history will result in a more robust experience for our members and ensure the vitality of the horticulture industry.” “I hope you find this to be an exciting opportunity for your business and your association. We value your input and will keep you informed on the progress of the joint venture. Thank you for your continued support of OFA. More information can be found by reading our FAQs document,” the letter concludes.
Systems approach guide helps nurseries produce healthy plants WILSONVILLE, OR — Pests and pathogens are a threat to plant production no matter which processes are used, but some processes are much better and more efficient than others. The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) has published the “Safe Procurement and Production Manual,” a 96page guide to producing healthy nursery stock by using a systems approach. The full-color book is available in a convenient, lay-flat printed version, as well as a PDF download. Copies were distributed at the recent Farwest Show in
Portland, OR, which is the second-largest wholesale nursery trade show in the United States. The book was well received by growers in attendance. “As you go through the chapters of this book, the systems approach is laid out in a step-by-step process,” said Jerry Simnitt, OAN President and owner of Simnitt Nursery. “Any nursery following these steps will reduce their risk of infestation or damage due to pests and pathogens. This will help us maintain access to national and international markets.” This easy-to-follow
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gists and industry leaders, all based in the Pacific Northwest. It continues the region’s proactive leadership role in dealing with plant pest and disease issues. Contributing authors include Oregon State University plant pathologists John Griesbach and Jennifer Parke, Washington State University plant pathologist
Gary Chastagner, and USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Niklaus Grunwald. To download the PDF version of the “Safe Procurement and Production Manual,” log on to www.oan.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&sub articlenbr=861. Printed versions are available free, while supplies last, by calling the
OAN at 503-682-5089 or 800-342-6401, or visit the OAN office at 29751 SW Town Center Loop West, Wilsonville, OR 97070. The project was funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (grant number OAN-ODA-2751-GR), through the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Sonoma Farm Bureau offers safety workshops for workers SANTA ROSA, CA — A series of safety training workshops for agricultural and related industry workers will be held in February and
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March at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 970 Piner Road in Santa Rosa. The workshops will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 and 16 and March 14 and 15. The workshop on March 15 will be conducted in English. The other workshops will be presented in Spanish. The workshops are open to all North Coast workers. Each workshop will cover a range of topics including pruning and pesticide safety training, forklift, tractor/PTO and ATV safety, heat stress and field hygiene. The
workshops include vital information on respirator regulations and medical evaluation documentation and the respirator fit test procedure will be available. The cost of the workshop is $75 for members of Sonoma County Farm Bureau and $105 for nonmembers. Advanced registration is required by Feb. 6. Reservations can be made by first downloading the Training Registration Form.pdf and then contacting Sonoma County Farm Bureau at 707-5445575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 17
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book helps growers evaluate their own nursery operations and improve their production processes. It contains best practices that are proven to be effective at reducing risks from plant pests and pathogens. Different chapters of the book address the various components of plant production, from propagation to final shipment. “The manual provides the latest pest and pathogen research and phytosanitary strategies,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “It is intended to assist growers in developing a set of practices that emphasize prevention.” The book was written by expert plant patholo-
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New risk management tool available to help producers achieve GAP certification WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, along with leaders from food and agriculture organizations, recently introduced a free online tool to help U.S. producers of all sizes achieve Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) harmonized standards and certification, helping to further expand economic opportunities for American agriculture. USDA’s GAP audit verification program focuses on best agricultural practices to verify that farms are producing, and packers are handling and storing, fruits and vegetables in the safest manner possible to minimize food safety hazards. The free online tool — developed by FamilyFarmed.org with funding from
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) — helps farmers design a customized manual to meet GAP harmonized standards and certification requirements, including USDA GAP standards and mitigate business risks by answering just a few questions. “USDA believes that a strong farm safety net — including effective, market-based risk solutions for producers of all variety and size — is crucial to sustain the vitality of American agriculture,” said Merrigan. “Effectively managing risk is important to all producers, and having an acceptable food safety program is in the best interest of consumers, buyers, and the farmers themselves. USDA is proud to have worked with private, public and non-profit
partners to introduce this free tool to farmers seeking to gain certification as a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) producer.” The online tool, part of FamilyFarmed.org’s On-Farm Food Safety Project, is the first of its kind and was developed by a broad coalition of farm and produce industry partners. It is available at www.onfar mfoodsafety.org/ USDA’s GAP audit verification program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), focuses on best agricultural practices to verify that farms are producing fruits and vegetables in the safest manner possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. USDA’s voluntary audit based program verifies adherence to
Farmers must learn to talk consumers’ language People are talking about food, and farmers and ranchers need to take the lead in the conversation, Melissa Kinch and Keith Yazmir, members of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance’s communications team, told attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting. Opening a dialogue with consumers is an opportunity for farmers and ranchers to restore and build on the public’s trust in how food is grown and raised. “You can’t build trust if you can’t have a conversation,” according to Kinch, senior vice president of Ketchum Communications. Kinch and Yazmir outlined four steps that will help farmers and ranchers move out of combat mode and have a constructive conversation about what they do and why they do it. The four steps are engage, acknowledge, share and earn trust, or E.A.S.E. Growers should start by engaging the people around them. Ask a fellow traveler at the airport, “Where are you headed?” Tread lightly, find common ground and steer the conversation toward food. Next, acknowledge peoples’ worries about the food they’re feeding their families, but don’t take on the persona of a professor whose task it
is to educate. “A farmer’s and rancher’s job is to answer those legitimate questions with truthful, transparent answers,” Kinch explained. One of the best ways growers can do that is by sharing what they do on their farms and ranches. Addressing consumers’ real concerns will go a long way in earning their trust. In talking about what they do, farmers and ranchers need to recognize that there is always room for improvement, stressed Yazmir, a partner at Maslansky Luntz & Partners. Discussing the future creates a space of shared interest, he said. More than being willing to have a conversation, growers need to be ready and able to use words consumers can embrace. The typical agriculture vocabulary is full of landmines, Yazmir and Kinch cautioned. “We need to move away from the language of our industry and toward the language of the benefits of what we’re doing,” Yazmir said. For example, rather than using the term “GMOs,” talk about seeds that grow stronger, and are more resilient, and better tasting crops. USFRA is a newly created alliance of prominent farmer- and rancherled organizations, including AFBF, and agricultural partners.
the recommendations made in the Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. To generate a food safety plan using the tool, the user must answer a series of questions on topics including worker health and hygiene, agricultural water, previous land use, soil amendments and manure, animals and pest control, packinghouse activities, product transportation, agricultural chemicals, and field harvesting. In addition to helping farmers create a food safety plan, the tool offers farmers a full-set of record keeping templates to document their food safety efforts as well as useful food safety resources. Once users have completed their farm’s food safety plan and compiled necessary documentation, they have the capacity to apply for GAP food safety certification, a
process asked for by many larger buyers. Large buyers including Compass Group, SYSCO, and Chipotle Mexican Grill supported the project financially and with technical assistance. Groups that participated in the development and review of the tool include: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Compass Group, Earthbound Farm, Farm Aid, FDA, NSF Agriculture, Produce Marketing Association, SYSCO, The Organic Center, Western Growers, Wallace Center at Winrock International, Wild Farm Alliance, University of California at Davis, United Fresh Produce Association, and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s leadership, has worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, implement the Farm Bill, maintain a strong farm safety net,
and create opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its best years in decades thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers. Today, net farm income is at record levels while debt has been cut in half since the 1980s. Overall, American agriculture supports one in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 86 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. The Obama Administration has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels in 2011 and beyond. Strong agricultural exports are a positive contribution to the U.S. trade balance, support more than 1 million American jobs and boost economic growth.
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This winter, women farmers in Washington state will have the unique opportunity to participate in an agricultural workshop offering inspirational stories, practical advice on how to improve their management skills and networking opportunities with other women entrepreneurs. The Women in Agriculture conference will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, and will broadcast two engaging speakers to 16 different locations throughout the state. The new localized format of the conference is designed to let farm women benefit from a statewide conference, while still meeting their on-farm duties. “Women are uniquely tasked with the demands of both farm and family, which can make travel to one state location a challenge,” said Margaret Viebrock, WSU Douglas County Extension director and chairwoman of the conference. “This new ap-
proach allows us to offer our headline speakers at all locations, while also making the conference specific to each region.” Keynote speakers will be L yn Garling, owner of Over the Moon Farm, and Rita Emmet, the author of “The Procrastinator’s Handbook.” Garling, a farmer who got started later in life, will speak on being a woman farmer today and how her challenges, inspirations and frustrations have contributed to her success. Emmet will be detailing how to “Blast Away Procrastination” in order to be more successful at work, in relationships and in life. Emmet is a fun, persuasive speaker who argues that procrastination is not a character trait, but simply a habit. Garling and Emmet will be joined by local presenters who will talk about their risks and challenges with farming, including how to stay focused, keep current on market
trends, the latest production methods and financial management. Registration for the conference is $25 and includes a copy of “The Procrastinator’s Handbook,” an opportunity to be listed in the conference brochure to increase networking opportunities and lunch during the event. The deadline to register is Jan. 25 by mail or online. The conference is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the WSU Extension Western Center for Risk Management Education. Women farmers and producers, supporting spouses and aspiring farmers are encouraged to attend. Agriculture students and farm interns are also welcome to participate. Website registration is available online at www.womeninag.wsu. edu. To receive a print brochure in the mail, contact Margaret Viebrock at 509-7458531 or firstname.lastname@example.org Those with a disability requiring special accommodations to participate in this program should call WSU Extension at 509-7458531. If accommodation is not requested in advance, availability of accommodation on site cannot be guaranteed.
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 15
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Best to enact new farm bill this year Farmers are better off if members of Congress can agree on a new farm bill this year, according to American Farm Bureau Federation farm policy specialist Mary Kay Thatcher, who spoke at the 2012 Farm Bill issue conference at AFBF’s 93rd Annual Meeting. With Congress unable to agree on much these days and with a shrinking budget to work with, passing a new farm bill could be an uphill climb and get pushed to next year.
Page 14 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
“There is no upside to that,” Thatcher said. “There will be even more budget cuts if that happens. There’s every reason to push it through this year if we can.” Thatcher outlined the political situation surrounding the farm bill, including growing support in Congress for limiting eligibility by capping farmers’ income and increasing use of food stamps and other nutrition programs as the U.S. economy remains sluggish. “The economy will be
a tremendous issue going forward,” said Thatcher, “and one of the reasons it will be difficult to finish a farm bill in 2012.” Nutrition programs already account for about $700 billion — 76 percent — of the farm bill’s total $911 billion in spending over 10 years. In addition, the growing cost of crop insurance premium subsidies, which grew from $4.7 billion in 2010 to $7 billion in 2011, could make them more of a target for cuts.
Thatcher also provided an analysis of how other farm groups’ “shallow-loss” proposals could leave a lot of farmers in dire straits in years of catastrophic farm revenue losses. Most of those proposals would provide support more often but only cover 5 percent to 10 percent of a farmer’s losses. AFBF economist John Anderson provided an explanation of Farm Bureau’s Systemic Risk Reduction Program farm bill proposal, which is designed to protect farm-
ers from catastrophic revenue losses. Proposed SRRP coverage levels would be in the 70 percent to 80 percent range. It would be administered by the Agriculture Department’s Risk Management Agency and operate as a core program with farmers buying crop insurance as “wrap-around” revenue risk protection. One of the most attractive features of the SRRP proposal, according to Anderson, is the impact it would have on lowering farmers’ crop insur-
ance premiums. “As a program that’s integrated with crop insurance, crop insurance premiums could be re-rated to account for the fact that much of the risk is covered elsewhere,” he explained. “That would lower premiums and make buy-up coverage more affordable.” Farm Bureau delegates will set AFBF policy on the farm bill and other issues when they meet Dec. 10. The policies they approve will form AFBF’s agenda for the year.
merous studies show that education about conservation goals can be really helpful in helping people understand these issues and take them on.” Farmers should also consider whether they want to work on those goals quickly (which means more money immediately), or over a given period of time. “We’ve been working on the Chesapeake Bay for over 30 years,” said Shortle. “Some people don’t think we’ve made nearly enough progress, and they want to speed up that progress quite a bit. If you’re going to speed it up, you’re going to spend more money. How much do you want to accomplish in any one conservation objective? In thinking about controlling nutrient pollution how deep do we need to cut?” Shortle says that we need to think about other ways to create effective conservation programs. “The Farm Bill might not do the things it used to do — what other resources can we utilize?” he said. “As resources shrink, we have to be partners with people that we didn’t used to partner with — we have to begin to leverage resources.” One example of such cooperation is American
Farmland Trust putting money into best management practices in Pennsylvania. Should financial assistance programs be activity or performance based? “Performance programs ask what is the goal we want to achieve, then base payments on that goal,” said Shortle. “In general, performancebasing is viewed as good idea, but often, programs are based not on performance but on activities undertaken. For exam-
ple, EQIP is a collection of formulas for adoption of specific practices, usually BMPs. If you’re going to reward performance, you have to be able to measure it. Some incentive programs are fixed-payment: the farmer knows how much he will receive for certain activities completed. A new approach, which is used in the CRP, is competitive bidding, which you don’t know what you’re going to get. You submit a bid,
and if it’s accepted, you know what you’re going to get.” Competitive bidding requires more effort from the farmer — a fixed payment program is easier — but competitive bidding saves the government money. Shortle urges farmers to consider the conservation accomplishments of various programs as well as
benefits and costs to farmers, consumers and farm input suppliers. However, these programs also serve consumers, so it’s important to consider how these programs provide benefits beyond the agricultural community — making the case for public money ultimately helps demonstrate good stewardship.
succeed, but we will be looking at a shrinking budget for conservation programs.” In order to maintain programs, Shortle says that it’s time to start thinking about how to get the best use from our money. “The Farm Bill has a range of interest groups that have interest in specific program components, and they would all like to have those components stay and grow, but they’re not — they’re going to change. The changes will make be designed to make better use of our money.” Shortle explained that ‘targeting’ is directing money to address specific problems in specific places to get the most out of that money without spreading it too thin. “Targeting has been a bad word because everyone wants some of the money,” he said. “Look at programs like CRP and EQIP — there are a lot of people who want that money and can’t get it.” As far as implementation of programs, Shortle says that the targets should be naming priorities and goals, and how to reach those targets. “What mix of education, technical assistance and financial assistance do we need?” he said. “Nu-
Upcoming Farm Bill challenges ~ conservation title by Sally Colby The 2012 Farm Bill, the legislation that sets government farm and food policy, is currently on the table. Although there is already considerable controversy about proposed changes, farmers have an opportunity to express their views and make suggestions about how to best use funds. “The Farm Bill has been very evolutionary,” said Jim Shortle, professor of ag and environmental economics at Penn State University. “We have taken the basic structure and changed it over time to serve a broader set of purposes. Environmen-
tal aspects have expanded, beginning in the 1980s.” Although most of the money allocated in the Farm Bill goes into nutrition and commodity programs, farmers are interested in other aspects of the legislation, including conservation programs. During an open discussion focused on the conservation title portion of the Farm Bill, Shortle stated that farmers are most interested in programs related to soil quality, water quality and wildlife habitat. He pointed out that conservation programs fall under technical assistance programs, which help people figure out
how to do things, and voluntary financial assistance programs, which help them pay for those things. “Those programs are broadly categorized as land retirement programs,” he said, “with CRP being the number one. Those programs entail switching land from crop production into other non-intensive uses that are viewed as being good for the environment.” Land retirement programs tend to be used by smaller farms, while working lands programs are used by large farms. The environmental quality incentives program, or EQIP, helps
Farm Bill conservation programs such as CRP provide landowners with funding to plant trees that help maintain waterway boundaries and control erosion. Wildlife habitat is enhanced, especially with the use of duck nesting boxes such as the one in this CRP area. Photo by Sally Colby
under the existing revenue structure will cover only the cost of entitlements and interest. “All of the things you might think of as really important functions of government — defense, conservation, environmental protection — there won’t be money to cover it,” he
said. “It’s an unsustainable system. It’s not going to work, and we have to change it. There are a lot of people who are fighting to get money into the Farm Bill to do the things it has done in the past, and they may
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 13
farmers with best management practices for soil erosion control, pollution control and other practices. EQIP is the number one working lands program and the second largest program for funding. Shortle says that by the end of this decade, all tax money raised
Page 12 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
Registration opens for OSU’s Feb. 25 small farms conference Author Kristin Kimball will open the daylong Small Far ms Conference Feb. 25. CORVALLIS, OR — Registration has opened for the 12th annual Oregon Small Farms Conference on Feb. 25 at Oregon State University. Kristin Kimball will open the daylong event with a talk about Essex Farm, which she and her husband run in New York. She’ll discuss the evolution of their farm, the advantages and disadvantages of scaling up and the importance of holding on to a clear vision in the face of rapid change. Kimball, a graduate of Harvard University, is the author of “The Dirty Life,” a memoir about her first year farming after abandoning a career as a writer in New York City. The conference will feature 21 workshops on topics that include: • Harvesting rainwater; • Marketing meat products; • Extending the growing season into winter; • Developing a farm business plan; • Attracting customers to farmers markets; • Writing about farming; • Using permaculture on farms; • Grafting vegetables to reduce soil-borne diseases and improve vigor and yield; • Selling products to schools and health care facilities; • Organizing dinner events on farms; • Legislation affecting small farmers who sell condiments at farmers markets; • Advocacy plans for reforming Oregon’s land-use policies to favor agricultural producers; • Resources for
financing farms. The event, one of the flagship educational offerings of the OSU Extension Service’s Small Farms Program, is geared toward farm-
ers, agriculture professionals, food policy advocates and managers of farmers markets. Speakers will include farmers, OSU faculty and representatives
from the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Farmers’ Markets Association. The cost, which includes lunch, is $45
per person or $80 for two people from the same farm or organization through Feb. 15. It rises to $50 per individual on Feb. 16, and will be $55 at the door.
The conference will take place at the LaSells Stewart Center on campus. To register, go to the Small Farms Conference website.
Sustainable practices focus of grape annual convention Washington’s wine industry has grown over 400 percent over the past 12 years. With rapid growth, sustainable management practices are increasingly important to the long term viability of growers and wineries. The 2012 Annual
Meeting of the Washington Wine Grape Growers will focus on educational sessions that address sustainable practices. One session is devoted to unveiling Winerywise, the new online Washington Guide to Sustainable Winemaking
Practices which has been a three year project of volunteers from wineries across the Northwest. The convention, again held in Kennewick, WA at the Three Rivers Convention Center, runs February 7-10, 2012 and
is designed to specifically target the needs of growers, wineries, and marketers. Mythbusting, one of last year’s most popular sessions, examine controversial vineyard and winery practices. This year, the session explores whether high
disease management discussions linking the disease and grape biology with control options and resistance management. This year’s Grand Tasting will focus on Merlot and feature Doug Frost, a Kansas City author who is only one of three in the world who is both a Master Sommelier and a Master of Wine. According to USA Today, “Frost likely knows as much as anyone in the world about how to make, market, serve and identify wines.” The annual GRAPE Political Action Committee friend and fundraising lunch features gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) and Rep. Jay Inslee (D). The event is open to those interested in growing of wine grapes or making of wine. For additional information or to register, visit the WAWGG Web site: www.wawgg.org. World d Famouss Doyle’s Thornlesss Blackberry
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alcohol wines taste better and score higher, with comments from Steve Heimoff, the Wine Editor of Wine Enthusiast. The session will also examine whether lower yields are better for making superior wines, with comments from Nick Dokoozlian, the vice president of viticulture for E&J Gallo Wines. To address the industry’s strong crop of “next generation,” this year’s Professional Development session features acclaimed author and negotiator, Rhonda Hilyer who will present Success Signals, a formalized approach to understanding and interpreting different communication styles, improving relationships and minimizing potential conflict. Vineyard Pests and Diseases will focus on insect management strategies, scouting, and controls from three different grower viewpoints along with
Page 10 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
Tomato, wine byproducts in filters could make cigarettes less toxic Though emphasizing that quitting is the best remedy to combat health problems for smokers, Cornell researchers have found a way to make cigarettes less toxic. Researchers from the lab of Jack H. Freed, the Frank and Robert Laughlin Professor of Physical Chemistry, have demonstrated that lycopene and grape seed extract literally stuffed into a conventional cigarette filter drastically lowers the amount of cancer-causing agents passing through. Their research is published in the Jan. 2 issue of the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). “The implications of
this technique can help reduce the hazardous effects of tobacco smoke,” said Boris Dzikovski, research associate and paper co-author. The Cornell scientists altered filters of normal cigarettes by placing a mixture of grape seed and lycopene treated with activated carbon in the middle. Their experiments focused on gas-phase free radicals, as opposed to other hazardous ingredients such as the solid particles, or tar, contained in cigarettes. A laboratory machine “smoked” the altered cigarettes, along with conventional ones. The smoke was passed through a spin-trap-
ping solution, and electron spin resonance spectroscopy (ESR) was used to record the spectra of trapped radicals in the smoke samples. ESR showed that the grape seed and
agents could be obtained in large quantities, for example, from byproducts of the tomato or wine industries. Scientists have tried to make safer cigarettes in the past.
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lycopene removed, or scavenged, up to 90 percent of the free radicals that would otherwise have passed through the filter. The researchers point out that these scavenging
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Hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in red blood cells, and activated carbon have been shown to reduce free radicals in smoke by up to 90 percent, but because of the cost, the com-
bination has not been introduced to the market. The health hazards associated with free radicals in cigarettes are exacerbated by the fact that cigarette smoke is inhaled in high concentrations, Dzikovski added. Inhaling any smoke, such as second-hand smoke, vehicular pollution or industrial waste, has some potentially damaging effects. “The amount and composition of radicals from different sources can be dramatically different, and the spin-trap-
ping ESR technique is in a unique position to analyze and quantify them,” he said. The research is the 1,500th article published in the JoVE, the only peer -reviewed, PubMed indexed video-journal. Watch the full video article at www.jove.com/video/ 3406/a-protocol-for detecting-and-scavenging-gas-phasefree-radicals-inmainstream-cigarette-smoke. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
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Control from 8 When placed around the base of bee hives — the hive beetle’s preferred breeding ground — the hive beetle larvae fall to the ground and are killed by the nematodes in the surrounding soil. They never have a chance to mature, let alone to infest hives. As cadaver research advanced in recent years, so did the development of more suitable storage and delivery packaging. Accord-
ing to Shapiro-Ilan, this refining process was necessary since soft bodied insects like wax worms have a tendency to stick together or rupture when packed together in a container. “We have developed several mechanisms that enhance the ability to store, ship and use these cadavers including covering soft bodied insect cadavers with a clay coating,” he noted. “Using hard bodies in-
sects like mealworms also works well since they naturally don’t rupture or stick together. And, there is now a special tape covering being used that keeps the cadavers from touching each other to further prevent damage.” The tape system was invented by Perry, GAbased Southeastern Insectaries Inc. owner Louis Tedders. Tedders began packaging the in-
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sects in masking tape. He even designed a prototype machine to automate the process, which has since been fine-tuned by MoralesRamos and Rojas. The mechanical device sorts mealworms by size, enabling the largest worms to be placed into shallow dishes where they are infected by nematodes. Once the nematodes have infected and killed the mealworms, the device removes them oneat-a-time from the dish-
es and places the nematode-encased cadavers between two facing strips of masking tape at the rate of one insect every two seconds. “The tape is then rolled and stored until it is shipped to the growers,” said MoralesRamos. “Once placed into the ground, the nematodes can move out of the tape and into the soil where they eliminate pests.” When another application is needed, growers can simply remove
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Entomologist Juan Morales-Ramos, at left, and insect production worker Matthew McDaniel use a scaleddown prototype of a separator they designed to sort mealworms by size." Photo by Stephen Ausmus
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 9
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the old cadaver wrapped masking tape strips and replace them with new strips. According to MoralesRamos, the mechanization of this process had made commercial production of nematode cadavers cost effective. This mechanized, tapepackaged biological control is currently only available through Southeastern Insectaries. Shapiro-Ilan confirmed the commercial benefits of automating the process. He also summarized the inherent benefits of using this unique form of biological controls. “There are two main reasons that the approach is attractive. The higher levels of infectivity and dispersal we’ve observed in nematodes emerging from cadavers can translate into better pest control,” he said. “And, for producers growing nematodes in their hosts, the cadaver approach can be less expensive because it avoids the steps of harvesting and concentrating the nematodes.” For more information about cadaver-filled nematodes and the use of fire gel as a nematode protectant, contact David Shapiro-Ilan at the Southeastern Fruit & Tree Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, GA, by e-mailing email@example.com a.gov, or call 478-9566444.
Fruits & Veget ables Breaking ground with new biological control methods
Page 8 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
by Kelly Gates While some choose chemicals to control pest populations, an increasing number of growers are turning to natural or biological controls to combat things like hive beetles, root weevils, peachtree borers, lesser peachtree borers, Japanese beetles and fungus gnats, to name a few of the havoc-wreaking bugs
out there. The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has been at the forefront of biological controls research and development. Recently, the group’s own research entomologists partnered with scientists at universities in Georgia, Florida and Virginia and discovered a highly effective method of introducing
Entomologist David Shapiro-Ilan, at left, sprays a gel formulation onto a peach tree limb while technician Wanda Evans prepares the nematode application. The gel is being used to protect beneficial nematodes from damage due to extreme drying and UV radiation. With the protective formulation, the nematodes go to work killing harmful insect pests, such as the lesser peachtree borer. Photo by Peggy Greb
nematodes into fields, orchards, gardens, greenhouses and other growing environments. “Nematodes have been used commercially against pests for many years. In some cases, they have done consistently well, but in other instances the results have been variable,” David Shapiro-Ilan, ARS research entomologist, told Country Folks Grower. “There are several factors that affect the efficacy against target pests, including susceptibility to UV radiation.” Because most growers use nematodes that are suspended in aqueous solutions-sprays that are applied to the soil, trees and plantsthe nematodes are often exposed to UV radiation from the sun. This is why many opt to spray in the evening or early morning. However, despite all efforts to prevent UV exposure, some nematodes do not survive or simply fail to function at peak capacity when left exposed to the elements. To avoid these potential problems, Shapiro-Ilan has worked closely with entomologists Juan
Morales-Ramos and Maria Guadalupe Rojas from the Biological Control of Pests Research Unit, Stoneville, MS, to find a protective coating for nematode spray applications. “Through our research, we realized that a polymer we were using to store nematodes is the main polymer in fire gel. Fire gel is normally used to protect homes from fires,” said Morales-Ramos. “This polymer readily absorbs water and oxygen, making it a great vehicle for enhancing the survival of nematodes.” When sprayed onto tree trunks and branches that have just been sprayed with aqueous nematode solutions, fire gel protects the nematodes from UV radiation and other external elements. As the research entomologists studied fire gel application for exposed surfaces, they also combined efforts to develop new methods of delivering nematodes to infested soils. “One of the methodologies for nematode production is to infect an insect host, such as a wax worm or mealworm, with nematodes.
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The nematodes then reproduce inside of the insect host prior to application,” explained Shapiro-Ilan. “Through our research, we found that leaving the nematodes in the insect cadavers results in a higher success rate of survival and functionality compared with spraying.” There are several reasons why the cadavers work well. For one, hard bodied insect cadavers act as a protective casing for the nematodes during storage and shipping. Second, it is easy to estimate how many nematodes are contained within each cadaver and therefore, how many cadavers are needed for each application. Workers can easily place one or several
nematode-containing insect cadavers into the soil at the base of each tree or plant. “In large scale farming, it would be too laborious to use cadavers. Ensuring that the nematodes spread out enough to cover the entire acreage completely would also be a concern,” advised ShapiroIlan. “In that case, spraying might be more advantageous. But cadavers work very well for smaller fields and orchards or for container growing outdoors or in greenhouses.” Some growers use this unique pest management technique or other approaches with nematodes as a preventive measure against hive beetles, he added.
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Box blight threatens boxwoods wood,” said Ivors. “There weren’t any new records of it until 1997, and then there was a sudden outbreak of disease. This was most likely correlated to weather events.” Now the disease is considered widespread throughout Europe. Box blight is also known as boxwood blight, cylindrocladium box blight, blight disease of boxwood, or boxwood leaf drop. The origin of the pathogen is unknown. “Europe isn’t sure where it came from,” said Ivors. “What is believed to have happened is that after introduction into the U.K., New Zealand found it and it was first reported there in 1998. So we know that the pathogen has moved around to several continents, and it’s now in the U.S.” Ivors says that there’s a lot of confusion with the terminology with regard to genus and species of the pathogen. That’s because two different groups were working on the pathogen at the same time. A researcher in the UK referred to it as cylindrocladium buxicola. Other cylindrocladium species are seen in the horticultural industry, but this species is new, with unique DNA sequencing and morphology. The New Zealand group started to investigate and decided on a different name cylindrocladium psuedonaviculatum. However, for clarity, Ivors prefers to reference the pathogen as c. buxicola. Although the fungus doesn’t kill the plant, it results in blight on the foliage, and affects the appearance and
aesthetics of the plant. “What happens is that the leaves turn brown, then a golden straw-color,” said Ivors. “The leaves will often fall off the plant, but the plant will remain alive for quite some time.” Plant death is more likely to occur after infection from other opportunistic pathogens such as volutella. While container-grown plants don’t usually die from the infection, young seedlings are dramatically affected. “The reason for this is that we propagate seedlings in propagation beds under high humidity,” said Ivors. “this is very conducive for the pathogen, and allows almost complete colonization of the plant.” Box blight doesn’t attack the root system. “What happens is that the spores overwinter in soil, then when the weather is conducive, the spores move up and infect the lower foliage,” said Ivors. “You see a plant that has lost its lower foliage and looks a little top-heavy. You can also see cankers on the edges of the stem which causes necrosis and death of tissue.” A major boxwood die-off occurred in a setting of densely packed containers produced on a hillside, where a lot of runoff flowed downhill to field-grown plants. Ivors noted that the initial diagnosis in North Carolina followed several weeks of heavy rainfall and warm weather. “The pathogen was most likely introduced on a trojan horse; a tolerant variety,” said Ivors. “That created a large scale epidemic, then the boxwood foliage and spores washed down in rainwater to the propagation beds.” Some growers don’t believe they are at risk because they produce boxwoods in-house, but if there are other species that are sensitive to the pathogen, all it takes is one plant to infect the others. “If they’re planted close enough, and splash occurs between English and American species,” said Ivors. “That can start a full-blown infection. I think the growers who are most at risk are collectors.” Ivors noted that the disease has been found in residential landscape plants and in commercial garden centers. “Sharon (Dr. Sharon Douglas, Connecticut Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology) confirmed with us that every landscape location that has been
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 7
by Sally Colby Boxwood is one of five woody evergreens native to England, where it is popular as a landscape plant. It’s also a popular landscape species in North America, where homeowners appreciate its deer-proof qualities. However, a new disease now threatens the boxwood population. Dr. Kelly Ivors, assistant professor and extension specialist, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in North Carolina, says that one of the reasons this emerging disease is an important topic in North Carolina is because the state is one of the top producers of boxwoods. “Not only do we produce it for ornamental purposes,” said Ivors during a recent webinar, “there are a number of counties near the Virginia border that produce tips that are used in Christmas decorations and wreaths.” Boxwood is popular for several reasons, one of which is that it’s deer resistant. “Boxwood propagates easily, grows well in production and transplants readily to the landscape,” said Ivors. “It’s an alternative to Fraser fir production, so we can still use a lot of the same land. It’s a crop that Christmas tree producers like to produce.” Boxwood makes a good wall, hedge or specimen planting. Box blight was first discovered in England during the mid 1990s. “It caused a severe blighting disease on buxus species, mainly English box-
positive for box blight has had at least one new plant installed in 2011.” Disease symptoms include circular leaf spots with zonate patterns, with visible zones where the pathogen has colonized leaf tissue. As the infection progresses, the leaves become brown or straw-colored. Stem cankers are common, and the pathogen can be isolated from these cankers. Ivors says that so far, fludioxonil (Medallion®) seems to be the most effective product. To protect the industry, growers who had massive infection destroyed heavily infected plants in a voluntary burn. “If we’re going to have to deal with this disease, we might start looking at cultural tactics to promote regrowth, and come up with a good fungicide strategy.” However, Ivors says that some of the fungicides that work may not work well in the landscape. “While these might work for some of our growers, my concern is that we might transplant a lot of these plants out in the landscape, and unless you’re a very wealthy English gardener and can afford multiple applications of fungicide on an annual basis, it isn’t a good idea to plant boxwoods with cylindrocladium buxicula in the landscape.” Box blight will be difficult to deal with because while the plant appears to be dead, the root system is still viable. Under favorable conditions, the leaves will regrow and the plant will continue to survive. Because plants are grown in the field for several years, chances are there will be another weather event that’s conducive to box blight. Ivors says that that a statistical model will help growers determine the best time to spray. But because it’s a new disease, no one knows how fieldgrown plants will respond to the disease and treatment. English boxwood, because of its tight foliage and is the most susceptible, followed by Korean boxwood. Because this plant is grown mostly in a monoculture, it will be easy for the disease to gain a foothold. Ivors says that holding pads were contaminated with the pathogen from holding incoming plants. “One of riskiest practices is to use the same holding pad for incoming and outgoing plants,” she said. “If you bring in new plants, have individual holding pads, separated, so wind-driven rain cannot spread disease. You might not know you have a problem, but you’ll find out later.”
Page 6 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
Today’s Marketing Objectives By: Melissa Piper Nelson Farm News Service News and views on agricultural marketing techniques. or manager, the information flowing your way is important to process. Business communications that affect marketing are generally split between two different groups — your internal and external audiences. Most farm-based businesses should also include the family audience since decisions reflect back on family member involvement as well. Internal audiences are made up of partners, investors, shareholders and employees — anyone who has a vested interest or are financially tied into the business or derive a salary from the company. Talk from this group often comes in the form of employee suggestions, internal meetings where information is shared at different levels and annual meetings to name just a few. Business owners and managers depend on this feedback to help improve sales, retain quality control, plan promotions and advertising and discuss labor issues.
External audiences are those groups outside the everyday working environment of a business — mostly customers, but also sub-contractors, wholesalers, retailers and others who are interested in your business and buy what you produce. The talk that comes back from these groups helps you develop better marketing plans and bolster business operations for optimum profit. What could they possibly say that would influence your business operations? When it was revealed that some restaurants were placing microphones near tables to overhear conversations, it wasn’t to hear about your day at work or to get shopping tips. Management wanted to learn what people thought about the food and service. Customer comments count when you are striving for customers in a competitive environment! Likewise, you have probably seen the exit polls taken after movie-goers see a show. The purpose is to gather
there in cyberspace. Many companies have hired interns to help with monitoring social media and other media outlets for customer feedback, but you may have employees or friends who can assist as well. You cannot always tame all the talk around you or your business, but you can plan for how you will develop workable ways to channel and use information that will improve how you conduct business and improve profitability. If you use an advertising or promotion person or agency, ask for additional information on tapping into customer feedback. Simple customer in-store or retail outlet surveys will also identify where people post or read information about your business as well as solicit immediate suggestions and comments. Internet
reference groups are also available on a fee basis to monitor and direct back to you information about your business or service. Farmers and producers who put most of their efforts into production, harvesting and selling feel pressured by keeping up with all the talk of the times. It becomes like the age-old question of producing then marketing, or marketing before producing — and we have all learned the later is usually the better plan. Listening to the talk as it happens offers the opportunity to change or improve your marketing plan before customers move on to another product or another business. The above information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for professional legal or business counseling.
Washington Apple Education Foundation accounting scholarships available WENATCHEE, WA — The Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) has available two unique scholarships for accounting students from North Central Washington. The Stemilt Growers Inc. Accounting Scholar-
ship is open to college students with a declared accounting major entering their junior, senior or fifth year. In addition to the $2,500 scholarship award, students will participate in an eight- to 10-week internship in the accounting department at Stemilt’s Wenatchee headquarters. Applicants must have ties to North Central Washington. Moss Adams LLP has a WAEF scholarship in honor of retired partner E. Peter Krier. This $500 scholarship is open to college juniors, seniors, or fifth year students from the Yakima Valley, enrolled in a university in Washington state pursuing a degree in accounting. To apply for these scholarships for the 2012-13 academic school year or learn more about award qualifications, visit www.waef.org. Students applying for either the Stemilt Accounting or Moss Adams LLP/E. Peter Krier scholarship must use the 2012 WAEF Universal Scholarship Application located under the scholarship tab of the WAEF website.
In addition to these two accounting scholarships, tree fruit industry firms and families offer a variety of other scholarships through WAEF. Information on each scholarship offered through the WAEF can be found at www.waef.org under the scholarships tab. Students must return completed scholarship applications to the WAEF office no later than March 1 for consideration. Awards decisions will be announced in May. Currently 151 students are on college campuses with WAEF scholarships. The Foundation awarded approximately $425,000 in scholarships to students for the 2011-12 school year. For more information or to receive an application via U.S. mail, please contact the WAEF at 509-663-7713 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The WAEF is the charity of Washington’s tree fruit industry. Founded in 1994, the Foundation coordinates, promotes and develops charitable activities reflecting the values of Washington’s tree fruit industry members.
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 5
Conversations and all that talk why should I listen? We live in a world where everyone is talking at the same time. People comment through social media, send e-mails to the editors of publications, give instant feedback on review pages, send short blips of information to friends and family and phone the ever widening circles of the people surrounding them. Talk, talk, talk. When we reach an information overload it is easy to just filter out what we cannot process or don’t feel we have the time at present to process. That is one reason why management companies are now offering services to go through your e-mail, messages and other media and let you know who is trying to contact you and what they have to say. What does all this have to do with marketing? You might not have to manage your information through a management service, yet, but as a business owner
information about what viewers loved or hated about the movie and the theatre experience itself. Information (talk) is money. If you aren’t listening to what your internal and external audiences are saying to you, you may be missing the opportunity to fine tune your operation to meet customer expectations. No one person can be responsible for gathering all this information and processing all that talk, so develop a team to help you decide what messages are worth chasing and prioritize all other information. Internal audience teams can bring to the table the important issues facing your everyday operation while external information is gathered through customer surveys, meeting with suppliers and distributors and discovering what is circling out
Continued from Page 3
and result in better nutrient recovery. Use of Legumes in Rotation Incorporating a legume crop such as alfalfa in the crop rotation is an excellent way of improving the N status of the soil. Legumes fix atmospheric N by a process called symbiotic N fixation. Therefore, roots and nodules rich in N when plowed under release readily available N for other crops. Fertilizer N recommendations should be adjusted for the amount of N returned by the legume residue. A good stand of alfalfa, when plowed under, will supply 80 to 100 pounds of N per acre. A poor stand of less than 30 percent alfalfa will supply no more than 40 pounds of N per acre. A good stand of clover will supply 40 to 60 pounds of N. Soybeans in the southern U.S. may supply up to 40 pounds of N to next year’s crop with less supplied by soybeans grown fur-
This equipment is used to sidedress lettuce while cultivating for weed control. Photo courtesy of Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
ther north. Nutrient Carry Over Fertilizer residue and manure nutrients often carry over from one year to the next. More carry-over can be expected with high application rates
Page 4 - COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST • February 2012
Photo courtesy of F&B Farms and Nursery Maria Saldana of F&B Farms and Nursery, Woodburn, OR plants begonias on planting line.
Country Folks The Monthly Newspaper for Greenhouses, Nurseries, Fruit & Vegetable Growers (518) 673-3237 • Fax # (518) 673-2381 (ISSN # 1065-1756) U.S.P.S. 008885 Country Folks Grower is published monthly by Lee Publications, P.O. Box 121, 6113 St. Hwy. 5, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428. Periodical postage paid at Palatine Bridge, NY 13428. Subscription Price: $22. per year. Canada $55 per year. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Country Folks Grower, P.O. Box 121, Subscription Dept., Palatine Bridge, NY 13428-0121. Publisher, President..................................Frederick W. Lee V.P., General Manager ....................Bruce Button, 518-673-0104 ....................email@example.com V.P., Production ................................Mark W. Lee, 518-673-0132 .........................firstname.lastname@example.org Comptroller .....................................Robert Moyer, 518-673-0148 ....................email@example.com Production Coordinator ................Jessica Mackay, 518-673-0137 ..................firstname.lastname@example.org Editor ...........................................Joan Kark-Wren, 518-673-0141 ...............email@example.com Page Composition .........................Allison Swartz, 518-673-0139 ....................firstname.lastname@example.org Classified Ad Manager ...................Peggy Patrei, 518-673-0111 ...................email@example.com Shop Foreman ..........................................Harry DeLong
Palatine Bridge, Front desk ................................ ....................................518-673-0160 Accounting/Billing Office ...............518-673-0149 .....................firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions ..................................888-596-5329 ..........email@example.com Web Site:................................................................ .............................www.leepub.com Send all correspondence to: PO Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 Fax (518) 673-2699 Editorial email: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising email: email@example.com
AD SALES REPRESENTATIVES Bruce Button, Ad Sales Mgr . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . . . . . . .800-218-5586, ext. 104 Dan Wren, Grower Sales Mgr . . . . . . . .email@example.com . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 117 Jan Andrews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 110 Dave Dornburgh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .email@example.com. . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 109 Laura Clary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . . . . . . . . .800-218-5586, ext. 118 Steve Heiser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . email@example.com . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 107 Tina Krieger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . . . . . . . 800-218-5586, ext. 108 Ian Hitchener . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .email@example.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 802-222-5726 Kegley Baumgardner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 540-255-9112 Wanda Luck / North Carolina . . . . . . . . . .email@example.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336-416-6198 (cell) Mark Sheldon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 814-587-2519 Sue Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .email@example.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 949-305-7447
Lee Publications 6113 State Hwy. 5, PO Box 121, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428 We cannot GUARANTEE the return of photographs. Publisher not responsible for typographical errors. Size, style of type and locations of advertisements are left to the discretion of the publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. We will not knowingly accept or publish advertising which is fraudulent or misleading in nature. The publisher reserves the sole right to edit, revise or reject any and all advertising with or without cause being assigned which in his judgement is unwholesome or contrary to the interest of this publication. We assume no financial responsibility for typographical errors in advertisement, but if at fault, will reprint that portion of the ad in which the error appears.
and following yearsin which the weather was draughty. Yield reduction due to drought, poor stand, or insect or disease problems often results in less nutrient uptake and removal, which can significantly influence the carry-over of fertilizer. Nutrient carry-over from crop residues and manured soils also contributes to the fertility of the soil. Not all of the nutrients in manure are released in the first year of application. Only half the N and P are considered available in the first year of application, but all of the K should be available in the first year. Crop Rotation Crop rotation is also important in using fertilizer efficiently. A low nutrient-requiring crop such as soybeans following a heavily fertilized corn crop may require little or no fertilizer. Such practices are common and helpful in utilizing fertilizer efficiently.
Summary Although the amount of energy used for the production of fertilizer is relatively small compared to the total U.S. energy consumption, conservation wherever possible is important. Considerable energy can also be expended in transporting and applying fertilizers. Fertilizers, however, help conserve energy by improving the crop’s ability to capture the sun’s energy and store it as plant energy. Agricultural producers have many opportunities to make efficient use of fertilizers. Management practices such as liming, soil testing, band placement of fertilizer, uniform applications, timing of nitrogen application to coincide with the crop’s period of greatest use, use of manure, legumes, carry-over fertilizer, and advantages of certain crop rotations can all help to conserve energy. Source: www.extension.org
Prosser High School senior wins state FFA Apple Judging contest WENATCHEE, WA — Laura Pearson received a $1,000 scholarship from the Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) for her first place finish in the Washington State FFA Apple Judging Competition in December. The competition was held Dec. 8 in Wenatchee as part of the Washington State Horticultural Association Annual Meeting. For the last eight years the Washington Apple Education Foundation has awarded the top finisher a $1,000 scholarship each year, sponsored by the North Central Washington Fieldmans Association and the Yakima Pomological Club. The award was presented during the FFA Leadership Luncheon hosted by the WAEF immediately following the apple judging competition. Over 100 FFA students participated in the competition representing Wenatchee, Pateros, East Valley (Moxee), Prosser, Chelan, Manson, Highland (Cowiche), Kennewick, Okanogan, Columbia-
Burbank, Kamiakin (Kennewick), Wahluke (Mattawa), Chiawana (Pasco), and Cashmere high schools. Brianna Shales was the featured speaker at this year’s FFA Leadership Luncheon. Shales is the communications manager for Stemilt Growers Inc. She shared information with students about Stemilt’s use of social media to interact with customers, influence purchasing patterns and connect consumers to the growers and farms. The purpose of the leadership luncheon is to expose and encourage interest in careers in the tree fruit industry. Information about the Foundation’s scholarship program is also provided. The Washington Apple Education Foundation fosters educational opportunities, encourages academic excellence and promotes awareness of the values of Washington’s tree fruit industry. For more information, visit the Foundation’s website, www.waef.org, or call 509-663-7713.
Law would free up students for farm work
USDA to shutter four Oregon offices
YAKIMA, WA (AP) — Washington lawmakers want to free up students during the school year to work as farm hands. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that a measure introduced Jan. 13 would authorize the state Board of Education to allow schools to adjust the 180-day school year in ways that free students to work in agriculture. Yakima Republican Rep. Norm Johnson says that the measure would also potentially free millions for transportation of farm workers by freeing up some previously allocated money. He says the bill is open ended and leaves it up to schools to equal farm work as a senior project or allow colleges to match credits for the labor. Orchardists in Central and Eastern Washington lost portions of their apple crops due to a shortage of fruit pickers.
PORTLAND, OR (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture will shutter three Oregon Farm Service Agency county offices and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Salem as part of cost-cutting measures in the department. The USDA announced recently it will close nearly 260 offices nationwide. Farm Service Agency offices in Polk, Grant and Tillamook counties will be closed. The agency says many of its Farm Service Agency offices staff only one to two people, or are within 20 miles of another office. Public hearings will be scheduled in places where Farm Service Agency offices are scheduled to close. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the goal was to save $150 million a year in the agency's $145 billion budget.
Energy efficient use of fertilizer, other nutrients in agriculture
This equipment is broadcasting fertilizer to build overall soil fertility. Photo courtesy of Andy Harper
energy more efficiently. Green plants capture energy from the sun by the process of photosynthesis and store energy as carbohydrates, oil and protein, which eventually are available for human and animal consumption. Quite often the maximum absorption of the sun’s energy by plants is not attained without the use of fertilizers. A bushel of corn contains approximately 400,000 BTU’s of energy; therefore, each pound of nitrogen must increase yields 0.0625 bushels to return the amount of energy required to produce one pound of nitrogen (25,000 BTUs). Putting it another way, 6.25 bushels of corn contain as much energy as 100 pounds of nitrogen. Quite often a farmer can expect a 40- to 50-bushel increase in yield with 100 pounds of nitrogen. Thus, it is easy to see that fertilizers are energy efficient, often resulting in a far greater return of energy than expended, but that energy increase does not diminish the importance of optimizing the efficiency of fertilizer use. Efficient Use of Fertilizers One of the most important ways the grower can conserve fertilizer energy is making efficient use of fertilizer. Economists generally recommend that increasing amounts of fertilizer should only be used when the additional value of yield realized exceeds the cost of nutrients applied. Efficient use can be defined as maximizing yield with a minimum amount of fertilizer. The greatest efficiency usually results from the first increment of added fertilizer/nutrients. Additional increments of fertilizer/nutrients usually result in a lower efficiency but may be profitable. A grower who wants to maximize profits will usually sacrifice some fertilizer effi-
ciency. Soil Testing Fertilizer is an important source of plant nutrients required for optimum plant growth. The soil and its organic matter derived from plant residues and manures, however, also supply a large portion of the nutrients essential to growing plants. Soil testing is a means of evaluating the soil’s ability to supply these nutrients. Some soils are naturally fertile or have been made more fertile by the use of fertilizers or other nutrient sources. An assessment of what the soil can supply can be related to crop yields and is used extensively for making fertilizer and lime recommendations. Soils that test low in phosphorus (P) or potassium (K) will need larger amounts of fertilizer P and K than soils testing high in these two nutrients. Much fertilizer energy can be saved by soil testing if fertilizers are applied to soils which have the greatest need and by using reduced rates where soil reserves are high. More specific savings and efficiencies have been realized in recent years with the advent of precision farming concepts and equipment, more specifically testing soils on a smaller area basis and using GPS guidance systems and variable rate applications to more precisely apply fertilizers. Liming Limestone is an important source of the essential nutrients calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). It is commonly used to raise the soil pH, which is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. Nutrient availability to plants is often affected by soil pH, with the greatest availability generally occurring between pH 6.5 and 7.0. For example – on acid soils (below 5.5), soluble aluminum is
toxic to many plants and reduces the availability of P fertilizers. On alkaline soils, P availability is also reduced, resulting in reduced fertilizer efficiency and crop yield. Liming acid soils will also improve nodulation of legumes and increase fixation of atmospheric nitrogen, thereby reducing added N fertilizer requirements. Fertilizer Placement It has long been known that banding (placing fertilizer near the seed at planting) is more efficient at supplying nutrients to the crop than broadcast applications, yet some crop producers have moved away from band applications. One of the reasons for this shift is that many crops no longer respond to P and K fertilizers where soils are already high in these nutrients. Another reason for the shift from band to broadcast fertilizer is the increased labor cost and time involved in band application. As an example, corn yields are greatly affected by time of planting. Any operation which delays planting, such as filling fertilizer hopper/tanks, can slow planting time, causing a reduction in yield and resulting in a significant economic loss. Before one switches from banding to broadcasting, a thorough analysis of band applications should be made. Banding usually means less fertilizer per acre and fewer trips across the field, and may mean higher yield per acre. Estimates of additional time involved in banding fertilizers are as low as 30 seconds per acre. As farmers become better equipped to handle bulk blended or liquid fertilizers for use in planters, and as fertilizer prices continue to escalate, banding will become more efficient and economical. Uniform Fertilizer Applications Uniform application of broadcast fertilizer is important in maximizing yields. Non-uniform application of dry bulk blended fertilizers, due to segregation or separation of nutrients in loading, hauling and spreading, can result in over fertilization or under fertilization of certain nutrients and areas in the field. The result is reduced yield, lower fertilizer efficiency and wasted energy. Liquid fertilizer, which generally has a higher cost of production due to larger inputs of energy, would appear to have some advantages when considering uniform application and efficient use. Thus, the larger cost for energy for pro-
ducing liquid fertilizer may be offset by greater efficiency due to more uniform application. Poor spreading patterns can also cause over- or under-fertilization. Again, precision agriculture methods using GPS and similar means can greatly reduce this variation. Time of Application Sidedress applications of nitrogen (N) applied after plant emergence - particularly on shallow rooted crops such as potatoes grown on sandy soils which are subject to leaching, or on crops grown on fine-textured soils where denitrification is a problem – may be used advantageously to increase effectiveness of fertilizers. Agronomic research has shown that delaying the time of N application will generally result in better usage of N. Corn and potatoes are good examples of crops having a high requirement of N later in the growing season. Sidedressed N will help to assure that N will be plentiful during the later stages of growth. In some cases, such as fields receiving manure, adequate N may be available throughout the growing season without further N application. Over the last decade or more, a presidedress N test (PSNT) has been available for corn and other crops to determine actual need for supplemental N. Use of this test could significantly reduce N use and therefore energy and any potential pollution. Applying N through the irrigation system is another means of improving nitrogen efficiency. Such a procedure requires little additional energy for application and assures that adequate nitrogen is available during the plant’s greatest period of use. This practice is well adapted to sandy soils where leaching of N is a problem. Use of Manure Manure is an organic nutrient source available on poultry and livestock farms. Often equivalent to a low-analysis fertilizer, it thus requires a great deal of energy for uniform distribution to the field but should be effectively utilized whenever possible. The nutrient composition of manure varies greatly, depending on the type of livestock, and methods of handling and spreading. Incorporation of manure immediately after application will reduce volatilization losses of ammonia nitrogen and nutrient runoff from manure
February 2012 • COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WEST - Page 3
by Maurice L. Vitosh, Professor Emeritus, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University; Zane R. Helsel, Extension Specialist in Agricultural Energy, Rutgers University and Vern Grubinger, Professor, University of Vermont Extension Introduction An important way farmers can conserve energy is making efficient use of fertilizers and other nutrient sources. This article will introduce farmers to the concepts of fertilizer energy and efficient nutrient use. It discusses how to optimize fertilizer use by soil testing, fertilizer placement and application, and by using farm manures and cover crops as part of a soil fertility plan. It includes a discussion on the impact of nutrient carry over and crop rotation on fertility planning. Thoughtful use of these management practices will help farmers conserve energy and save money. Fertilizer Energy Use in The U.S. It is estimated that less than 1 percent of the total U. S. annual energy consumption is presently being used for fertilizer production, yet this still represents nearly 500 trillion BTUs. The production of nitrogen fertilizers, which requires approximately 25,000 BTUs per pound of nitrogen, represents more than three-fourths of the total energy used for all fertilizer production. Energy consumption values for phosphate and potash fertilizer are estimated at 5,600 BTUs per pound of phosphate(P2O5) and 4,700 BTUs per pound of potash (K2O). Energy use for the production of fertilizer is not the entire story. Energy is also required for transporting fertilizers to the dealer and then to the farm and for application. Energy use for transportation varies greatly, depending upon the fertilizer source being shipped, the methods of transportation, and the distance of travel. Approximately 1,600 BTUs are required to move one ton of fertilizer one mile by rail or barge and nearly 4,000 BTUs per ton one mile by truck. Pipelines are another means of transporting ammonia fertilizer and should be included in any energy-cost analysis. High-analysis fertilizers generally require more total energy for production, but less energy per pound of actual nutrient and for transportation. Although fertilizers are expensive and consume large quantities of energy, they also help plants utilize the sun’s
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F&B Farm ~ lean, sustainable plant production by Kelly Gates Fred Geschwill is the “F” in F&B Farm. Bill is the “B.” Together, the Geschwill brothers and their wives, Leigh and Heidi, own and operate the Woodburn, OR, growing business, effectively supplying a wide range of plant material to independent retailers throughout Oregon and Washington. According to Leigh, the company was established 20 years ago as a row crop farm. “Fred and Bill began growing wheat, grass seeds and hops back in 1991,” Leigh told Country Folks Grower. “We added the first greenhouse in 1997 so we could grow a handful of annuals and vegetable plants and now we have five acres fill with greenhouses. For the first few years, we sold our plants retail directly from the farm to local customers only.” Three years later, F&B Farm started branching out into wholesale. Today, wholesale customers represent 90 percent of its business. The company’s product list expanded from annuals and vegetable plants to eventually include bedding plants, premium annuals, potted indoor plants, herbs, perennials and hanging
baskets. There are more than 3,000 items on the list of inventory there. Some of the material begins as rooted plants in the greenhouses. Vegetative plants are started as rooted or rooted plantings. The owners also bring in an assortment of plugs. A planting line — with flat filler and watering tunnel — is used to make the sowing process efficient each spring. The process has become even more effective in the past year and a half as F&B Farm has implemented a “Lean” program directed by the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “The lean program focuses on removing waste from a manufacturing line and adding value,” said Leigh. “One of the improvements we made was to have pictures of each step in the planting process instead of writing it down for workers. It makes it much easier for them to know the right way to do something and harder for someone to do it the wrong way.” In conjunction with the association’s lean program, the farm is also certified by the international growing group, VeriFlora. In order to qualify for VeriFlora certification, the farm must follow a
Fred and Leigh Geschwill giving customers a tour through the propagation area. Photos courtesy of F&B Farm
rigorous set of sustainability, quality and human resources regulations. The first audit the Geschwills underwent while striving toward this certification involved a thorough analysis of their operation’s work envi-
Leigh Gerchwill holding a new Echinacea variety out in the Perennial field.
ronment. The owners ensured that proper resources were in place for employees to be able to bring grievances or ideas for improvements to the nursery heads. Then, environmental considerations were addressed. “There is a big push by VeriFlora and the Oregon Association of Nurseries both for conservation of water and resources, plus restrictions and requirements pertaining to fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals used to combat disease,” explained Leigh. “Our planting lines and automated irrigation help us conserve water and fertilizer-our flood benches in particular. We also have an integrated pest management program in place with quite a number of biological controls.” A full-scale recycling program is also a key part of the program at the farm. Any used or broken flats, plug trays or plastics are brought to a local company called “Agri-Plas” for recycling. And, special care is taken to keep plastic waste to a minimum in general.
Along with creating a fair and safe work environment and adhering to sustainability measures, VeriFlora certification also requires companies to maintain a high level of quality. It would not make sense, said Leigh, to have a suitable work environment and an ecofriendly approach only to end up producing products that are not as good as, if not better than, those supplied by other growers. With such a wellrounded plan in place, planting, cultivating and processing orders has become a smooth process for the nursery staff. “We have around 20 full time employees and we assign staff to specific greenhouses so they become familiar with what plants are there and where they are,” noted Leigh. “When it comes time to fill orders, we do a modified master pull, pulling all the products for the next day’s shipping from each greenhouse and placing them on racks for shipment.” F&B Farm makes its own deliveries. Twice a week, drivers set out on
preset, routine routes to transport plants to customers as far north as the Canadian border and south to California. Shipments are driven to garden centers along the Pacific Coast and as far east as the tri-cities area of Washington. Leigh manages the wholesale division while Fred and Bill oversee the widespread business operation and row crop production. Heidi heads up plant production and runs a small direct-topublic retail business from March to June, enabling the public to buy high quality plants straight from the source. The family plans to continue moving in the same direction in the future. According to Leigh, “slow, steady growth” is at the center of focus. “We just added one more acre of greenhouses, increasing our total to 5 acres,” she said. “Each time we do an expansion, we also add a number of other infrastructure elements too, like carts, benches and other necessities. It’s all about reinvesting in small, manageable ways.”