4. NOW IS THE TIME TO FIND BUCKTHORN, the overwintering host for soybean aphid.
Most trees and shrubs have changed color and leaves are dropping. Buckthorn is still dark green and covered with leaves - very obvious even at 70 mph. So if you are interested in mapping buckthorn in your area, now is the time.
For tips on ID, check out the bulletin that Steve Gower and I wrote in 2002 E2803, Buckthorn in the Landscape: Identification and Control
5. SAMPLE YOUR FIELDS TO AVOID YIELD LOSSES
TO SOYBEAN CYST NEMATODE
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Soybean cyst nematodes (SCN) are microscopic roundworms that cause more economic losses to soybean growers than any other soybean pest. These tiny invaders can completely destroy a crop, and yield losses as high as 10 to 15 bushels per acre can occur before symptoms such as yellowing or stunting are visible. Research has shown that yield losses due to SCN can be significantly reduced or avoided with careful management.
Determining the severity of infestations is the essential first step to limiting yield losses from SCN. The best way to do this is to collect fall soil samples and submit them to Michigan State University (MSU) Diagnostic Services. This is a free service that is funded by the Michigan Soybean Checkoff.
On the basis of results of the analysis, which show the SCN population densities for each field, growers can implement management strategies and tactics.
Correctly taking and handling the samples is critical to the success of any SCN management efforts. To collect accurate samples:
-- Pick up a free SCN soil sampling packet from any county MSU Extension office. The Michigan Soybean Checkoff pays for the first 20 samples per farm per year.
-- Use a soil probe to collect soil samples from a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
-- Collect about 50 soil cores from each field or uniform area up to 20 acres within a field. Walk a Z or a W pattern to ensure that the cores are collected randomly.
-- Growers who produce soybeans and sugar beets should submit soybean root samples along with the soil sample when possible.
-- If a field is being tested for SCN for the first time, sample areas where SCN is most likely to establish -- where equipment enters the field, coarse-textured soils, soils with pH levels greater than 7 and areas where yields have been lower than expected.
-- Place all the samples in a bucket and mix them together thoroughly. Place about 1 quart of soil in the plastic bag provided in the SCN sampling packet.
-- Keep the samples out of the sun and cool until they are sent to Diagnostic Services or delivered to the local MSU Extension office.
-- Complete the "Grower Information" section of the SCN submittal form and include this with the soil sample.
The results of the SCN analysis and management recommendations will be sent directly to the farmer. Any MSU Extension agriculture and natural resources educator can help interpret the results and offer suggestions for implementing recommendations.
For more information, visit the MSU Diagnostic Services Web page at www.pestid.msu.edu/services/howto.html or pick up a copy of MSU Extension bulletin E-2199, “Detecting and Avoiding Nematode Problems.”
For more information about improving Michigan’s soybean crop, visit the Soybean 2010 Web page at http://web1.msue.msu.edu/soybean2010/. Soybean 2010 was developed to help Michigan growers increase soybean yields and farm profitability. Funding for Soybean 2010 is provided by MSU Extension and the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee.
6. New Web Marketing Opportunity for Small Farms
Submitted by Sustainable Ag Network (SAN) for Simon Huntley.
A new Internet marketing project is being initiated that will bring
the cost of web development for small farms down to an affordable
level. This is not a listing service like localharvest.org; this is a
service that allows farmers to create individual professional web
sites for their farm. Read more at http://www.smallfarmcentral.com
We want this project to act like a cooperative between small farms to
allow the price of web marketing to come within your budget. That is
why we are asking for feedback on our ideas - please visit
http://www.smallfarmcentral.com to read the rest of the abstract and
fill out our survey. We are also in the process of forming a core
group of farmers who will work closely with the development team
throughout the process and then receive free access to the development services.
Please forward this email on to any farmer or group that you think may
be interested in being a part of this project.
You might want to add blog software to the applications you make available to them.
Blogs, being interactive and allowing uploads of photographs and feedback submission, are a colorful and useful tool for small farming operations. Customers like seeing pictures of the farms and produce grown on them.
Google's Blogger offers free blog service and its pretty elegant for a freebie. Wordpress is good blog software.
Here's an example of what can be done with Blogger:
- Please forward this email on to any farmer or group that you think may be interested in being a part of this project.
Simon Huntley, Lead Developer
7. Take The Right Steps
Steps to get safe food from the farm or your garden
What can growers do to reduce the risk of their products being involved in a situation like the ongoing spinach problem in California’s Salinas Valley?
Step 1: Know what’s going on in your production program so you have an idea where the critical points are, i.e. those points where contamination could most likely occur.
Step 2: Be aware of potential contaminants in your area. According to health officials, likely sources of contamination in the Salinas situation include irrigation water, livestock manure, or a contaminated processing facility. Make sure that these are not a potential problem in your operation.
Step 3: Follow good field sanitation practices. Insist field workers wash their hands with soap and water after using toilet facilities. Provide rubber gloves for workers who are handling the product. Park toilets along side the field, not in the field where spillage might contaminate the product.
Step 4: Enlist the help of a third-party auditor. If you do not now use an outsider or third party to periodically check your operation from a sanitation standpoint, consider it. These people can often see potential problems that haven’t even entered your mind.
Step 5: Consider controls on outside people visiting your operations. Visitors might not respect the sanitation practices and requirements of your operation and could bring in problems from the outside.
These and more things are all part of the Food & Drug
Administration’s (FDA’s) GPA (Good Agricultural Practices) and GPM
(Good Manufacturing Practices) guidelines.
8. Reduce Your Risk
Growers need to take action to prevent a foodborne illness outbreak.
The E. coli outbreak in spinach impacts the entire fresh produce industry. As most people know, the spinach has been traced back to operations in Salinas, CA. FDA is investigating to determine the exact cause of the outbreak. The question now is are you doing all you can to ensure the safety of the vegetables you produce?
Because food safety and traceback are such critical issues for growers – now more than ever – the editors at American Vegetable Grower have compiled a list of Web sites growers can turn to for more information on these critical topics.
For updates on the latest news regarding the outbreak of E. coli in spinach, visit the following Web sites:
Spinach and E. coli Outbreak
Produce Marketing Association
Visit the sites listed below for information on food safety, traceback, Good Agricultural Practices, and Best Management Practices.
University of California Good Agricultural Practices http://ucgaps.ucdavis.edu The University of California-Davis offers information on Good Agricultural Practices with a focus on production, harvest, and processing of foods.
Guide To Traceback of Fresh Fruits
and Vegetables http://www.fda.gov/ora/Inspect_ref/igs/epigde/epigde.html
Microbial Food Safety
National Food Safety
FDA Guidance Documents
Agricultural Best Management
If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field http://list.msu.edu/archives/mich-organic.html