United States
Five new fertilizer-compatible products are expected to be available from Vive Crop Protection for U.S. corn, sugarbeet and potato growers in 2019. Each product includes a trusted active ingredient that has been improved with the patented Vive Allosperse Delivery System.

AZteroid FC 3.3 is a high-concentration, fertilizer-compatible fungicide that improves plant health, yield and quality of key field crops, including potatoes, sugarbeets and corn. AZteroid FC 3.3 controls seed and seedling diseases caused by Rhizoctonia solani and certain Pythium spp. It contains azoxystrobin, the same active ingredient as Quadris.

Bifender FC 3.1 controls corn rootworm, wireworm and other soil-borne pests in corn, potatoes and other rotational crops. Bifender FC 3.1 has a new high-concentration, fertilizer-compatible formulation and contains bifenthrin (same as Capture LFR).

TalaxTM FC fungicide provides systemic control of pythium and phytophthora, similar to Ridomil Gold SL but in a fertilizer-compatible formulation. Talax FC contains metalaxyl and helps potatoes and other crops thrive right from the start, resulting in improved yield and quality.

MidacTM FC systemic insecticide is a fertilizer-compatible imidacloprid formulation that controls below-ground and above-ground pests in potatoes and sugarbeets. It provides the same long-lasting protection of Admire PRO but with the convenience of being tank-mix compatible with fertilizers, micronutrients and other crop inputs.

AverlandTM FC insecticide is a fertilizer-compatible abamectin formulation that controls nematodes in corn. It also controls potato psyllid, spider mites, Colorado potato beetle and leaf miners in potatoes. In-furrow application trials for nematode control in a wide range of crops are under way.

All of these fertilizer-compatible products use the Vive Allosperse Delivery System - the first nanotechnology registered for U.S. crop protection. Products containing Allosperse are the best mixing products on the market, whether they are used with each other, liquid fertilizer, other crop protection products, micronutrients or just water.

Brent Petersen, president of Cropwise Research LLC, performed trials on behalf of Vive Crop Protection to test mixability of the company’s products. During spring 2018, he mixed all five of the new products together with liquid fertilizer and observed, “We didn’t see any separation or settling out. It was nice to see because we often see products that aren’t compatible with other products, and especially with liquid fertilizer.”

EPA registration is pending for Talax FC, Midac FC and Averland FC and the new formulations of AZteroid and Bifender.
Published in Weeds
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) recently launched a new product, Arctic ApBitz.

ApBitz dried apples are made 100 per cent from Arctic Golden apples – the first Arctic apple variety that doesn’t brown when bitten, sliced, or bruised.

The unique benefit, developed through biotechnology, means that Arctic apples, including ApBitz snacks, do not require preservatives and are just as healthy and delicious as their conventional counterparts.

“We decided to make Arctic ApBitz dried apples initially available online via Amazon.com so that everyone in the U.S. would have convenient access to our sweet and crunchable Arctic ApBitz snacks,” explains Neal Carter, president of OSF.

“One of the core initiatives behind Arctic apples is to help reduce unnecessary food waste. Acknowledging that not all fruit is suitably sized for slicing, we’ve been working on innovative ways to use our nonbrowning Arctic Goldens from this past harvest to give consumers more ways to eat more apples. ApBitz snacks are the result of these efforts and help us in our commitment to sustainability and the ability to maximize the benefit of our entire crop.”

OSF is gearing up to launch a summer social media contest as part of its promotional plan to create awareness about the new product.

The #BitzofSummer contest will have participants share on social media photos and videos of themselves enjoying ApBitz snacks on their summer adventures.

The contest will begin on June 29th and the grand prize winner will receive a trip to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, a world-class destination for wine, fruit and home to OSF. The winner will also receive the opportunity to dine with Neal Carter and learn more about the founding of OSF and development of our Arctic apples.

For more information, visit: https://www.arcticapples.com/win-a-trip-to-the-home-of-arctic-apples/

Published in Companies
Wayne Ackermann joins Bird Control Group after serving for years as a senior member of the management team of OVS Oregon Vineyard Supply.

“I was exposed to this innovative technology of using laser light for bird control while at OVS. It proved to work so well that I joined the team of Bird Control Group to help them expand their network of dealers throughout North America,” says Ackermann.

OVS-Oregon Vineyard Supply is known for offering new solutions to specialty fruit growers in the Northwest. This technology of using laser developed by Bird Control Group, based in The Netherlands, is a great example of a neighbor friendly and sustainable solution.

In a world with increasing demands for clean and safe food, effective and long-lasting bird control is crucial. Bird Control Group provides innovative products to keep birds at a distance from commercial activities, ensuring a safer working environment and a highly effective way of preventing damage. 

For more information, visit: www.birdcontrolgroup.com

Published in Companies
Late blight has been confirmed on tomato plants near Syracuse, New York (Onondaga County). At this time the late blight strain is not believed to be a known or common strain.

The late blight confirmation is the first reported in the North East this season. The find is close enough that potato and tomato growers in Ontario should be on alert for this disease. | READ MORE 
Published in Vegetables
The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association Inc. (NAFDMA) has announced the selection of Corey Connors as its new executive director.

This appointment comes after Charlie Touchette, who provided NAFDMA with association management services for nearly 20 years, formally concluded his tenure effective May 1, 2018. The selection of Connors was made after an extensive national search overseen by the NAFDMA Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to formally announce Corey’s appointment,” said Tom Tweite, President of NAFDMA.

Connors joins NAFDMA with over 17 years of leadership experience in the agriculture, retail and attractions industries. Most recently, he served as chief staff executive of the North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA).

Prior to NCNLA, he served in advocacy roles for several prominent national and international trade groups including the Society of American Florists (SAF), the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Connors holds a Master of Arts in Political Management from the George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clarion University.

“It is a genuine privilege and honor to serve this dynamic, growing industry,” said Connors. “Agritourism and farm direct marketing provide an unparalleled opportunity for consumers to reconnect to the family farm, creating unique experiences and rare opportunities to make precious memories.” He continued, “Our charge is clear: NAFDMA must provide cutting-edge tools and resources that support our community of innovators who seek to grow farm profitability while providing immeasurable benefits to their hometown.”

Connors begins his tenure at NAFDMA under a new operating structure, with the organization previously hiring on two additional direct employees last fall. This positions the association to have a stronger pulse on industry trends and will provide the opportunity to launch new member-focused programs and services. The first employees hired by NAFDMA include Membership Development and Services Manager, Lisa Dean and Education and Operations Manager, Jeff Winston.

“Interacting with motivated farm operators and entrepreneurs is rewarding. It is truly my pleasure to service our members,” said Dean.

“Having worked for this industry over the past five years, I’m excited to elevate the educational offerings that NAFDMA provides to each of its members,” said Winston.
Published in Associations
A group of fungi might fight a disease that’s dangerous to tomatoes and specialty crops. University of Florida scientists hope to develop this biological strategy as they add to growers’ tools to help control Fusarium wilt.

Using a $770,000, three-year grant from the USDA, Gary Vallad, associate professor of plant pathology, hopes to harness the advantages of fungi known as trichoderma to fight Fusarium wilt.

Vallad will work on the project with Seogchan Kang, Beth Gugino and Terrence Bell from the department of plant pathology and environmental microbiology at Pennsylvania State University and Priscila Chaverri from the department of plant science and landscape architecture at the University of Maryland.

Scientists hope to use trichoderma to supplement various pest-management methods to help control Fusarium wilt, Vallad said.

Trichoderma are ubiquitous fungi in soil and on plants, and they have been used in agriculture as biological control agents, he said.

UF/IFAS researchers have used trichoderma to try to control pathogens, but with little to no success. With this new round of research, they hope to understand what factors limit the fungus’ benefits as a biological control agent, Vallad said. That way, they hope to develop ways to increase its ability to control Fusarium wilt.

Growers began using other fumigants as methyl bromide was gradually phased out from 2005 until it was completely phased out of use in 2012, Vallad said. As growers tried various ways to control diseases, including alternative fumigants, they saw a re-emergence in soil-borne pathogens and pests on many specialty crops, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupes and strawberries, Vallad said.

When the project starts July 1, UF/IFAS researchers will do most of their experiments on trichoderma at the GCREC, but they’ll also use crops from commercial farmers during the project.

Vallad emphasizes that their research goes beyond Florida’s borders. Studies in Pennsylvania and Maryland will likely focus on small to medium-sized farm operations.

“We are focusing on tomato production Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania,” he said. “We hope that our findings will help improve management of Fusarium wilt with trichoderma-based biological control agents.”
Published in Research
An escalating trade fight between the United States and Mexico may affect B.C. apple growers in the Okanagan, experts say.

Mexico is the biggest customer of Washington state apples, buying up to $250 million's worth each year.

But Mexico now wants to slap a 20 per cent tariff on U.S. farm goods including apples in response to the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum. | READ MORE 
Published in Federal
An invasive pest that was initially contained within Pennsylvania has spread to Delaware and Virginia, and insect experts worry the next stop will be Ohio.

Spotted lanternflies suck sap from fruit crops and trees, which can weaken them and contribute to their death. Native to China, the insect was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania.

At this time, spotted lanternflies are still relatively far from the Ohio border. They have been found in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. However, they can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or items containing egg masses.

“The natural spread would take a long time, but it would be very easy to be moved through firewood or trees that are being relocated,” said Amy Stone, an educator with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

If it arrives in Ohio, the spotted lanternfly has the potential to do serious damage to the grape, apple, hops and logging industries, Stone said.

The lanternfly’s preferred meal is from the bark of Ailanthus or tree of heaven, which is typically not intentionally planted but instead grows on abandoned property and along rivers and highways.

Compared to the spotted wing drosophila or the brown marmorated stink bug, which seize on fruit and vegetable crops, the spotted lanternfly has a more limited palate so it likely would not do as much damage, said Celeste Welty an OSU Extension entomologist.

“Everybody’s fear is any new invasive pest will be like those two. But it seems to me, it’s not as much of a threat,” Welty said.

And unlike the spotted wing drosophila and the brown marmorated stink bug, the lanternfly is easy to spot because the adult bug is about 1 inch long and, with its wings extended, about 2 inches wide, Welty said.

For now, all that can be done to stem the spread of lanterflies is to stay watchful for their presence and any damage they may inflict. On trees, they zero in on the bark, particularly at the base of the tree. Lanternflies can cause a plant to ooze or weep and have a fermented odor. They can also cause sooty mold or a buildup of sticky fluid on plants as well as on the ground beneath infested plants.

An app developed by the CFAES School of Environment and Natural Resources allows users to report invasive species if they suspect that they have come across them. The app, which is called the Great Lakes Early Detection Network, features details about invasive species that people should be on the lookout for.

If someone sees a lanternfly, he or she should contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6201.
Published in Fruit
Manfredi Cold Storage recently expanded the facility by 70,000 sq. ft., for 400,000 total sq. ft. of cold storage space, and already plans are in the works for future expansion.

The distributor handles fruit, vegetables and foodstuffs from 22 countries, at zero to 55 Fahrenheit temperatures, in its facility that provides retailers with wireless, real-time inventory and access.

In order to keep such continued growth on track, effective operation has required the use of rugged drive-in rack, designed to the application, according to Rob Wharry, the facility’s director of operations.

“About 150 to 200 truckloads of product move in and out of our storage everyday – about 25,000 pallets – so the drive-in rack needs to be very durable and accessible,” says Wharry. “The product has to go out quickly and efficiently to grocery stores, club stores, distribution centers, and the food service industry.”

Drive-in racks enable storing of up to 75 per cent more pallets than selective rack and are ideal for high-traffic and cooler/freezer installations. With drive-in rack, forklifts drive directly into the rack to allow storage of two or more pallets deep.

But because forklifts drive directly into the rack, they tend to take more abuse than other rack structures. In cooler and freezer applications, the rack must withstand forklift abuse due to the confined space, slick surfaces, and cold temperatures that slow driver reflexes and make impact more frequent.

“We’re in and out of rack with heavy pallets and equipment so many times a day,” says Wharry. “It’s a fact of life that sometimes forklifts will run into the rack, so it just needs to be able to stand up to the daily use.”

Looking to optimize the rack’s durability and operation, the cold chain distributor turned to Steel King Industries, a storage system and pallet rack manufacturer. In the most recent expansion, about 4,000 pallets of refrigerated storage capacity were added. For this, Manfredi Cold Storage chose SK3000 pallet rack, a bolted rack with structural channel columns.

A number of rack features are helping the distributor to meet its strength, durability, and maintenance goals.

Compared to typical racking, the pallet rack constructed of hot-rolled structural channel column with full horizontal and diagonal bracing offers greater frame strength, durability and cross-sectional area. All Grade-5 hardware provides greater shear strength, and a heavy seven-gauge wrap-around connector plate ensures a square and plumb installation with a tighter connection and greater moment resistance.

The drive-in rack also includes a number of features that enhance ease-of-use and safety.

The drive-in load rail construction includes: structural angle rails that “guide” pallets for ease of use; flared rail entry ends to allow easy bay access; space-saver low profile arms that increase clearance and decrease possible product damage; welded aisle-side load arms that eliminate hazardous load projections into aisles; welded rail stops that prevent loads from being pushed off and increase safety; and two-inch vertical adjustability of the bolted rack, which allows for a variety of configurations for current or future products.

“The heavy rub rail inside the rack helps to guide the pallets in,” says Wharry. “The flared rail entry makes it easier to put pallets in and to take them out of the upper positions.”

For extra protection and reinforcement against forklift impact, a guard on the front of the rack’s first upright was added. The double column, welded angle column protector is designed for heavy pallets and provides additional strength.

According to Wharry, the vendor was also willing to accommodate their needs in other ways as well.

“Our operation is a little different than a typical storage customer because we’re dealing with lots of different sized products, so we had a very specific design in mind,” says Wharry. “Everything is specific to our application – rack height, width, pallet loads, and how we utilize it.”

The rack openings are about 12- to 16-inches taller than a standard rack opening to allow the use of very tall pallets, he says. Additional adjustments to the rack include the specific implementation of guards, heavy rail, and how it is anchored to the floor.

With continuing growth expected, Manfredi Cold Storage is already planning to start the construction of a new facility in southern New Jersey.

“When the new facility is constructed, the racking set up will be just like what we have here,” concludes Wharry. “We’ve determined what works for us and our customers, and
Published in Storage
When humans get bacterial infections, we reach for antibiotics to make us feel better faster. It’s the same with many economically important crops. For decades, farmers have been spraying streptomycin on apple and pear trees to kill the bacteria that cause fire blight, a serious disease that costs over $100 million annually in the United States alone.

But just like in human medicine, the bacteria that cause fire blight are becoming increasingly resistant to streptomycin. Farmers are turning to new antibiotics, but it’s widely acknowledged that it’s only a matter of time before bacteria become resistant to any new chemical. That’s why a group of scientists from the University of Illinois and Nanjing Agricultural University in China are studying two new antibiotics—kasugamycin and blasticidin S—while there’s still time.

“Kasugamycin has been proven effective against this bacterium on apples and pears, but we didn’t know what the mechanism was. We wanted to see exactly how it’s killing the bacteria. If bacteria develop resistance later on, we will know more about how to attack the problem,” says Youfu Zhao, associate professor of plant pathology in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I, and co-author on a new study published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.

The bacterium that causes fire blight, Erwinia amylovora, is a relative of E. coli, a frequently tested model system for antibiotic sensitivity and resistance. Studies in E. coli have shown that kasugamycin and blasticidin S both enter bacterial cells through two transporters spanning the cell membrane. These ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are known as oligopeptide permease and dipeptide permease, or Opp and Dpp for short.

The transporters normally ferry small proteins from one side of the membrane to the other, but the antibiotics can hijack Opp and Dpp to get inside. Once inside the cell, the antibiotics attack a critical gene, ksgA, which leads to the bacterium’s death.

Zhao and his team wanted to know if the same process was occurring in Erwinia amylovora.

They created mutant strains of the bacterium with dysfunctional Opp and Dpp transporters, and exposed them to kasugamycin and blasticidin S.

The researchers found that the mutant strains were resistant to the antibiotics, suggesting that Opp and Dpp were the gatekeepers in Erwinia amylovora, too.

Zhao and his team also found a gene, RcsB, that regulates Opp and Dpp expression. “If there is higher expression under nutrient limited conditions, that means antibiotics can be transported really fast and kill the bacteria very efficiently,” he says.

The researchers have more work ahead of them to determine how Opp/Dpp and RcsB could be manipulated in Erwinia amylovora to make it even more sensitive to the new antibiotics, but Zhao is optimistic.

“By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of resistance, we can develop methods to prevent it. In the future, we could possibly change the formula of kasugamycin so that it can transport efficiently into bacteria and kill it even at low concentrations,” he says. “We need to understand it before it happens.”

The article, “Loss-of-function mutations in the Dpp and Opp permeases render Erwinia amylovora resistant to kasugamycin and blasticidin S,” is published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions [DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-01-18-0007-R]. Additional authors include Yixin Ge, Jae Hoon Lee, and Baishi Hu. The work was supported by a grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Published in Research
Engage Agro Corporation is pleased to announce the tolerance for chlormequat chloride, the active ingredient in MANIPULATOR Plant Growth Regulator, has been established for wheat in the United States.

The U.S. MRL is consistent with CODEX.

Engage Agro has worked closely with the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA), and they have informed their members that the U.S. tolerance for Manipulator on wheat is established.

After years of very encouraging field tests, Engage Agro is excited to introduce Manipulator Plant Growth Regulator to wheat producers across Canada. This technology will help producers realize the full potential of high yielding wheat varieties while dramatically reducing lodging.

Engage Agro looks forward to working closely with Canadian wheat producers to ensure maximum benefits of Manipulator Plant Growth regulator are realized.
Published in Companies
Allium leaf miner (Phytomyza gymnostoma) an invasive pest of European origin, has recently been identified in several U.S. states, including: Pennsylvania (2015), New Jersey (2016), New York (2017), and Maryland (2017), representing the first records in the Western Hemisphere.

Allium leaf miner is an insect pest similar to leek moth, as it causes a substantial amount of damage to Allium crops at the larval stage. Larvae mine into the leaves, stalks, and/or bulbs of leeks, onions (dry bulb, green), garlic, shallots and chives. As they grow, larvae move towards the bulb and sheath leaves, where they often pupate. The galleries in the tissue leave the plant susceptible to infection by fungi and bacteria. Symptoms of feeding injury vary depending on the host plant and its stage of development. Very high rates of injury, including up to 100 per cent crop loss, have been reported. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in Vegetables
Sakata Seed America recently announced the launch of its new, mobile-responsive website for the vegetable side of their business. The organizational structure of the new www.SakataVegetables.com closely mirrors that of the previous site, allowing users who have used the Sakata vegetables website previously to enjoy a seamless experience when transitioning to the new website.

“We’re thrilled to launch this new mobile optimized site for Sakata vegetables. This tool will allow our customers, growers and retailers alike to access all of the great information on our website wherever they may need it from whatever device they have handy!” states Alicia Suits, Sakata’s communications manager.

Coupled with a sleek and clean new interface, the website allows for easy, responsive access from phone, tablet or desktop and creates not only ease of viewing information but optimizes downloading capabilities for the site’s assortment of product brochures, field charts, educational videos, harvest schedules and more.

In addition, the new website improves the user experience for Sakata customers, providing easier access to order tracking and seed availability information through the password-protected customer ‘Service Center.’

“The goal of this new site is to keep us and our customers up to speed with the shifting technology trends in our industry. More and more we see people reaching for their phones in the field, in a sales meeting and on the tradeshow floor... Printed literature is slowly becoming obsolete in favor of digital versions. Our new site takes all of the great information from our previous site and allows for better functionality and accessibility from any device,” continues Suits.

What’s next? A responsive renovation of Sakata’s ornamentals website, www.SakataOrnamentals.com, set to launch in early 2019.
Published in Companies
In the past 10 years, the invasive fruit fly known as the spotted-wing drosophila has caused millions of dollars of damage to berry and other fruit crops.

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of manipulating the genes of an agricultural pest that has invaded much of the United States and caused millions of dollars in damage to high-value berry and other fruit crops.

Research led by Anna Buchman in the lab of Omar Akbari, a new UC San Diego insect genetics professor, describes the world’s first “gene drive” system—a mechanism for manipulating genetic inheritance—in Drosophila suzukii, a fruit fly commonly known as the spotted-wing drosophila.

As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Buchman and her colleagues developed a gene drive system termed Medea (named after the mythological Greek enchantress who killed her offspring) in which a synthetic “toxin” and a corresponding “antidote” function to dramatically influence inheritance rates with nearly perfect efficiency.

“We’ve designed a gene drive system that dramatically biases inheritance in these flies and can spread through their populations,” said Buchman. “It bypasses normal inheritance rules. It’s a new method for manipulating populations of these invasive pests, which don’t belong here in the first place.”

Native to Japan, the highly invasive fly was first found on the West Coast in 2008 and has now been reported in more than 40 states.

The spotted wing drosophila uses a sharp organ known as an ovipositor to pierce ripening fruit and deposit eggs directly inside the crop, making it much more damaging than other drosophila flies that lay eggs only on top of decaying fruit. Drosophila suzukii has reportedly caused more than $39 million in revenue losses for the California raspberry industry alone and an estimated $700 million overall per year in the U.S.

In contained cage experiments of spotted wing drosophila using the synthetic Medea system, the researchers reported up to 100 percent effective inheritance bias in populations descending 19 generations.

“We envision, for example, replacing wild flies with flies that are alive but can’t lay eggs directly in blueberries,” said Buchman.

Applications for the new synthetic gene drive system could include spreading genetic elements that confer susceptibility to certain environmental factors, such as temperature.

If a certain temperature is reached, for example, the genes within the modified spotted wing flies would trigger its death. Other species of fruit flies would not be impacted by this system.

“This is the first gene drive system in a major worldwide crop pest,” said Akbari, who recently moved his lab to UC San Diego from UC Riverside, where the research began. “Given that some strains demonstrated 100 per cent non-Mendelian transmission ratios, far greater than the 50 percent expected for normal Mendelian transmission, this system could in the future be used to control populations of D. suzukii.”

Another possibility for the new gene drive system would be to enhance susceptibility to environmentally friendly insecticides already used in the agricultural industry.

“I think everybody wants access to quality fresh produce that’s not contaminated with anything and not treated with toxic pesticides, and so if we don’t deal with Drosophila suzukii, crop losses will continue and might lead to higher prices,” said Buchman. “So this gene drive system is a biologically friendly, environmentally friendly way to protect an important part of our food supply.”

Co-authors of the paper include: John Marshall of UC Berkeley, Dennis Ostrovski of UC Riverside and Ting Yang of UC Riverside and now UC San Diego. The California Cherry Board supported the research through a grant.
Published in Research
Bayer announces the launch of Luna Sensation fungicide in Canada for stone fruit, root vegetables, cucurbit vegetables, leafy green vegetables, leafy petiole vegetables, brassica vegetables and hops.

The foliar product is a co-formulation of two fungicide modes of action, a unique Group 7 SDHI (fluopyram) and a proven Group 11 (trifloxystrobin) to deliver superior disease control, resulting in higher yields and exceptional fruit quality.

“Luna Sensation gives Canadian growers further access to the excellent disease control provided by Luna,” said Jon Weinmaster, crop & campaign marketing manager, corn & horticulture. “It’s designed for optimal efficacy on specific crops and diseases, most of which are not covered by the Luna Tranquility label, a product that has proven invaluable to many horticulture growers for several years already.”

Luna Sensation is a systemic fungicide that targets highly problematic diseases such as sclerotinia rot, powdery mildew, and monilinia.

It also has added benefits for soft fruit.

“Experiences of U.S. and Canadian growers show that Luna offers post-harvest benefits in soft fruit, improving quality during transit and storage”, says Weinmaster “It’s an added benefit that comes from excellent in-crop disease control.”

The addition of Luna Sensation from Bayer extends the trusted protection of the Luna brand to a broader range of crops:
  • Luna Tranquility, a Group 7 and Group 9 fungicide, is registered for apples, grapes, tomatoes, bulb vegetables, small berries and potatoes
  • Luna Sensation is registered for stone fruit, root vegetables, cucurbit vegetables, leafy green and petiole vegetables, brassica vegetables and hops
Luna Sensation will be available to Canadian growers for the 2018 season.

For more information regarding Luna Sensation, growers are encouraged to talk to their local retailer or visit: cropscience.bayer.ca/LunaSensation
Published in Diseases
Todd Greiner Farms Packing, LLC., a leading Michigan asparagus grower/packer/shipper, recently revealed production and packaging plans for the 2018 retail season.

To facilitate growth, the company recently completed a 20,000 square-foot addition to its packinghouse which is the second expansion in the last 12 months and includes two new controlled atmosphere/cold storage rooms and two new shipping and receiving docks.

“We expanded the packinghouse so we could be more responsive to our retail customer’s preferences for value-added product, to increase production, and to modernize our expanding operations,” said Todd Greiner, CEO and president of Todd Greiner Farms.

An important addition to the expansion is a new “flow-wrap style” bagging line that will initially package fresh asparagus into new 16oz bags. The value-added microwave bags were introduced last season to meet the growing consumer trend for quick and easy meal solutions.

After a successful 2017 test, a few modifications were made to increase the package size from a 12 oz to 16 oz bag and make facility changes to increase efficiencies.

It is estimated that the new machine will be able to package 50 to 60 bags per minute compared to the previous hand-packing system of eight to 10 bags per minute.

This is a critical time, labor and cost savings as the company expects to handle 20 to 25 per cent more asparagus this year to support growing demand.

“We were basically at capacity last year. With existing customers asking us to do more, and new business on the horizon, we simply would not be able to keep pace without this much needed expansion,” Greiner said.

Now that all packing facilities are under one roof – previously the company operated two packing sheds in different locations – operations will be streamlined with a more efficient and simple process for tasks including shipping, inventory and food safety certifications.

Greiner notes that the expansion will also allow the company to increase production of other commodities including zucchini, summer squash and sweet corn.

The Michigan asparagus season typically runs early-May to late-June with promotable volumes expected for Memorial Day so it is time to set adds now.

In addition to its locally grown, domestic pedigree, Michigan asparagus is also known for being “hand snapped” versus ground cut. The end result of this harvest technique is an all green, all edible spear with more shelf appeal and more total yield per spear.
Published in Companies
There’s a dramatic shift in consumer preference to more locally sourced, sustainably grown foods, with sales expected to top $20.2 billion by 2019.

The local food market is fertile ground for FreshSpoke, a Canadian tech start-up that caught the attention of Food-X and earned them a place as one of only eight companies at their leading food-tech accelerator based in New York City.

Food-X is the largest global investor in early stage food companies and receives hundreds of applications each cohort.

“We work with a handful of companies that have big ideas and the potential to make a difference in the food industry”, comments Peter Bodenheimer, program director at FOOD-X. “We believe that FreshSpoke’s marketplace platform will revolutionize the way retailers and restaurants procure local food.”

FreshSpoke is tackling the marketing and distribution challenges that have kept most farmers and micro-producers out of the wholesale market.

“Consumers care about local and sustainably grown food and are willing to spend more to get it”, states Marcia Woods, CEO and passionate force behind FreshSpoke, “and the restaurants and retailers that are keeping pace with this trend want a reliable and cost effective procurement solution like FreshSpoke.”

FreshSpoke’s platform handles the order, payment and delivery for farmers, growers as well as food and beverage artisans, and gives wholesale buyers a direct pipeline to fresh, local food, delivered to their door using a shared delivery system.

“Instead of putting more trucks on the road, FreshSpoke leverages the excess capacity that exists in the delivery system”, explains Ms. Woods. “This drives down cost and gives commercial drivers, including producers, the ability to earn extra income delivering local food.”

FreshSpoke has struck a chord as some 300 Canadian wholesale businesses are now registered buyers with access to an online catalogue of over 1,500 products from some 175 local producers. This Spring, FreshSpoke will launch to wholesale buyers and producers in the U.S., beginning in Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan.

The notion of a centralized marketplace for wholesale buyers to procure local food comes as good news for farm to table restaurateur, Scott Bowman of Fowl & Fodder in Toledo, Ohio. “I’m excited about FreshSpoke coming to our region because I need to fill gaps in my local produce sourcing during the off-season, and I’m excited to have a more diverse list of locally available product for my seasonal menu.”

For more information about FreshSpoke, visit their web site at www.freshspoke.com or call 844.483-7374.
Published in Companies
Good nutrition is essential for supporting potato plant health and providing the necessary defense against plant disease and stress.

The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), J.R. Simplot Company, and Tennessee State University have collaborated on a new publication that provides readers with access to a unique collection of hundreds of high resolution photographs that document a wide range of nutrient deficiency symptoms in potato plants with remarkable clarity.

"IPNI is fortunate to collaborate with Dr. Pitchay and Simplot in producing this world-class collection of photographs and information," said Dr. Robert Mikkelsen, vice president, IPNI Communications and co-author of the book.

Developed within a unique greenhouse system at Tennessee State University, this collection provides examples of mild, moderate, and severe cases of deficiencies of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn). The identification of nutrient deficiencies in the field can be a difficult process and this collection provides farmers, crop advisers, and mineral nutrition researchers with a valuable diagnostic tool. Once the underlying deficiency is known, strategies can be developed to help avoid losses in yield or crop quality.

“This has been a tremendous opportunity to work with leading scientists to develop a world class collection of fully documented photos describing the major crop nutritional problems commonly observed in the field,” explains Dr. Terry Tindall, director of agronomy for Simplot.

The book is now available to download from the IPNI Store. For more information, visit: http://info.ipni.net/ebooks

Published in Vegetables
Ithica, N.Y. – Stressed-out yeast is a big problem, at least for winemakers.

The single-celled organism responsible for turning sugars into alcohol experiences stress which changes its performance during fermentation. For vintners, stressed yeast introduces difficult production dilemmas that can change the efficiency and even flavor during winemaking.

Patrick Gibney, assistant professor in the department of food science at Cornell University, is on a mission to help New York state wineries. Gibney is working out how metabolic pathways within a yeast cell determine those changes, with implications for how wine is produced.

“Yeast has many significant, perhaps underappreciated, impacts on the public,” Gibney said. “It is critical for producing beer, wine and cider. Yeast is also a common food ingredient additive and is used to produce vaccines and other compounds in the biotech industry. This tiny organism has an enormous impact on human life.”

Yeast has a long history as a model to understand the inner workings of eukaryote cell biology. Gibney, who has been researching yeast for the last 15 years, is interested in factors that affect whether cells become more resistant to stress.

“In other industries, product uniformity is prized, but for winemakers, the year-to-year variations are often more valuable,” Gibney said. “There are dozens of fungi and bacteria that could all make the process go very wrong — or they might add combinations of flavors or odors that are really good. It’s very complex.”

Gibney is collaborating with E&J Gallo Winery scientists and research teams as he applies his expertise in yeast biology to improve production across the wine industry.

In the summer of 2017, the company invited Gibney to meet people involved with wine production from different perspectives: microbiology, quality control, systems biology, and chemistry. Those conversations are already reaping benefits, as Gibney has outlined several major projects for which he and Gallo scientists are crafting research plans.

One project would tackle sluggish fermentations. “Sometimes you’re fermenting and it slows or stops completely. It’s often a microbiology problem,” Gibney said. He plans to gather samples from New York state wineries that have had this issue and inspect them at their most basic levels.

For Gibney, the research is an opportunity to benefit the wine industry in New York and beyond: “It’s exciting to contribute to the scientific research already coming from CALS and help make advances that will help winemakers innovate with their products.”
Published in Research
David Pratt, formerly of Michigan Sugar Company and Michigan State University recently joined Vive Crop Protection as a technical sales associate.

In the technical sales associate role, Pratt will work with cutting-edge crop protection products in sugar beets and potatoes, managing field trials and presenting information to farmers to help increase profitability on their farms.

Pratt holds a Masters in Science, Agronomy from Michigan State University and his focus will be on AZteroid FC fungicide and Bifender FC insecticide, as well as demonstrating three new products launching in 2019 for potato and sugar beet growers.

AZteroid FC provides excellent disease control and plant health benefits while Bifender FC controls important below-ground insects including rootworm and wireworm. Both products can be mixed in the tank with starter fertilizer, saving farmers money, time and hassle.

Dr. Darren Anderson, President of Vive Crop Protection says, “David’s background in both university and private industry research will help potato and sugarbeet growers to get the best from our products, and will also help us develop new solutions for those customers.”
Published in Companies
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