Michigan Tart Cherry Orchards Rely On Fungicide Protection Every Year

Cherry Leaf Spot Infection

Cherry Leaf Spot Infection

Michigan is the leading producer of tart cherries in the United States, with annual yields of 90.9-127.3 million kg, which represents approximately 75% of the total US production.

Leaf spot is the most important fungal disease of cherry trees in Michigan. The appearance of numerous spots on the leaf is usually followed by rapid yellowing and dropping. In experiments, it has been demonstrated that poor control of leaf spot can result in 72% of the tree branches dying during the winter months.

“Cherry leaf spot (CLS) is the most damaging pathogen of tart (sour) cherry trees. All commercial tart cherry cultivars grown in the Great Lakes region of the United States are susceptible to CLS, including the widely grown cultivar Montmorency, which accounts for more than 90% of the tart cherry acreage in Michigan. Left unmanaged, CLS infection causes significant defoliation by mid-summer, resulting in fruit that is unevenly ripened, soft, poorly colored and low in soluble solids. Early defoliation also delays acclimation of fruit buds and wood to cold temperatures in the fall, increases tree mortality during severe winters and reduces fruit bud survival and fruit set the following year.

The almost complete reliance of the tart cherry industry on the cultivar Montmorency has driven a strict dependence on fungicides for disease management. Typically, 6-8 fungicide applications per year are required, beginning at petal fall and continuing through to late summer after harvest.”

Author: Proffer, T. J., et al.
Affiliation: Michigan State University
Title: Evaluation of dodine, fluopyram and penthiopyrad for the management of leaf spot and powdery mildew of tart cherry, and fungicide sensitivity screening of Michigan populations of Blumeriella jaapii.
Source: Pest Management Science. 2013. 69:747-754.

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African Farmers Need More Time to Manage Crops: Herbicides Provide the Solution

Woman in labor

African Farmer Weeding

African farmers are constrained in the amount of time that they have available to improve their farming operations due to the inordinate amount of time required to hand weed their fields. About 50% of their time is taken up with hand weeding. Other opportunities ( such as planting a cash crop) are neglected. The use of herbicides to kill weeds in African crop fields would significantly free up time for farmers to improve their farms.

“The use of herbicides as a weed control strategy under under conservation agriculture (CA) in Zimbabwe was tested in two consecutive cropping season in 2009-10 and 2010-11… The use of herbicides in conservation agriculture systems can be recommended in most farming circumstances; it controls weed species that are difficult to manage, reduces the weeding time for farmers and is seen as a viable option even for smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe.

The results show that it is economical to use herbicides under CA because farmers save at least US$388 worth of time to be used on other off-or on-farm activities.

The time savings by using herbicides under CA can only be a benefit if farmers use this additional time meaningfully for other tasks. Farmers who choose to use herbicides are likely to have more time to commit to other farm operations such as growing vegetables in their gardens for sale, value addition to their farm products and some may also sell their labour off-farm to improve their income. The use of herbicides under CA systems reduces the labour constraints during the peak labour demand periods of the season… With improved weed management through use of herbicides, smallholder farmers can increase their yields and recover the costs of herbicides use.” 

Authors: Tarirai Muoni, et al.
Affiliation: University of Zimbabwe
Title: Weed control in conservation agriculture systems of Zimbabwe: identifying economical best strategies.
Source: Crop Protection. 2013. 53:23-28.

Florida is Great for Growing Sweet Corn in the Winter, Insects Love Florida in the Winter Too

Florida sweet corn, w/o insecticides

Florida sweet corn, w/o insecticides

Florida Sweet Corn Production

Florida Sweet Corn Production

Florida is the #1 state in the production of fresh sweet corn with production occurring in winter months when the crop cannot be grown in states further north. Many insect species survive the winter and thrive in Florida. 98-99% of Florida’s sweet corn would be damaged by insects if insecticide sprays were not made. The importance of insecticides for Florida sweet corn is underscored by the realization that the crop was not grown in the state until synthetic chemical insecticides were introduced in the 1940s.

[1]“Florida ranks #1 nationally in the production and value of fresh market sweet corn, typically accounting for approximately 20 percent of both national sweet corn production and of U.S. cash receipts for fresh sales. A total of 589 million pounds of fresh sweet corn, valued at $189 million, was produced on 42,100 acres in Florida during the 2009-10 season. Nearly 20 percent of sweet corn producers overall total direct expenses are invested in pesticides and pesticide application costs. Florida’s warm, humid climate is ideal for the development of pest populations. Sweet corn grown in Florida is subject to damage from numerous insect, weed, disease, and nematode pests. Pesticide use is high and the crop may be sprayed daily in some cases.”

[2]”The first commercial production of sweet corn in Florida was reported in the 1947-48 season. The establishment of sweet corn as one of the major crops produced in Florida is attributed largely to successful control of insects with the newer insecticides. “

[1]
Author: McAvoy, G.
Affiliation: Regional Vegetable Extension Agent IV, University of Florida
Title: Sweet corn production in south Florida
Source: Proceedings of the 2012 Atlantic Coast Ag Convention & Trade Show, pp 66-68

[2]
Authors: Hayslip, N. C., et al.
Affiliation: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Ft. Pierce
Title: Corn earworm investigations in Florida
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology. 1953. 46[4]:574-583.