Hops Yards After Harvest

The hops growing season is consumed with tactical activities like bine training, scouting for pests, maintaining plant health, harvesting cones, and sales. However, managing your hop yard is far from complete once the last cones are separated from the bines. Strategic actions to take now address: after harvest sanitation, soil fertility, drip irrigation, taking a weed inventory, and getting a Pesticide Applicator License.

Sanitation to Reduce Future Pests and Diseases

Hops: Remove diseased leaves and debris at the end of the season.

Hops: Remove diseased leaves and debris at the end of the season.

Postharvest sanitation of the hop yard is your first line of defense against future disease and insect problems.

Leftover refuse from harvest and uncut bines should be removed after the first hard freeze as they harbor fungal spores or live insects. Waiting until after the first hard freeze reduces levels of pests on the debris and reduces spreading problems to unaffected areas.

Collected plant debris with pest infestations can be burned by obtaining an Open Burning Permit from the NJDEP Forest Fire Service. Permit fees are $10 for a 30-day period and need to be signed by your Agricultural Agent certifying the reason for burning is due to disease infection. Forms are available from your agricultural extension office. [Read more…]

Where Have All the Farmers Gone?

The 2012 Census of Agriculture reported the existence of 9,071 farms in the Garden State. Since the previous 2007 Census had reported 10,327 farms, some in the ag community were quick to express concern over what the decline in NJ farm numbers meant, if anything.

Farmer-SHitchner-2006However, in thinking about farm numbers and the farm economy, accepting the 2007 USDA Census data at face value might be a mistake.

 
In 2007, USDA policy leadership and Congressional policy advocates wanted to portray the USA as a nation with rising numbers of small farms, urban and urban fringe farms, and farms operated by non-traditional operators. The Farm Bill policy campaign was called, “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” and its laudable goal was to connect people with local nutritious food and farmers who raise it. In an ever-consolidating, large-farm global marketplace, officials wanted to elevate economically viable local food system career opportunities and community development for young people. What better method than by manipulating Census reporting to reveal a rising number of small farm opportunities?
[Read more…]