What’s new in Michigan Organic Ag?
June 9 – June 20, 2008
By Vicki Morrone and Kate Leitch 

1. New Ag Network electronic newsletter
2. MSU Vegetable CAT Alert (June 4)
3. MSU Vegetable CAT Alert (June 11)
4. MSU Vegetable CAT Alert (June 18)
5. MSU Field Crop CAT Alert (June 5)
6. MSU Field Crop CAT Alert (June 12)
7. MSU Field Crop CAT Alert (June 19)
8. MSU Fruit CAT Alert (June 3)
9. MSU Fruit CAT Alert (June 10)
10. MSU Fruit CAT Alert (June 17)
11. MIFMA and SBAM Partner to Provide Michigan Farmers and Farmers Markets 
with Greater Access to SBAM Benefits
12. Bee Colony Available
13. Farm Bill Becomes Law 

14. Free housing- “Have space, need help”
15. Vegetable Specialist Sought by Purdue University 

EVENTS (In Part 2)
16. Annual Soil-Building Workshop- Innovations to Build Soils to Feed 
Sustainable Communities
17. Organic Producers Needed for Rothbury Music Festival – Sweetwater 
Local Foods Market
18. Public Hearing on Act-4-04 (A proposal affecting the Lansing City 
19. Rapid Market Assessment Workshop
20. Grazing Workshop
21. High-Tunnel Tour of England


1. New Ag Network Newsletter
Vol. 5, No.4,  June 11, 2008 

In this issue:
  An introduction to sustainable floriculture research and extension at 
Purdue University
  Cover crops as soil nutrition management tools
  Purdue Farm Sustainability Tour  Organic production and processing – 
				transitioning to organic July 24, 2008
  Minnesota: Ten public agencies join forces in Organic Memorandum of     
  Integrated weed management on-farm trials
  Reports from organic growers 

2. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 7, June 4, 2008 

In this issue:
  Vegetable insect update
  Managing cereal rye cover crop to reduce crop injury and improve benefits
  Widespread frost/freeze event across Michigan on May 28
  Regional reports

3. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 8, June 11, 2008 

In this issue:
Vegetable insect update
Recent rains favor Phytophthora development on vegetable crops
Potato late blight risk forecasting and potato disease extension bulletins
Fungicide application opportunity for the control of Rhizoctonia and black 
dot in potatoes
Regional reports

4. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 9, June 18, 2008 

In this issue:
Soil conditions contribute to poor plant growth
Vegetable insect update
Section 18 label issued for Carzol SP® use to control thrips in dry bulb 
Regional reports

Soil conditions contribute to poor plant growth
Darryl Warncke
Crop and Soil Sciences 

Growing conditions have been variable and challenging across Michigan; cool 
and wet, hot and dry, hot and wet, now cool with scattered showers.  Plants 
have to be tough and resilient to grow through all these conditions.  The 
recent heavy rains have provided the most challenging soil conditions.  
Soils are compacted by intense rainfall and standing water.  Excess water 
tends to seal the soil surface, even on some sandy soils.  These conditions 
impede drying of the soil and movement of air into the soil.  The root 
environment is oxygen deficient and roots cannot function properly to take 
up water and essential nutrients.  Many beneficial microorganisms also have 
a difficult time functioning when oxygen starved.  When these conditions 
persist for more than two to three days, roots will become non-functional 
and may begin to degrade.  Cultivation is essential to open the soil and 
allow air to move in.  Renewed aeration of the soil will stimulate root 
growth and microbial activity that will mineralize nitrogen and other 
nutrients.  With aeration, new root growth will occur. 

During flooded or saturated soil conditions 50 lbs N/a or more may be lost 
by leaching or denitrification.  Once soils dry sufficiently, sidedress 40 
lbs N/a to enhance root and plant growth.  Spraying nitrogen and other 
nutrients on the foliage of stressed plants may help them get through the 
stress period.  However, under stress conditions plants are less able to 
absorb nutrients through the leaves, so the benefit may not be as great as 
anticipated.  Urea ammonium nitrate (28 percent nitrogen) is a good source 
of nitrogen for foliar application as long as the rate does not exceed three 
gallons per acre.  Small amounts of nutrients may be able to be added in 
with other spray materials, but be sure to check compatibility. 

When excess rainfall occurs, the primary nutrient of concern is usually 
nitrogen.  In sandy soils, significant amounts of potassium may also be 
leached out of the root zone so that topdress application may be beneficial 
for high potassium requiring crops, celery and tomatoes.  Boron is also 
subject to leaching out of the root zone in sandy soils and muck soils.  For 
celery, celeriac, broccoli and root crops consider spraying 0.25 lb actual 
boron per acre on the foliage. 

Vegetable insect update
Beth Bishop

The severe weather during the first week of June brought more insect pests 
into Michigan. We continue to catch corn earworm moths in pheromone traps on 
campus. Last week (June 10-17), we caught 48 earworm moths in one trap and 
54 in the second trap. This is very early for such high numbers of corn 
earworm to be present. Most sweet corn is not at risk for infestation, but 
any corn in silk is at risk. Furthermore, corn earworm moths lay eggs on 
tomatoes in fruit and the larvae (also known as tomato fruitworm) will eat 
into the fruit. Growers with sweet corn or tomatoes at vulnerable growth 
stages should apply an insecticide to prevent infestation. See bulletin 
E312: 2008 Insect, Disease, and Nematode Control for Commercial Vegetables 
for insecticides registered to control corn earworm/tomato fruitworm on 
these crops. For sweet corn, it is critical to make sure the silks are 
thoroughly covered with insecticide. Eggs are laid on the silks and 
newly-hatched larvae travel down the silk to enter the ear. 

Aster leafhoppers
The storm fronts also brought in new populations of aster leafhoppers. All 
leafhoppers collected prior to June 4 and tested by Diagnostic Services were 
not infected with aster yellows. However, we received and tested three 
samples of leafhoppers that were collected June 9 -11 that had a fairly high 
infectivity rate. About eight percent of leafhoppers collected from celery 
fields in Hudsonville and Decatur were carrying aster yellows. Over 15 
percent of leafhoppers collected from carrot fields in Oceana County were 
infected with aster yellows. Consequently, treatment thresholds are much 
lower than they were a few weeks ago. Celery fields should be treated if the 
number of aster leafhoppers caught in sweep net samples exceeds three to 
five leafhoppers per 100 sweeps. Carrot fields should be treated if the 
number of aster leafhoppers exceeds three to seven per 100 sweeps. Lettuce 
fields should be treated if the number of leafhoppers exceeds two to four 
leafhoppers per 100 sweeps. We have not yet received samples from other 
parts of the state, but to be cautious growers throughout Michigan should 
use these thresholds for now. 

European corn borer
The first flight of European corn borer is well underway and growers are 
reporting a high percentage of sweet corn plants infested with small larvae. 
In general, once the tassel starts to emerge, sweet corn should be treated 
through harvest to prevent the larvae from infesting ears. In whorl-stage 
corn, larvae are often found feeding deep in the whorl. Growers or scouts 
can pull up the whorl leaves and see evidence of feeding. As the tassel 
emerges from the whorl, corn borer larvae leave the whorl and travel to the 
ears. To prevent this, growers should check whorl-stage corn and treat at 
tassel emergence if corn borers are found. Also, if 15 percent or more of 
whorl-stage corn is infested with corn borers, a treatment of granular 
insecticide may be warranted. A number of insecticides, such as Avaunt, 
Capture, Dipel, Lorsban and Pounce are registered for whorl-stage corn. 
Granules should be directed into corn whorls. 

First alfalfa cutting
A significant event for pest control in many vegetable crops is the first 
alfalfa cutting. Alfalfa is a preferred host for many insect pests, 
including tarnished plant bug and potato leafhopper. When alfalfa is cut, 
these insects are forced to find new homes and may invade vegetable fields. 
Potato leafhopper can damage potatoes and snap beans. Tarnished plant bug is 
a pest of many vegetable crops, including snap beans, peppers, lettuce, 
celery and asparagus. Alfalfa cutting is occurring throughout Michigan. 
Growers with vulnerable crops near alfalfa fields should be scouting 
regularly for these pests.
Cucumber beetles
With the advent of warmer weather, striped and spotted cucumber beetles are 
finally making an appearance. Striped cucumber beetles overwinter as adults 
in leaf litter and resume activity when the weather warms. During cool 
periods, they are relatively inactive. So far this year, we’ve seen 
alternating periods of cool and warm weather, which causes a sudden influx 
of these insects into fields when temperatures rise. Cucumber beetles are 
pests of curcurbit crops. High populations of adults can severely stunt or 
kill young plants in the seedling or cotyledon stages. In addition, cucumber 
beetles transmit bacterial wilt disease. Cucumbers, melons, hubbard squash, 
butternut squash and processing pumpkins are susceptible to bacterial wilt. 
Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, watermelons, and most other squash varieties are 
rarely susceptible. 

The most effective treatment for early-season cucumber beetles is an 
at-planting treatment of carbofuran or a neonicitinoid, such as imidacloprid 
or thiamethoxam. If such a treatment has not been made, or if the protection 
is no longer effective, a number of foliar insecticides are registered for 
control of cucumber beetles. For crops vulnerable to bacterial wilt, the 
treatment threshold is 0.1 to 1.0 beetle per plant. For crops that are not 
susceptible, the treatment threshold is five beetles per plant. Seedlings 
require treatment when large numbers of beetles are feeding. Growers should 
scout fields regularly, especially field edges. Early in the season cucumber 
beetles may be concentrated along field edges so spot treatments can be 
effective. Care should be taken to protect pollinators during flowering by 
careful selection of insecticides, applying insecticides at night when 
flowers are closed and covering or moving hives.

5. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 9, June 5, 2008 

In this issue:
  Insect update
  Aphids appear- Right on schedule
  Ice versus insects
  Improve profits with timely postemergence herbicide applications in 
  Growing non-GMO soybeans? Come to an afternoon session of the 2008 MSU 
	Weed Tour
  MSU Crop Diagnostic School is July 18
  Wheat scab update
  Enviro-weather can help you time alfalfa cutting
  Regional reports

6. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 10, June 12, 2008 

In this issue:
Now is the time to check wheat fields for armyworm
Soybean Aphid Overwintering Survey
Common lambsquarters escapes in sugar beets: What are my options?
Optimizing fungicide timing for the control of Rhizoctonia crown and root   
rot of sugar beet and issues about mixing Quadris with Roundup.
Volunteer potato control in corn
Managing corn and soybean fields submerged by recent heavy rains
Damage from late May frost now appearing in small grains
Regional reports

7. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 11, June 19, 2008 

In this issue:
Corn hybrids stressed after glyphosate applications
Yellow corn and soil nitrogen
Anthracnose leaf blight of corn
Pesticide application technology for soybean rust and soybean aphids
Custom machine work rates
MSU Extension history exhibit: Barn models from 1939
Soybean rust update for 2008
New resources available for soybean rust
Ag Expo set for July 15-17
Regional reports

Yellow corn and soil nitrogen
Darryl Warncke
Crop and Soil Sciences 

Following the past couple of weeks of variable rainfall, many corn fields 
are showing light yellow areas. Where rainfall was heavy the soil has been 
compacted and the surface crusted. Some of the yellow areas are associated 
with lower areas in fields where nitrogen was lost by leaching and 
denitrification. In addition, the soil compaction and crusting is 
contributing to oxygen deficiency that makes it difficult for the roots to 
function properly in taking up water and nutrients. Opening up the soil by 
cultivation or by knifing in nitrogen will help aerate the soil and 
stimulate microbial activity to mineralize nitrogen and other nutrients and 
improve root growth.
Some of the nitrogen that was leached downward may still be in the soil 
profile where corn roots will eventually be able to access it. Results of 
the presidedress soil nitrate tests are presented in Table 1. Some of these 
samples were taken prior to the rainy spell, so the levels may have changed 
some. Twelve percent of the samples contain enough nitrogen so that 
additional N is required (> 25 ppm). In five percent of the samples the 
available nitrogen level is very low. 

Anthracnose leaf blight of corn
Jackie Smith and Steven Gower
MSU Diagnostic Services 

Several corn samples have been submitted to the lab over the past few days 
infected with anthracnose leaf blight. All samples have come from fields 
where corn was grown last season. 

Anthracnose of corn is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum graminicola. This 
fungus survives in corn residue, first infecting the lower corn leaves as 
the spores are splashed from the soil surface. Leaf spots are round to 
irregular, water-soaked lesions with dark tan centers and yellowish-orange 
to reddish-brown borders. Lesions usually appear near the leaf tip and mid 
rib. Lesions can coalesce causing the lower leaves to shrivel and die. 
Fruiting bodies (acervuli) with black, whisker-like setae can be seen with a 
hand lens on infected leaves. 

Anthracnose fungus survives in corn residue, especially on the soil surface. 
Therefore, this disease may be more serious under reduced tillage systems 
and in continuous corn. 

Anthracnose leaf blight is best controlled through the use of resistant 
hybrids along with crop rotation and tillage.
Photos of the disease can be seen in the CAT alert: 

Custom machine work rates
Ned Birkey
Monroe Extension ANR educator 

Many farmers hire some farm work or perform custom work for others. What is 
a fair amount to charge one to do or to pay for such work? Michigan State 
University has Extension Bulletin, E-2131, revised October 2002, available 
free of charge, which outlines a free labor, tractor and machine rental 
rates as determined by a survey of farmers from around the state of 

Dennis Stein, MSU Extension farm management educator does a survey of 
farmers in the Thumb area of Michigan every year. His survey of numbers is 
listed below. 

Some spring custom rate numbers for the following items might be helpful for 
farmers as they settle up accounts for tillage work. All rates are per acre 
unless otherwise noted. 

Rates in Monroe County may be higher or lower depending upon several 
factors. These can include; field size, ease of access, machine size and 
roads, trash, trees or brush hindering work, depth of field drainage tile or 
bedrock, payment arrangements or other factors. 

Farmers need to consider their current fuel prices and adjust their custom 
rate charge according to their actual costs.
Moldboard plowing
Chisel plowing
Mulch tilling (disk-chisel)
V-ripping (14 inches deep)
Tandem disking
Field cultivator
No-till corn planting
Drill, no-till soybeans
Mowing and conditioning hay
Custom spreading lime without GPS
$ 5.25
Pull type pesticide spraying
$ 5.38
Pest scouting
$ 4.50 

The Monroe County Extension office has copies of E-2131 and Dennis Stein’s 
Saginaw Valley report available free of charge. For a copy, please call the 
office at 734-240-3170.

8. Fruit CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 9, June 3, 2008 

In this issue:
  Tree Fruit News
	Borer damage sighted in many cherry orchards
	TNRC trapline data: Cranberry fruitworm
  Small Fruit News
	Disease control in grapes critical during and after bloom
	Small fruit meeting
  Other News
	Regional reports
	Weather news

If you would like to access previous postings to the Mich-Organic listserv you can copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar