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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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pythium in Tomato and Pepper

Yesterday I was in tomato and pepper fields looking at problems in both these crops. Tomato showed magnesium deficiency (interveinal chlorosis in older leaves). Some plants showed wilting, some dramatic, some wilting slightly. At first glance of inspecting roots they looked fine. When tugging on the outer covering of the roots they slid off incidicating Pythium root rot. Cutting open the stem at the base showed slight browning of the vascular system. The same root and stem symptoms were found in pepper. Growers admit with the heat and heavy crop loads this time of year they have been pushing water to keep plants going and to prevent blossom end rot. However, high amounts of soil moisture has made for favorable conditions for disease infection. Be sure to not over water crops. The use of soil moisture monitoring devices is so important to accurately irrigate fields. Nutrient deficiencies can also be induced from not having a healthy root system to uptake nutrients like Calcium and Magnesium and others.
Michelle Infante-Casella
Agricultural Agent
Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension, Gloucester Co.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug hatching now

Growers are reporting seeing newly hatched nymphs and egg masses of stink bugs in peppers. If the antennae have a white/yellow band, they are likely Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Consult the 2011 Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations for control options. RCE Vegetable Entomologist Gerry Ghidiu indicates most of what's labeled is listed in the production manual though Orthene and a couple of others have added BMSB to their labels. Now is the time to control them. They're most susceptible when you see egg masses and newly hatched nymphs that can't fly yet.

Also consult our new BMSB page to monitor the insect's spread in NJ:

Cucurbit Downy Mildew and Alternaria in Atlantic County

Cucurbit downy mildew was observed yesterday on cucumber on a small farm near Mays Landing, NJ. Andy's last recommendation called for all commercial cucurbit growers to include a downy mildew specific fungicide(s) in their weekly fungicide program. For more information on controlling cucurbit downy mildew please see the 2011 Commercial Vegetable Recommendations.

On an adjacent planting of muskmelons, similar chlorotic spots progressed to necrotic bull's eye lesions and turned out to be alternaria. Equally devastating to cucurbits, preventative applications of products containing chlorothalonil or mancozeb (be aware of sensitive varieties) are the same as for Downy Mildew, but rotation to alternate FRAC groups is slightly different. Consult the Commercial Vegetable Recommendations for alternatives.

Rick VanVranken

About nuturing the Jersey tomato

Words to the wise from blogging co-conspirator and "Rutgers expert on sustainable agriculture", Jack Rabin, on growing Jersey tomatoes:
“If you are not doing this intelligently, it’s a path to misery.”

Full story and nice article on a Jersey tomato value-added success story here.
Rick VanVranken

National US Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee needs your input

Don't let California set all the rules! From the Imperial Valley News (July 11, 2011),
California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross is encouraging members of the California agricultural community to nominate representatives of the state’s fruit and vegetable industry to serve on the nation’s Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee for the 2011-2013 term.

Monday, July 11, 2011

pepper weevil found at farm in Hammonton area

A single adult pepper weevil was found on a pheromone trap at a Hammonton area farm on Friday, July 8th.  This is a reminder to all pepper growers to be vigilant for pepper weevil.  Pepper weevil is an occasional pest in New Jersey that has caused severe yield reduction in peppers.  In 2005, one farm suffered severe loss and since 2007 at least one farm per summer has been infested in southern New Jersey.

Pepper weevil is not a migratory pest nor can it over-winter in New Jersey.  The weevil is incapable of diapausing (non-feeding, quiescent period) so it needs a constant food supply.  The weevils have to be transported into the state from other locations.  It is still not clear how these infestations occur so frequently in the Hammonton area.

The weevils can be monitored using pheromone traps or scouted for by looking for aborted blossoms and small fruit.  Adult females lay one or more eggs in the flowers or developing fruit which the plant aborts.  These flowers and fruit can be cut open to determine whether weevil grubs are inside.  Egg scars are visible on developing fruit as small dimples with a dark center.

The earlier in the growing season the weevils are found, the greater the potential loss will be and should be aggressively managed.  Late season infestations may cause little marketable yield loss and there may be less need for insecticide applications.

Joe Ingerson-Mahar