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Tree Fruit News: 9-29-20

Tree Fruit E-Alert ~ September 29, 2020

In this E-Alert

Help us fund research to reduce herbicide damage – please fill out this 5-minute online survey!

Safe Harvest COVID Office Hours, Tue Sep 29 12:30PM ***Today***

2020 New York State Labor Law Updates

CFAP 2 is Different from CFAP 1 – Most Fruit and Vegetable Crops are Eligible; USDA Recorded Webinar Now Online

Champlain Valley Harvest Maturity Program Report: Week 6

COVID-19 Links from the Cornell College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Help Us Fund Research to Reduce Herbicide Damage – Please Fill Out This 5-Minute Online Survey!

Please fill out this short, 5-question, online survey, regarding your experiences with herbicide drift and damage to trees.


Dr. Lynn Sosnoskie, specialty crop weed scientist at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, is working to find funding in support of research into precision sprayer technology. The goal is to reduce herbicide drift / contact with fruit trees and grape vines, and therefore tree injury. However, first we need to know whether this is an important topic to address in this area, and to quantify the impact of the potential research. It would be very helpful to us if you could take a few minutes sometime in the next few days to fill out this survey and let us know if you’ve experienced herbicide damage to your trees, and if you would be interested in implementing novel weed management approaches to reduce drift and injury.

In addition, if you would have interest in serving on the advisory committee for the project, please contact Mike Basedow at mrb254@cornell.edu.

Safe Harvest COVID Office Hours, Tue Sep 29 12:30PM

Mark Wiltberger, CCE – Lake Ontario Fruit Program

Cornell CALS and Cornell Cooperative Extension are hosting office hours for farmers and packers to answer any questions they might have about managing and responding to protect the farm workforce during COVID-19. Office hours will be held each Tuesday through September. Registration is FREE but REQUIRED.

REGISTER for COVID-19 office hours at 12:30 PM EDT, September 29

**** Focused on WNY this week but open to all ****

Tuesday’s office hours will be held at 12:30 PM EDT and are open to all types of farmers. It will feature western New York with brief reports from:

Mark Wiltberger, Business Management Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Lake Ontario Fruit Program

A health department official from western New York

Other experts from Cornell Institute for Food Safety and New York Departments of Health and Agriculture & Markets will also be available to answer questions.

Participants can log in from a computer or call in from a phone to ask questions or just to listen. A panel of experts will field questions. Questions that experts cannot immediately answer will be recorded, reviewed and answered later. The upcoming weeks are critical as seasonal harvest and the workforce ramps up.

If you would like to submit a question in advance, complete the “Questions & Comments” box when you register or ask it live during office hours.

The above post is reprinted from: https://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/2020/09/25/ny-labor-law-updates-safe-harvest-covid-office-hours/

2020 New York State Labor Law Updates

Mark Wiltberger, CCE – Lake Ontario Fruit Program

2020 brought additional changes to the NY farm labor laws. Overtime and day-of-rest rules apply to most farm employees but some family members and certain managers may be exempt from these provisions. Review a video overview of the new rules and check out a more in-depth webinar and presentation on the Cornell Ag Workforce website. CFAP 2 is Different from CFAP 1 – Most Fruit and Vegetable Crops are Eligible; USDA Recorded Webinar Now Online

Mark Wiltberger, CCE – Lake Ontario Fruit Program

I attended the CFAP 2 Webinar by USDA last week. This webinar was recorded and is available here: https://globalmeetwebinar.webcasts.com/viewer/event.jsp?ei=1372084

Information about the program is available at: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap

Some key takeaways from the webinar:

Almost every specialty crop is eligible. As a presenter put it: “If you can grow it, it’s probably eligible.” After a spot check of the list of eligible commodities, it looks like this would cover most any specialty crop grown in the Lake Ontario region.

The calculation of payment is completely different from CFAP 1. It is not based on a loss of sales between Jan 15 – Apr 15 2020. It is based on all sales revenue during the calendar year 2019 for crops grown by the farmer.

As with CFAP 1, the program is a payment, not a loan.

Growers can apply for CFAP 2 even if they applied for and received CFAP 1. They are independent programs.

There is an alternative means of calculation for new farms that began operations in 2020.

The payment is for “income received for sales in the 2019 calendar year”. The crop year is immaterial. For example, income received for 2018 apple crop in storage sold in 2019 would count. 2019 apple crop in storage sold in 2020 would not count.

For value-added products, sales are based on the portion of the sales revenue from the value of the raw commodity. For example, for wine, payment would be based on the value of the grapes that went into the wine. The value of the grapes would be given a reasonable market value, even if the grapes were transferred to the same business for winemaking. A similar method should apply to other value-added products such as cider. The important factor is that the business grew that crop and they are being compensated for the value of a percentage of the crop, but not for the additional value in the sale of the value-added product.

The presenters assured that they are confident this program will not run out of funding. Growers will receive 100% payment upfront. There is not the urgency that CFAP 1 had for applying and an initial 80% payment. The deadline is December 11.

If you applied for CFAP 1, much of your documentation for eligibility will already be in place for CFAP 2 application, which should make the process easier and faster.

Many questions are answered on the USDA FAQ page, https://www.farmers.gov/cfap/faq

As with CFAP 1, the local USDA FSA office receives applications and can also facilitate the process by answering questions about how to apply.

With the program effectively paying roughly 10% of 2019 crop revenue (within upper limits and eligibility requirements), growers should take the time to look at applying for this program. The deadline for applications is December 11, 2020.

Champlain Valley Harvest Maturity Program Report: Week 6

Mike Basedow and Andy Galimberti, CCE-ENYCHP

This week we are reporting on Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, and NY-1.

This week's samples were collected Monday, September 28th and were processed the same day. Fruit were picked from orchards in Peru.

Sample size is 10 fruits picked for average maturity, from multiple trees, on both sides of the row. Honeycrisp were “spot-picked” for the most red fruit.

As blocks receive harvest PGR’s, we will update their treatment in the final data column so you can better compare against your own blocks.

We are also presenting data from previous seasons for blocks where we have them.

Due to the large amount of variability associated with strains, root stock selections, planting systems, the widespread use of ReTain, Harvista, ethephon, and local orchard microclimates, it is impossible to sample and process enough locations to make specific harvest recommendations. ENYCHP HMP data is meant to be used as a general indicator of apple harvest maturity, and nothing more

Weekly Summary of Fruit Maturity Progress

Honeycrisp for 9/28/2020

Comments: We spot picked the 10 most red fruit from the Honeycrisp blocks we are monitoring. These blocks have both been picked through at least once at this point. Remaining fruit are firmer than those picked last week, and have similar brix and SPI values as last week.

For Honeycrisp, do not pick fruit that has not developed acceptable varietal flavor and at least minimal color. Ideal fruit have a ground color changing from green to cream, with 80% bright red blush. Firmness greater than 14 pounds, and brix above 13%, are preferable. SPI is generally above 7 on mature fruit, but the starch pattern is not always reliable. This is a multi-pick variety, and these later picks will not store as well. Fruit from young blocks also do not tend to store well. Testing finished here.

Gala for 9/28/2020

Comments: Gala have been harvested in the two blocks we have been testing.

For Gala firmness is not a major issue, and the starch pattern is an unreliable indicator of maturity. Target a brix above 12% and varietal flavor development. For long term CA stored fruit, you do not need to wait for background color change from light green to cream. Fruit that are waxy, with a bright yellow background are over-mature and should not be stored long-term, instead market these fruit immediately. Check blocks regularly for color and flavor change, as this can happen quickly. Testing finished here.

Cortland for 9/28/2020

Comments: Firmness is similar to fruit we sampled last week. Brix is improving, and SPI is progressing. SPI is further advanced this year than in the previous two. We had 4 apples in our 10 apple sample that were at an SPI of 4 and above.

The long-term CA storage guidelines for Cortland are an SPI range of 2.5-3.5 and firmness above 15 pounds. We will continue testing this block next week.

NY-1 for 9/28/2020

Comments: Relative to the previous two seasons in the lightly cropped block, fruit size is down, fruit are very firm, and brix is up. Color is very good, and SPI is less advanced. In the heavier cropped block, firmness is average to the previous two years, brix is lower, SPI is further advanced, and size is average to slightly larger.

For NY-1, look for a minimum of 2/3 red color. While the target color is a dark red for fall marketed fruit, this color development may not be reached in fruit intended for CA storage. Do not wait for full varietal flavor development if you intend to store fruit in CA long term. Target firmness is between 15-18 pounds, target brix is 13-15%, and the target SPI is usually between 3-5, but SPI may not be a reliable indicator. However, if you have a lot of fruit with SPI’s with 5 and above in your blocks, they may be overripe for long term storage. Stay in close contact with your individual marketer/packer for harvest timing and marketing plans for your NY-1 blocks. We will continue testing these blocks next week.

Next week we will continue testing Cortland and NY-1, and will begin testing NY-2. The next sampling date is Monday, October 5th. Contact me if you’re concerned about a particular block and would like me to take a closer look.

COVID-19 Links from the Cornell College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Julie Suarez, Associate Dean for Government and Community Relations, CALS

Need COVID-19 information? View the following Cornell CALS and CCE Resource Pages Updated Regularly

General Questions & Links:


Food Production, Processing & Safety Questions:


Employment & Agricultural Workforce Questions:


Cornell Small Farms Resiliency Resources:


Financial & Mental Health Resources for Farmers:


2 Minute Spanish Language Educational Video on COVID-19:


Quick Links to Tree Fruit Resources on the Web: ENYCHP - Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program

Cornell NEWA Website for Weather Info, Computer Models, Pest Management

Scaffolds Fruit Journal, edited by Dr. Art Agnello, Posted Weekly around 3:00pm Mondays

Dana Acimovic’s Blog on Hudson Valley Laboratory Horticultural Research

Peter Jentsch’s Blog on Eastern New York Entomological Challenges

Dr. Srdan Acimovic’s Blog on Eastern New York Pathological Challenges

PERC Training Resources Pesticide Education Resources Collaborative, WPS Training resources

NYSPAD Portal, DEC website with up-to-date information on pesticide materials (replaced PIMS)

Cornell Crop and Pest Management Guidelines

Cornell Fruit Resources Website

Dan Donahue

CCE Extension Associate-Tree Fruit Specialist

ENY Commercial Horticulture Program

3357 RT 9W

Highland, New York

Office: (845) 691-7117

Cell: (518) 322-7812

Email: djd13@cornell.edu

Mike Basedow

CCE Extension Associate-Tree Fruit Specialist

ENY Commercial Horticulture Program

Plattsburgh, New York

Cell: (518) 410-6823

Fax: (518) 561-0183

Email: mrb254@cornell.edu