Grace Ott Hired as Agriculture Educator

Agriculture News

The latest news: 

CCE ENYCHP Berry E-Alert

April 22nd, 2020


Weekly Berry Office Hours held on Thursdays at 12:30pm via Zoom or on your phone. Format will be a short, in-depth presentation about a production issue and then Q&A. Join each week, or view recordings that will be posted.

Thursday, April 23 – Managing Botrytis in June Bearing Strawberries
Click link below to join the Berry Office Hours

Or dial by phone: 1-646-518-9805
Meeting ID: 955 1458 6018
Join by Skype for Business

Don’t hesitate to call or email me if you have questions or comments.

Be Well,
Laura McDermott
Berry "To Do" List:

Heat accumulation has slowed to nearly a standstill up and down the eastern NY region, and many areas have had snow and significant frost events – this weather pattern seems like it will be in place for at least the next week. This might allow for some last minute herbicide applications, but it’s very important to check your crop, in you r area before you apply.

  • Blueberries are slowly moving past tight cluster in the south and late bud swell from the central Albany area north. In those northern plantings there is still a window of opportunity for pruning if plants really need it.
  • I saw what we believe to be phomopsis canker damage in plantings. This damage is tricky to detect and to ID because it looks a LOT like winter injury. If you are seeing newer canes with the growing tip dying out – which causes them to break lateral buds too low, you may have a canker problem. If you cut the cane open you might see the corky brown tissue that can be attributed to Phomopsis damage. Lime sulfur and copper sulfate should be applied before bud swell; Pristine, Quash and other fungicides could be applied safely a bit later but the best control will be earlier.
    Corky brown tissue in branch cortex may be a sign of Phomopsis canker.
  • Check for rodent activity in plantings – burrowing holes, chewing etc. and make a note to place bait stations in planting in early November. Reduce habitat where possible.
  • Make plans to introduce bumble bee hives into the planting if pollination hasn’t been as strong as you would like.
  • Green tip sprays for Mummyberry and Botrytis should be applied soon. Abound and Indar are labeled for both diseases, but there are other choices as well. Again – check the Guidelines or the label.
    • Raspberries are at 1-3” in the south and budbreak from Albany north. So far, no damage has been reported.
    • You can still thin floricane raspberries to the appropriate density – 4-6 canes per square foot of row. Rows should be no wider than 18” preferably 12” wide. Remove small canes (diameter less than a Sharpie) that will not contribute to overall productivity.
    • Later plantings can still spray for Anthracnose, Spur Blight and Cane Blight. Lime sulfur is labeled for all three, but if you don’t like using it there are many other choices.


    • Strawberries have been reported to be in bloom in plantings that have row cover over them. Keep that row cover in place, and maybe use overhead sprinkling to protect blossoms during this cold period ahead. The flowers are the most vulnerable stage to cold damage.
    • High tunnel strawberries should be on the lookout for mites which thrive in hot, dry conditions. The scouting threshold is 1 mite per leaf on at least 15 leaflets out of 60 samples OR 5 mites/leaf. Don’t let mites get ahead of you. Many different pesticides including JMS Stylet Oil which is organic and Agri-Mek, Kanemite and Acramite. Mites are also present in field strawberries although they probably aren’t too active yet, given the cold – early season scouting would be prudent.


    • Just starting to push – in southern areas they will set flower quite early.
    • Powdery mildew sprays (many organic options including oil, Kailgreen, sulfur and Actinovate, but also Rally, Cabrio and Rampart) should begin now if this has been a problem in the past.

      April 16th, 2020 

      Dear Eastern NY Berry Growers,

      COVID-19 information: I’ll try and post info that I think has the most importance to you as berry growers. I will likely miss things, but will do my best. Here is a link for Guidance for Executive Order 202.16: created for employers to address and answer questions you or your employees may have regarding “face coverings”.
      Cornell and NYS experts are hard at work on recommendations for pick-your-own operations in light of COVID-19. Stay tuned – we will post more information when it’s available.

      Don’t hesitate to call or email me if you have questions or comments.

      Be Well,
      Laura McDermott

      Berry "To Do" List:
      All berries can be pruned if the buds have yet to open. Early season herbicides can be applied if you know your soil temps are still cool enough to prevent crop damage, and if crop is not actively growing. Last week I made reference to the use of Chateau in strawberries. This material should not be applied if strawberries are actively growing – which is likely the case for all but the most northern plantings. Additionally, the Prowl H2O label for blueberries expired in 2019, so that material is no longer legal to spray on blueberries. The problem was plant damage due to the spray.
      Rabbit and vole damage abound. Space around planting including hedge rows, should be kept as trimmed as possible to prevent hiding places for critters.
      Blueberries: Blueberry buds are swelling in all areas with bud break and even slight green tip showing in the lower Hudson Valley. The cool weather this past week has slowed overall progress. Pruning still possible where bud break hasn’t yet occurred.

        Spray for mummyberry disease –Mummyberries look like tiny black pumpkins. They can be on the ground or still hanging on the plant. If you saw mummyberry last year, you can control by raking off and/or removing the ground cover – including the sod. Then re-mulch over the top. This works better than any fungicide spray. Manure or urea sprays on the mummies will also help. There are a number of sprays including lime-sulfur, Serenade, Double Nickel and Indar. Join me on Thursday, April 16th for “office hours” starting at 12:30 PM, there will be a short (10 min) presentation, this week on MUMMYBERRY disease, then time for Q&A. Join by clicking this link :, or you can call 1-646-518-9805, meeting ID: 103 904 012Look for scale insects. Dormant oil will help control them as will Brigade, Triple Crown or Esteem when used as crawlers appear in early spring.
        Scale on blueberry shoots.Apply sulfur if soil pH is higher than 5.2200#/A is the maintenance rate that should be applied 1-2 times annually to prevent soil pH from creeping up. Remember that the target pH is 4.5.Review past years foliar nutrient recommendations and make sure your fertility plan is in line. If you have never done foliar sampling, add a reminder to your phone that this should be done in early August. Strawberries:
          Remove straw from June bearing strawberries NOW!! The longer the plant is covered in straw – and thus kept away from light – the less carbohydrates the crown has available to support flower and berry production. If you were able to remove straw earlier – then cover with two rows of heavy row cover – the plant could get light but still be kept warm during this protracted spring. Studies have shown that delaying the removal of winter straw mulch results in a yield decrease of as much as 27% mostly in terms of total berry numbers, not individual berry size. The decrease in loss caused by delay of straw mulch removal can be as much as the loss caused by winter injury if you had never mulched them at all. Work done by Marvin Pritts (Pritts, M. P., K. A. Worden and M. Eames-Sheavly. 1988. Rowcover material and time of application and removal affect ripening and yield of strawberry. Jour. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 114:531-536) indicated that the best results were from treatments where the straw mulch was applied later in the winter (Dec. to February!) and then removed at the earliest possible time – in the case of this study at the end of February. This consistently yielded best winter survival and best overall productivity likely because it allowed plants to get access to light early.Keep eye out for overwintering pests – like cyclamen mite. Cyclamen mites are difficult to detect and manage, but cause leaves to be stunted and malformed as they emerge from the crown. Removing obviously infested plants.
          Plan for frost protection inspect irrigation equipment and row cover. Make sure you have some type of adequate temperature detection system at the field level.Plan to get the most from of your pest management According to Dr. Annemiek Schilder formerly of Michigan State University, the pH of the spray solution, has a huge impact on efficacy of material. While most fungicides are stable over a range of pH values, some fungicides (e.g., Captan, Dithane, Rovral) can degrade under alkaline conditions. For example, the half-life of Captan is 32 hours at pH 5, eight hours at pH 7, and 10 minutes at pH 8. The pH can be adjusted with an acidifying or buffering agent. Avoid letting the spray sit overnight in the spray tank. Fungicides should, whenever possible, be mixed and sprayed as soon after mixing as possible.

        Brambles: Floricane raspberries breaking bud in the lower Hudson Valley. Primocane raspberries have been slow to emerge – but some of these plantings are starting to stir now and canes in lower Hudson Valley are several inches tall.

          Complete the necessary Pruning: After you finish blueberry pruning you can begin with brambles. Remember to keep cane density at no more than 4 canes per square foot. There may be some winter injury so look for that and prune it out. Look for disease or insect issues as you prune.

        Ribes - Prune bushes before budbreak – gooseberries and currants do well if 4-5 year old wood is removed. Canes should be removed from the crown. Inspect for pest issues while pruning.

        Honeyberries/hascaps – these plants are in the honeysuckle family. They are very winter hardy, but bloom very early and are thus prone to frost damage.

        April 9th, 2020

        Allium Grower Alert*Spring Flight of Allium Leafminer Detected in Hudson Valley*

        On Wednesday, April 8, Allium Leafminer ( ALM) activity was detected in a large planting of garlic growing in Ulster County. Based on the very low level of activity detected
        (one plant out of fifty) in this planting, we believe that this is the very beginning of the flight that will intensify over the next 3-4 weeks. If you plan on managing ALM in your allium crop using floating row cover or insect netting, now is the time to get it on the crop. If you are transplanting alliums over the next 4-5 weeks, you will want to cover right after you finish planting. It doesn’t take ALM long to find a host crop. Exclusion will not work if infested alliums, including wild onion grass, grew in the same plot the previous season. Check alliums for oviposition marks before covering.

        Based on our observations and reports from growers, it appears that some allium species are more susceptible to damage from ALM over the 6-8 week spring flight. Most susceptible are scallions, and chives, particularly because of the mining and cosmetic damage to tops. Damage in transplanted onions and garlic is less common, but pupae and larvae can be found in the bulb area at harvest.

        Research we’ve conducted over the past two seasons has shown that planting alliums on metalized reflective plastic mulch consistently reduced ALM damage between 22% to 36% compared to alliums planted on either black or white plastic. Combining the use of metalized reflective plastic mulch with two carefully timed applications of Entrust mixed with M-Pede, either 2 and 4 weeks or 3 and 4 weeks after the beginning of the adult ALM flight, can be an effective strategy for managing ALM for organic growers. Adding the adjuvant Nu-Film P to Entrust significantly DECREASED the efficacy of the insecticide at managing ALM when compared to combining M-Pede with Entrust.

        Several conventional insecticides already labeled for use on bulb crops in New York are effective at reducing damage from ALM, including Exirel (cyantraniliprole, IRAC Group 28, 2(ee) label required and available on the at 13.5 fl oz/acre, Radiant (spinetoram, IRAC Group 5) at 8 fl oz/acre, and Warrior II with Zeon Technology(lambda-Cyhalothrin, IRAC Group 3A) at 1.6 floz/acre.

        Scout the crop and look for the distinctive ovipostion marks before you set out to spray. ALM pressure will vary from farm to farm and within the Eastern New York Region. Low levels of ALM may not warrant a spray based on the crop you are growing. Keep in mind that there are seasonal limits on applications of certain pesticides so you want to use these judiciously.

        Look for more information on ALM in our upcoming Veg Newsletter coming out next week. Meanwhile, If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Teresa Rusinek at 845 389-3562 or Ethan Grundberg at 617 455-1893.


        March 26th, 2020

        Grace Ott Hired as CCE Clinton's Agriculture Educator


        Grace Ott has been hired as the new Agriculture Educator for the Cooperative Extension of Clinton County and started on March 9th. Grace grew up in Virginia raising and showing beef and dairy cattle and market hogs. She attended Virginia Tech for her Bachelor's degrees, where she double majored in animal and poultry sciences and dairy science and was a member of several difference agricultural organizations. After graduation, she moved to NC State to pursue a Master's degree in animal science with a focus in beef cattle production. Her master's research was evaluating the short- and long-term effects of using different weaning strategies in beef calves, which she has presented to various scientific and producer audiences. Grace is excited to be in here in Clinton County to work with local producers and help them to achieve their goals.

        Grace can be reached by email: 

        February 13, 2020

        Dear Small Fruit Grower:

        Although progress has been made in the past 8 years in the ability to manage spotted wing drosophila (SWD), this pest remains a serious economic problem for small fruit growers in NY and around the country. The Cornell University berry research team needs your input as they apply for a large, multistate grant from the USDA.

        The funds sought would help support research and extension efforts to develop and implement more sustainable management practices. Specifically, the grant would 1) help increase adoption of management practices already tested, including the use of economic models to improve decision making, and 2) evaluate alternative management approaches for SWD, including the release of parasitoids from SWD’s native lands and manipulation of SWD behavior using attractants and repellents.

        The NY effort is led by Dr. Miguel Gomez, agricultural economist, and Dr. Greg Loeb, small fruit entomologist, both at Cornell, working closely with CCE and NYS Berry Growers Association and several collaborating NY berry growers.

        They need your help in demonstrating to USDA that SWD remains a serious problem. Please take a few minutes to fill out this brief online survey on how SWD is affecting your business. Survey results from around the country will be compiled and included with the grant proposal. It should not take more than a few minutes of your time. Thank you very much.

        To reach the survey, click on the following link:


        Two Funding Programs Totaling $1.3 Million will Support Protection of New York’s Natural Resources and Help Farmers Maintain Standards for the NYS Grown & Certified Program

        The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced the availability of $1.3 million for two programs to assist New York farmers increase environmental protections on farms across the State. Funds will support the conservation of water resources, improvements to nutrient management strategies, and help New York farmers in producing agricultural products at high environmental standards under the New York State Grown & Certified program.

        Commissioner Ball said, “New York State continues to be a leader in environmental protections, including on its farms. I am proud of the support we have been able to provide to our Soil and Water Conservation Districts and to our farmers, which enables them to implement projects that prioritize our natural resources and ensure great care is taken for the land and waterways.”

        High-Efficiency Agricultural Irrigation Water Management Systems

        The Department is currently accepting applications for the $700,000 Irrigation Water Management Systems program. The program was created to help farmers make important improvements to their irrigation systems and improve water conservation, nutrient management strategies, and crop production yields.

        High-efficiency systems, such as micro-irrigation systems (e.g . trickle, drip, and low-flow emitters) target water within the root zone of the crop. These systems preserve water resources and can be used to transport nutrients reducing the potential of runoff and groundwater contamination. Proper irrigation also enhances the quantity and quality of most crops.

        Implementation of Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Plans on NYS Grown & Certified Farms

        The Department is also making available $600,000 to support the implementation of Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) plans, which is a cornerstone for participation in the New York State Grown & Certified program. By participating in the NYS Grown & Certified program, farmers are certified as enrolled in AEM and committed to producing products using the highest environmental standards in order to protect and improve New York’s natural resources, including the water quality.

        Specifically, funding provided to on-farm projects under this program will help farmers

        implement Conservation Practice Systems, which will improve soil health and manage nutrients and other agricultural inputs for greater crop availability. Although these Conservation Practice Systems have upfront costs, by implementing them, the farm will not only conserve natural resources but also improve efficiency and their economic bottom line.

        The maximum award amount is $50,000 per farm. Districts are not limited to the number of applications that may be submitted, however, only one application per farm is permitted.

        New York State Grown & Certified promotes New York's agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards. More than 3,000 farms are participating in the Grown & Certified program, representing over 750,000 acres of farmland.

        The Irrigation Water Management System and AEM Plans on NYS Grown & Certified Farms programs are funded through the Oceans and Great Lakes Initiative, as part of the Environmental Protection Fund. New York State County Soil and Water Conservation Districts are eligible to apply for funding. Proposals must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 4:30 p.m. on April 6, 2020.

        New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein said , “These two distinct funding opportunities share the same goal in helping our farmers continue to implement innovative best management practices that protect the State’s natural resources while improving their competitiveness and profitability. These grants allow our farmers greater opportunity to conserve water, use smart nutrient management strategies and care for the soil.”

        June 2019 

        NYS Ag and Markets emergency management has provided a rainfall prediction map  from the National Weather Service. Please find below as well as a link to NY EDEN's flood disaster website. 

        January 2019

        Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Regional Dairy Specialists, Betsy Hicks and Lindsay Ferlito, are working together on a research project, studying cow comfort in tie stall facilities. The project is funded through NY Farm Viability Institute and focuses on working with a group of farms who want to understand ways to optimize cow comfort at their farms. This video highlights two of these dairies and their experiences with the project.


        Precision Nutrition Approach Can Lower Feed Costs and Make Dairy Farming More Sustainable

Last updated November 13, 2020