Growing degree days since April 1:1849 GDD (Average (11 year):1669) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:79.3°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Study offers new method of identifying sweet corn hybrids for increased yield and profit.Corn hybrids with improved tolerance to crowding stress, grown at higher plant populations than their predecessors, have been a driver of rising field corn yields in recent decades.Large differences in crowding stress tolerance (CST) recently reported among popular sweet corn processing hybrids has growers and processors wondering if newly emerging hybrids also offer improved CST.For more information, click here.

Food Safety Considerations for Food Crops.According to the Illinois State Climatologist, after a record-setting June, as well as a wet May beforehand and a wet July so far, we are seeing the agricultural impacts of the wet growing season.Right now, the state-wide July precipitation in Illinois is at 3.1 inches.That is about 50% above the long-term average for this time in the month.

With all of this precipitation, what are the issues facing growers in light of our current growing conditions?Flooding is defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "flowing or overflowing of a field with water outside a grower's control." Due to microbial and other concerns, produce cannot be harvested and sold into the public food supply once it contacts flood water.The FDA publication, Guidance for Industry:Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption, provides guidance to growers on how to evaluate the safety of flood-affected food crops for human consumption including:

  • safety of food crops when flood waters contacted the edible portions of the crops;
  • safety of food crops when flood waters did NOT contact the edible portions of the crops;
  • assessment of flood-affected fields before replanting;and
  • additional controls to avoid cross-contamination after flooding.
For more information, check out the article, Food Safety Considerations for Flooded Vegetable Crops in the July 9 issue of Vegetable Crops Hotline.For organic growers, check out this excellent article by Jim Riddle, Impact of Flooding on Organic Food and Fields, that explores the immediate and long-term impacts of flooding on organic farms, foods, and fields. Jim also presented a webinar on this topic that is available on eXtension at Flooding and Organic Certification Webinar.
Mark Your Calendar - 2015 Pumpkin Day.Illinois is the leading state in pumpkin production.More than 90% of processing pumpkins produced in the United States are grown and processed in Illinois.If you want to learn more about raising pumpkins or get the latest information on new varieties and pest management practices, make sure to attend the annual Pumpkin Field Day hosted by the University of Illinois Extension.The 2015 Pumpkin Field Day will be held on Wednesday, Sept.2 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m..For additional information and to register, click here.

Growing degree days since April 1:1690 GDD (Average (11 year):1490) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:75.7°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

They're Back!!! Japanese Beetle have been with us for several weeks now.They will feed on over 250 different plants, but do have their favorites.Sevin is a very effective product against the beetle.When you first notice the beetles, take action, as they send out pheromones when feeding begins, letting their buddies know about the feast.(Mike Roegge, University of Illinois Extension) Click here for a University of Illinois publication that discusses the discusses lifecycle, scouting and management.

Spotted Wing Drosophila.Since June 22 we have consistently captured a few spotted wing Drosophila flies in traps at the University of Illinois Fruit Research Farm at Urbana (12 traps checked 2-3 times per week).Numbers of adults captured in traps have not been high (less than 3 per trap over 2-3 days), and nearly all have been females.On June 17 we first found larvae in mulberries and tart cherries by using sugar water flotation, and earlier this week we found 90 larvae per 50-gram sample of black raspberries and 197 larvae per 50-gram sample of red raspberries.(Samples came from unsprayed plants at University of Illinois Fruit Research Farm at Urbana.) Everyone who grows raspberries and blackberries commercially (and backyard growers as well) must control this insect to see a marketable or usable crop.See the March 19, 2015, issue of the Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News for information on scouting and management.(Dr.Rick Weinzierl, University of Illinois) Click here for some short post-harvest interval (PHI) and organic options. Also check out this article, New Research Shows Spotted Wing Drosophila Repellent Naturally Produced in Fruits here.

Healthy Soil is a Weather Risk Management Tool, According to Report.Healthy soil can protect us from drought and flood impacts, saving farms, rural communities, and even the American agriculture industry, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation.Can Soil Save Us?Making the Case for Cover Crops as Extreme Weather Risk Management details the many benefits of investing in healthy soil as protection from natural disasters.The report is available online. A great resource for cover crop information can be found on the Midwest Cover Crops Council website @

Interested in urban agriculture and community gardens? If so, check out the upcoming 3rd Annual Roots to Rooftop event.School and community gardens, a rooftop garden, and an urban farm will be on display on Sunday, July 19.There will be a bike tour from 10:00 am-12:30 pm and a car tour from 1:00-4:30. For more information, click here.

Growing degree days since April 1:1534 GDD (Average (11 year):1311) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:72.6°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Wettest June on Record for Illinois.Illinois now has its wettest June on record with a statewide average rainfall of 8.91 inches as of June 27.More rain is expected through June 30.
  1. 2015 with 8.91 inches (as of 6/27)
  2. 1902 with 8.27 inches
  3. 2010 with 7.71 inches
  4. 1998 with 7.64 inches
  5. 2000 with 7.34 inches

Statewide records for Illinois go back to 1895. For more information from the State Climatologist Office for Illinois, click here.

All the rains and high humidity are causing nearly all fruit and vegetable crops disease issues. Tomatoes are no exception.Early blight and Septoria leaf spot (see photo) are the two most common fungal diseases.These organisms survive year to year in soil.The best option to provide control is to keep any soil from splashing onto lower leaves.There they produce spores and the next rain splashes them onto the next higher set of leaves, and the disease progresses up the plant.Just as soon as the plants are in the ground- mulch.The problem is that rain can splash these spores into the air, so moving the tomatoes some distance away is very helpful.These diseases can survive in the soil for several years.Chlorothalonil, a general use fungicide, can provide some help with these diseases.For more info, check out the University of Illinois Extension's Common Problems for Vegetable Crops @ information on organic control of Septoria leaf spot of tomatoes, click here and for information on early blight management for organic tomato production, click here.
Agritourism Farmer Training Intensive, August 1-2 at Prairie Fruits Farm &Creamery in Champaign.Agritourism offers farmers the opportunity to bring the public onto their farms and tell the story of their products.At the same time, it can be a powerful, untapped revenue stream, but there are many barriers to success that can be difficult to overcome.The Land Connection will host an intensive workshop on agritourism from August 1 to August 2 at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery in Champaign, Illinois, which was named an Illinois Agriculture Agri-Tourism Leader for 2013.Register online here.

Growing degree days since April 1:1380 GDD (Average (11 year):1136) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:76.2°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Phytophthora and Pythium.Rain 4 times of more each week is getting OLD.Excess moisture adversely affects roots as saturated soils have very little oxygen available.Just planted seeds and seedlings are more susceptible to suffocation and to seedling soil borne diseases that require high amounts of moisture to develop, including Phytophthora and Pythium.Phytophthora can affect plants during the entire year whereas Pythium is a cool and wet soil issue.There are some varieties of plants that have phytophthora resistance or tolerance, but these are usually to specific races of the disease.(Mike Roegge, University of Illinois Extension).Click here for additional information about Phytophthora and here for more information about Pythium.

Good Agricultural Practices - Webinar Series.The webinar is designed to provide information to growers on how to keep produce safe from production to the market.Topics of this webinar will include:What is GAP's;Water quality and testing;Soil management;Record keeping;Traceback, etc.The webinar series will be held Mondays, July 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 6:00 8:00 p.m.Click here for more information and to register.

The Illinois Farmers Market Price Reporting project has started its second year, and a few of the early farmers markets have been reporting for the last two or three weeks.Last year, pricing information was collected from eleven farmers markets across the state, and this year the number of markets participating in the project has increased to sixteen including reports from a produce auction.For this reporting season, we have selected a list of specific crops that are sold in measureable units (pounds, quarts, pints, each, etc.) that are produced from early through late season.Each week when reporters visit their specific market, they look for the designated crops and report the lowest and highest price for each crop on that day.These reports do not post individual farmers prices, simply the price range observed for each crop each week.This is a service that benefits both farmers and farmers markets.Growers can use these price ranges to help with their pricing and marketing strategies throughout the season.Price comparisons can be made between regions of the state as well as between urban and rural markets.Market managers are encouraged to use this information in their marketing efforts as well.

Pricing information is updated weekly and shared via the University of Illinois Extension Small Farms website at as well as the Farmers Market Price Reports page on the Center for Crop Diversification website at There is also a link on the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service website at

This project was started last year in cooperation with the University of Kentucky's Center for Crop Diversification.UK offered guidance in setting up our farmer's market price reporting system, as they have been providing this service to Kentucky growers for a number of years.If you visit their website, you can also see pricing information from KY and TN farmer's markets.For more information contact project co-chairs, Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator, University of Illinois Extension at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-782-4617 or Bronwyn Aly, Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator, University of Illinois Extension at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 618-382-2662.

Growing degree days since April 1:1208 GDD (Average (11 year):967) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:75.7°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Weather Observation Class.Would you like to have a better understanding of the weather?Would you like to be able to do some basic weather prediction?Are you an educator interested in a continuing educational opportunity?University of Illinois Extension is offering a three-hour course on Tuesday, June 23 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.that will cover weather basics, observation, and basic weather prediction.Lessons will include presentations and activities in topics such as what causes our seasons, how wind and air pressure are related, clouds, precipitation, reading a weather map.Click here to register.

Colorado Potato Beetles.At a recent farm visit, I encountered an infestation of Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) and wanted to share some information provided by Dr.Rick Weinzierl, Extension Entomologist, University of Illinois.

Adult Colorado potato beetles overwinter in the soil and become active in May;they move to solanaceous plants and begin to feed and lay eggs.As is often pointed out in winter programs where we talk about pre-season planning, potato beetles are weak fliers, so locating new fields as far as possible from last year's infestations reduces the number that reach a new planting.In addition to crop rotation, growers can use trenching, mulching, and trap crops (such as early plantings of potatoes only around field edges to concentrate egg-laying in one area for spraying).

In most of Illinois, growers have NOT encountered severe problems with insecticide resistance in local populations of
the Colorado potato beetle, but managing insecticide resistance in this insect is a key concern wherever it occurs.For
the most part, individual growers control their own destiny on this issue.Using cultural controls (crop rotation,
trenching, and mulching, and flaming), using insecticides only when populations reach threshold levels, and rotating
among different classes of insecticides are the key steps that can slow the evolution of resistance.

Thresholds for Colorado potato beetle control are:

•Spring adults on young plants:20 to 30 percent defoliation or, more conservatively, 2 adults per plant
•Summer larvae and adults, during bloom:5 to 10 percent defoliation, 5 larvae per plant, or 3 to 5 adults per plant

Insecticides labeled for foliar application to potatoes for Colorado potato beetle control include:

•Pyrethroids:Ambush / Pounce, Asana, Baythroid, Mustang Max, Warrior
•Neonicotinoids:Actara, Admire Pro, Assail
•Dusts and abrasives:Cryolite, Kryocide, Surround (OMRI-approved)
•Botanicals:Pyganic (OMRI-approved)
•Others:Avaunt, Blackhawk, Entrust (OMRI-approved), Radiant, Rimon, SpinTor

See product labels and the 2015 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for rates and restrictions.For resistance
management, follow label directions about not using the same product or products from the same class repeatedly
throughout the season.(And if the label doesn't direct against such an unwise practice, DON'T do it anyway.)

Growing degree days since April 1:993 GDD (Average (11 year):794) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:72.8°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Spotted and striped cucumber beetles are active and feeding on cucurbits in much of the state.These cucumber beetles are vectors of the pathogen that causes bacterial wilt of cucumbers and muskmelons.Spotted cucumber beetles always have 12 distinct spots on the wings.The front, center spots are distinct and do not form a triangle as they do on the bean leaf beetle.Striped cucumber beetles have distinct black stripes along the inner and outer edges of the wings, and the stripes run all the way to the ends of the wings.The underside of the abdomen is black.Both of these insects overwinter as adults and move into fields and gardens in April through May, as soon as temperatures warm up and their food plants become available.They lay eggs at the base of their host plants, and larvae develop below ground, feeding on the roots.One or two summer generations of adults emerge and feed, mate, and lay eggs;adults of the latter of these summer generations overwinter.See the 2015 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide and Monitoring and Decision Making for Cucumber Beetles on Muskmelon for more info on scouting (including the use of yellow sticky traps) and control.

"Making Farm to School a Reality" Workshop.University of Illinois Extension will be presenting at the two workshops (Chicago and Springfield) sponsored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, in partnership with the Illinois Farm to School Network,highlighting successful local farm to school projects, the U.S.Farm to School Act of 2015 and what you can do to support more farm to school efforts throughout Illinois!The Springfield workshop will be held on Wednesday July 1st at 6pm at the Springfield Public Library Carnegie Room North.For more information, contact Wes King at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Growing degree days since April 1:541 GDD (Average (11 year):405) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:58.9°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News.The University of Illinois Extension and the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences publishes an excellent resource for commercial growers of fruit and vegetable crops.Check out the current issue, , May 12, 2015, at Vol.21, No.1. To receive e-mail notification of new postings of this newsletter, contact Rick Weinzierl, 217-333-6651, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gray-mold rot or Botrytis blight.At a field visit yesterday, saw extensive areas of strawberries infested with Gray-mold. Gray mold is one of the most common and serious diseases wherever strawberries are grown.It is caused by the fungus, Botrytis cinerea.Conditions are ideal this year! In wet seasons on unsprayed plants, 80-90% losses of flowers and fruit can occur.The disease thrives during prolonged rainy and cloudy periods just before or during harvest, and on dense, lush, foliar growth.See photo above and click here for more information.

Information from an Ohio State publication states that during wet, cool springs, gray mold will be a major threat to organic strawberry production.In conventional production systems, application of fungicide during bloom generally results in good disease control.Fungicides used in organic systems (sulfur and copper) are not very effective for control of Botrytis.Several biological control products are currently available for Botrytis control;however, their effectiveness under moderate to heavy disease pressure is questionable.Resistance is not available in most varieties;therefore, the use of several cultural practices are the key control methods in organic plantings.

Webinar to Explore Benefits of Diversity in Whole-Farm Revenue Crop Insurance.A free webinar on "The Benefits of Diversity:Another Look at Whole-Farm Revenue Protection in Iowa and Midwest" will be held Thursday, May 21, from 12 to 1 p.m.(CST), offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology.The webinar's focus will be on how WFRP may improve coverage and lower insurance cost for field crop farms that have, or are contemplating, adding greater diversity to their cropping systems or even considering new livestock production.To register for the free NCAT WFRP webinar:

The next Fruit and Vegetable Weekly Crop Update will be on Friday, June 5.

Growing degree days since April 1:280 GDD (Average (11 year):389) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Degree-Day Calculator)

4 inch soil temp:67.7°F (10 am 4-inch soil temperature under bare soil) (From the Illinois State Water Survey Illinois Climate Network)

Online Farmers Market Food Safety Training Offered.Four new online food safety training modules are being offered for farmers market managers and vendors through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.The four modules cover pre-harvest, post-harvest, marketing and best practices at the market, and value-added products.The training is free and a completion certificate is offered.

USDA Announces Plans to Partner with Farmers and Ranchers to Address Climate Change.Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has introduced a comprehensive USDA approach to partnering with agricultural producers to address the threat of climate change.New initiatives will use voluntary, incentive-based conservation, forestry, and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors.These include efforts to promote soil health, nitrogen stewardship, rotational grazing management, and reduced emissions from livestock operations.

Outcome of "Section 610" Review.Today, following a review that included a 60-day public comment period, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published the Notice "Regulatory Flexibility Act:Section 610 Review of National Organic Program (76 FR 10527)." The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires AMS to conduct a periodic review of the organic regulations to determine their impact on small businesses.Based on the review and comments, AMS has determined that the USDA organic regulations are not overly complex and do not significantly overlap or conflict with other regulations.For more information, click here.

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