Regional reports on Michigan vegetables – August 31, 2011
MSU Extension educators’ pest and vegetable updates for Michigan.
This week’s regional reports:
Precipitation measured from 0.2 to 0.5 inches a week ago today (August 31) and soil conditions are on the dry side. There was some crop damage from heavy rains and wind on August 20. Growers are at peak harvest on all crops.
In sweet corn, European trap catches are very low and while a few corn earworm moths are still appearing in traps, the numbers are low. While damage from worms may be found, it doesn’t seem to be widespread or severe. Bt varieties are certainly helping with this.
Winter squash and Halloween pumpkins are now being shipped along with ornamental gourds. I am seeing some excellent quality and hoping for an extended period of good harvest and curing weather.
Storage onion harvest is underway and the results of spring flooding are evident in some fields. We are seeing this with carrots as well.
Cucumber harvest is winding down and downy mildew pressure has taken its toll in vine decline. Fall mums are appearing at farmer’s markets.
Oceana County has had no rain in the last 10 days. Irrigation is still going on in crops that require it such as carrots, broccoli and late snap beans.
In asparagus, this dry weather may be helpful in preventing a late, parasitic flush of new fern. Unfortunately, it is hard on early seeded rye cover crops. Late seeded rye cover crops will just sit on the surface until rain comes then germinate.
Most of our zucchini growers will finish up harvest this week. In spite of the disease and pollination problems, everyone I’ve talked to managed to meet their processing contract tonnage. Early Jack O’Lantern pumpkin harvest will start the week after next and demand for pumpkins already appears strong.
As is normal at this point in the season, powdery mildew is an on-going problem in vine crops. Pickle and cucumber growers seem to be coping with downy mildew problems OK this year.
In carrots, hot weather continues to slow sizing of the crop. I could not find enough aster leafhoppers last week to run an index, but have one collected for this week.
I only caught one European corn borer moth this week. However, my corn earworm catch remained moderately high at 20 moths. Corn earworm will only be a concern in sweet corn for a week or so, but is also of concern for the late planting of snap beans.
Processing broccoli harvest is now underway and will continue into September. Growers normally take two harvests on each field.
Growers worry about the availability of harvest labor for late crops like broccoli and Jack O’Lanterns. Locally, they are in competition with the cling peach and apple industries for what, this year, was a very limited supply of labor.