Wireworms in Nova Scotia

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wireworms in transplants
For those of you who missed Dr. Christine Noronha's presentation on wireworms last week, you can find her presentation here

While many areas in Nova Scotia thankfully do not report wireworm problems, there are definitely high populations in some fields.  Last spring, we set traps in a few fields around the province.  Below is a graph from a vegetable field in Colchester County, showing high numbers of Agriotes sputator, one of the more voracious click beetle (adult wireworm) species.  Click beetle flight happens earlier in the warmer parts of the province such as the Valley.

Click beetle catch in Colchester County, 2016.

Perennia has set out some click beetle pheromone traps again this year, and we just collected our first sample.  Below is a photo of our first "haul" from Annapolis County.  On the left is A. obscurus, the middle is A. sputator, and on the right is A. lineatus.  Pheromone traps only attract males, so do not reduce the click beetle/wireworm population, but do give us a good idea of pest levels.  

May 23, 2017 click beetle catch from Annapolis County.

Pruning cherry tomatoes

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Northern NY Agricultural Development Program did a trial on pruning efficiencies in cherry tomato production.  There were three treatments:
  1.     Single Leader (one leader, all suckers removed), spaced at 12 inches
  2.     Double Leader Treatment, spaced at 18”
  3.     Four Leader Treatment, spaced at 18”
The results were surprising:  Single Leader actually resulted in the least labour over the season, in part because of efficiencies gained during harvest.  The Single Leader allowed for more cherry tomato grams harvested per minute.  The Four Leader treatment actually resulted in the most labour, as picking was slowed by the tangled growth, almost twice the amount of labour (training and harvesting) went into Four Leader production compared to Single Leader production.

Yields were comparable between the Four Leader and the Double Leader treatment, with the Single Leader treatment slightly lower.  However, Single Leader production resulted in higher yields earlier in the season when prices are the highest. 

If labour efficiency is paramount on your farm, or if you want to capitalized on early season prices, you might want to consider Single Leader pruning in your cherry tomatoes.  If you are looking for a balance between yield and labour, consider choosing Double Leader option.  You can read the full 2015-2016 Northern NY Agricultural Development Program Report here, and also take a closer look at the data here

Wireworm updates

Monday, May 8, 2017

Dr. Christine Noronha is an entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in PEI with a particular interest in wireworms.  She will be visiting Nova Scotia this week and will give an overview of wireworms and their lifecycle (similar to last year’s presentation), as well as the most recent updates and highlights from her research into this pest. 

The presentation will take place at the Kentville Research Station (32 Main Street, Kentville) on Friday, May 12th, 2017 at 9 am in the Perennia Training Room.  I know it’s a busy time of year, but we hope you can join us! 

Re-evaluation of Glyphosate

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pesticides must go through rigorous science-based assessments before being approved for sale in Canada, and undergo a cyclical re-evaluation to ensure they continue to meet modern health and environment safety standards.  During this re-examination, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) assessed the potential human health risk of glyphosate from drinking water, food, occupational and bystander exposure, as well as the environmental risk to non-target organisms.  Both the active ingredient and formulated products were included in the re-evaluation, and were found to pose minimum risk to health and the environment.  For a detailing of the re-evaluation, please see: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_decisions/rvd2017-01/index-eng.php

Some further measures to minimize risk have been added; expect to see these changes appearing on product labels in the near future.

Human Health
  • To protect commercial and residential applicators: glyphosate is not to be applied using hand-wicking or hand-daubing methods.
  • To protect workers entering treated sites: a restricted-entry interval (REI) of 12 hours is required for agricultural uses.
  • To protect bystanders: a statement is required indicating that the product is to be applied only when the potential for drift to areas of human habitation or areas of human activity, such as houses, cottages, schools and recreational areas, is minimal.
  • Environmental hazard statements are added to inform users of toxicity to non-target species.
  • Spray buffer zones to protect non-target terrestrial and aquatic habitats are required.
  • To reduce the potential for runoff of glyphosate to adjacent aquatic habitats, precautionary statements for sites with characteristics that may be conducive to runoff and when heavy rain is forecasted are required. In addition, a vegetative strip between the treatment area and the edge of a water body is recommended to reduce runoff of glyphosate to aquatic areas.

Carrot Pest Activity

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ontario has a Carrot Pest Activity Calendar, which is a great resource to help you predict when pests might start to become a problem. You can find the full calendar here: https://onvegetables.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/carrot-pest-activity-calendar.pdf  As the calendar is based on Ontario dates, there will be slight variation for Nova Scotia conditions, but it's well worth a read! 

Integrated Weed Management in Cucurbits

Monday, February 27, 2017

Plywood separators used to partition a grain drill seed box.
In the Fall of 2016, Perennia, in conjunction with local growers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, undertook a new on-farm trial that demonstrates the use of mulched cover crops to suppress weeds and promote soil health in cucurbit production.  

Partitions expertly secured with a suitable application of duct tape.
In a previous project (Cover crops and zone tillage for reduced risk weed management in field vegetables in Eastern Canada), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists evaluated weed control methods in cucurbits using cover crops and generated recommendations for using certain techniques to manage weeds in squash production. The technique that we are trying in Nova Scotia integrates the use of fall-seeded rye and banded fall-seeded oats.  

Two rows of oats seeded for eight rows of rye, September 30, 2016.
Oat and rye establishment on October 19, 2016.

The oats will winter-kill, leaving a clear narrow band into which squash can be planted.  The surviving rye is left to grow until late spring at which point it is rolled down to serve as a weed-controlling mulch. This technique has been shown to reduce weed pressure and the amount of herbicides needed, as well as increase marketable squash yield. Squash that is grown on the rolled down rye mulch should be cleaner at harvest, have less disease symptoms, and require less cleaning prior to heading to market.
Another added benefit of this system is the organic matter that the cover crops will add to the soil.  This, along with the season-long soil cover provided by the mulch, will contribute to improvements in soil health.  The mulch will protect the soil from erosion and will also preserve soil moisture should we have a repeat of last year's growing conditions!

We intend to hold a field day this summer to demonstrate this technique, stay tuned for more details!!  
Winter-killed oats alternating with fall rye, January 31, 2017.

Consultation on proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is currently accepting comments on the proposed regulations  through the Safe Food for Canadians Act.  The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations mostly pertain to businesses that import or export food or prepare food to be exported or sold across provincial lines.  You can have your say about the proposed regulations by going here: http://inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/acts-and-regulations/regulatory-initiatives/sfca/consultation/eng/1426531180176/1426531265317 The deadline for comments is April 21, 2017.

At the above link you will also have access to several interactive tools, such as: