Read more Jersey Vegetable Crops Ag Updates @
Commercial Ag Updates
on the Rutgers Plant & Pest Advisory

Plant & Pest Advisory > Commercial Ag Updates and Farm Food Safety

Plant & Pest Advisory > Vegetable Crops

Contact Information

The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gnats in Pumpkin Flowers

Gnats on Pumpkin Flower
Photo by Michelle Infante-Casella
For the past 3 years, I have had growers complain about seeing gnats in pumpkin flowers this time of year. In each case, they do not seem to be causing any damage to the plants or healthy fruit. Rather, they are a nuisance in the field, especially for PYO pumpkin patches.

Most gnats are short lived. However, the major problem with gnats is they reproduce quickly, with eggs hatching 3-5 days after they are laid. They seem to congregate in open flowers and rotted fruit. Most likely they are feeding on the nectar inside flowers and are using the rotted fruit as a medium for laying eggs and as a food source for larvae. They should be killed by frost, however, pumpkin patches will also most likely be done when frost occurs.

 -Michelle Infante-Casella, Agricultural Agent

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Organic Farm Calls:
Squash Vine Borer and IPM Thresholds

From Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe
Recently, an organic grower with a variety of squash crops under low tunnels called Ag Agent Meredith Melendez about wilting plant symptoms.

Squash Vine Borer Injury
The various vine and bush varieties were decimated by squash vine borer (SVB) larvae root damage. Ornamental gourds were especially hard hit.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Farm Calls: Which fruit crops are best suited
for an organic Pick-Your-Own?

From Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe

Last week Meredith Melendez, Mercer County Ag Agent, fielded this question from a grower who currently runs a CSA and is considering adding PYO (pick-your-own) fruit to the farm's portfolio. 

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agents, including the Agritourism Team, weigh in with specific answers and solid advice.

They offer small-fruit crop suggestions, discuss the special problems related to organic cultivation of these crops, and comment on how agritourism activities can add to the farm's bottom-line.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reminder: Direct Marketing Twilight Meeting

Posted by: Michelle Infante-Casella, Agricultural Agent, Gloucester County

The first summer Direct Marketing Twilight Meeting will be held July 16 at 7:00PM at Duffield's Farm Market in Gloucester County. No registration needed. If you have an interest in direct marketing and/or agritourism, please join us. Tracy Duffield will be giving a tour of their operation with three generations working the farm. There will be an update on the VisitNJFarms website and the meeting will conclude with a business meeting of the New Jersey Farmers Direct Marketing Association. Educational materials, buy local/nutrition brochures (for customer handout) and Jersey Fresh price cards will be available for you to take home to use at your markets, courtesy of a grant project done by Rutgers NJAES and NJFB. Directions and Meeting Flyer

Monday, June 24, 2013

Heat Stress Prevention

by, Michelle Infante-Casella, Agricultural Agent

This week's forecast is for temperatures in the 90's with high humidity. Agricultural worker safety is important to agricultural employers. Some tips on preventing worker illness during hot weather include:

1. Drinking enough water to replace body fluids lost through sweating before, during and after work.
2. Gradually adjusing to working in the heat.
3. Taking periodic rest breaks in shaded or cooler areas whenever possible.
4. Careful monitoring of enviornmental conditions and worker health by supervisors.

Train workers to recognize, prevent and treat heat illness is important. Workers should take precautions like: getting enough rest, wear protective clothing, drink extra water, adjust work schedules if necessary.

Recognizing heat illness is also important. Sypmptoms include:
*Fatigue, *Nausea, *Muscle Aches, Weakness and Cramps, *Headaches, *Confusion or Anxiety, *Dizziness, *Fainting, *Drenching Sweats Accompanied by Clammy and Cool Skin and *Slowed or Weakened Heartbeat.

Giving immediate first aid when workers become ill is very important. If the sypmtoms are severe, if body temperature is at 104 F (40 C) or higher, and if the person is inconherent or unresponsive call 911 immediately. Take these steps to treat a person with heat illness:

1. Get the person out of the sun and heat and into a cool shady or air-conditioned area quickly.
2. Lay the person down with legs and feet elevated slightly.
3. Loosen or remove clothing.
4. Have the person drink cool water, sports drinks or other non-caffienated beverages.
5. Use a spray bottle or cool wet sponge/cloth to apply to the persons body and fan them. This will create evaporative cooling.
6. Monitor the person since heat exhaustion can quickly become heat stroke.

Alcohol, drug or other substance abuse will increase the risk of heat illness. Improving personal health will help prevent heat stress.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Farm Food Safety: FDA Q&A Printable Summary

- Meredith Melendez & Wes Kline

The Food Safety Modernization Act will impact most growers in New Jersey.

Food Safety Modernization Act FDA Q & A Sessions Proposed Produce Safety RuleOver the past weeks, we have posted the Questions and Answers for each of the conference calls focusing on subparts of the proposed Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act on the Plant and Pest Advisory Food Safety section. For your convenience, the Q&A's have been collected into a single PDF.

FDA Q&A: Proposed Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act
Click to View | Download | Print

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Online Training Available for Retail Farm Market Employees

Penn State Extension is offering a new online Retail Farm Market Employee Professional Development session to build the knowledge and confidence of your farm market personnel that handle, process, or merchandise fresh market produce. More details can be found here.
--Rick VanVranken